Privately held startups worth over $1 billion, are disrupting several industries in the last few years. ConnectWise, currently worth about $1.2 billion, is paving the way and making a solid example of how to do it well – but they did not get there overnight.
With an arsenal of bold minds and a dynamic CEO, ConnectWise built itself from three Cs: culture, community, and customer obsession. Launched 36 years ago, the privately-held company has had its fair share of naysayers – people who deemed the company a fluke. Today, its employees hold 16% of the company’s shares, and the firm has no debt whatsoever. In addition, ConnectWise also posted $206 million in billings last year, an impressive 96% increase compared to its status in 2014. Just what catapulted this company’s success?
More Than Just “Luck”
ConnectWise’s co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Arnie Bellini recently told the company’s story and how its success was a combination of several factors – not just “luck” as what some people would believe.
During the Synapse Innovation Summit held recently in Tampa, Florida, Bellini showed how his brainchild, a business management software firm, is a fine example of success. It took them years to get there, but everything was worth the effort. After several months of testing, the company finally launched their new software that features a combination of cloud monitoring, management, and business solutions, in one neat package called ConnectWise Unite.
Stemming from the roots formed by ConnectWise CloudConsole, Unite is essentially the “new and improved” expanded version that big names like Cisco and Amazon Web Services (AWS) initially tested. Unite is now used by Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Office 365, and several other vendors. Their system allows companies to streamline their platforms and operate 24/7, as well as integrate teams and processes, and even develop best practices. Overall, ConnectWise Unite allows its users to achieve the best profitability – something every company strives for.
Secrets to Billion Dollar Status – The Three C’s
Just exactly what makes a company catapult itself into a billion-dollar business? ConnectWise’s story, in the grand scheme of things, is not overly unique – other startups have found themselves in similar positive situations as well. For example, Uber reached unicorn status in just six years, while Facebook was valued at $100 billion in under a decade’s time. That’s relatively quicker than what ConnectWise went through in over three decades, but there’s a reason they stayed moderately successful for so long before booming into a valuation of over a billion dollars.
Bellini sat down with Bold Business, and discussed how the company’s focus on corporate culture, customer obsession, and an ever-growing global community all contributed to their unicorn success. In addition to his profound experience with ConnectWise, Bellini has both a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of South Florida, so he clearly knows what he’s talking about.
“Culture is like the life force of a company,” the ConnectWise CEO explained to Bold. “When your people, your colleagues actually – not with words, but with action – invoke culture, believe culture, breathe culture, you have no problem keeping the greatest people. You have no problem attracting the greatest talent,” he added.
With some of the best and boldest minds from TechData, the largest company in Florida, helping steer the wheel for ConnectWise, the company has gone from helping only a handful of people to contributing to the success of some of the biggest names in technology all over the world today. They now have a whopping 20,000 customers all over the globe, and they have already built offices in the United Kingdom and Australia.
Community is Key
One of the key points to their success is believing in the people and what they can do for the company. “We do have the best solution and the best platform, but we do more than that,” Bellini spoke of their company’s system behind the scenes. “We really work to create community amongst all of our customers.”
As previously mentioned, ConnectWise and its products let its users become profitable in the best possible way. On top of the software solutions they offer, ConnectWise holds a yearly conference called IT Nation, both locally in Florida, as well as in the UK. This conference allows as many as 4,000 professionals get to connect with each other and share best practices, growth hacks, and business building tips.
“The value that we create by bringing them together and creating a community of customers is as great as our software itself,” affirmed Bellini. “They learn from each other, and we learn from them. It becomes this amazing, virtuous cycle.”
When asked about ConnectWise’s success, Bellini has a humble reply, not really calling themselves “successful” per se. Despite all they’ve achieved all these years, he says the company hasn’t “even begun to go to the heights that we can,” he told Bold.
Bellini and ConnectWise’s approach is truly inspiring, continuing to thrive while creating a community both within and outside of their company.