Axcient, which promotes hybrid cloud storage services to SMB channel partners, has raised another $15.5 million to accelerate its business growth and channel partner efforts. Axcient has now raised $33.5 million to date. Axcient CEO Justin Moore (pictured) shared some more insights with me over email today.

Let's start with the basics: Axcient has avoided the temptation to hype its hybrid cloud capabilities. Instead, the company positions itself as a data backup, business continuity and disaster recovery specialist in the SMB market. But here's the twist: Axcient leverages channel partners -- MSPs and VARs -- to reach those SMB customers.

Taking Aim at Symantec

One prime target: Channel partners that are looking for alternatives to Symantec Backup Exec and tape/NAS (network attached storage) combos. Axcient claims that by the end of 2011 the company will manage 2 billion customer files, and more than 100,000 customer laptops and servers.

Axcient claims its 2011 recurring revenues will grow roughly 400 percent compared to 2010, though I don't have a feel for actual dollar figures nor do I know if/when Axcient will achieve positive cash flow.

Regardless, venture capitalists are opening their wallets. Axcient's Series C investors include Scale Venture Partners, Allegis Capital, Peninsula Ventures and Thomvest Ventures. Keep an eye on Scale Ventures Managing Director Rory O'Driscoll; he apparently has had a hand in Box.net's growth, and joins the Axcient board.

Channel Partner Initiatives

So where do channel partners fit into the conversation? Axcient is marching toward 1,000 channel partners in North America. Moore says a European push is coming in 2012.

"While the majority [of our partners] are MSPs, we're starting to see VAR adoption accelerate dramatically," said Moore. "We expect our partner base to continue growing at 25 percent+ per quarter. Our partners are now generating millions [of dollars] in high-margin recurring revenue."

One key proof point: In Axcient's current quarter the company added almost as many new customers as it did in all of 2010, Moore asserted.

Moore concedes that the backup market is crowded, but he claims Axcient has a secret sauce. He claims Axcient is built from the ground-up for MSPs, VARs and SMBs. There's no software to install, and the solution is managed via a single web interface. "We provide full backup, business continuity, archiving and disaster recovery for physical and virtual environments and it can all be setup in 5 minutes," Moore claimed.

Axcient's business model involves no upfront costs, no software to purchase, no hardware to purchase, no leases -- "nothing," said Moore. "It's a simple, predictable monthly fee for our platform that enables SMBs to pay as they grow."

In many ways, Axcient does indeed sound unique. Still, a growing number of cloud software companies claim to offer their own home-grown BDR (backup and disaster recovery) solutions that have zero up-front requirements for channel partners. We'll be watching to see how the market evolves -- or shakes out.