Axcient, which specializes in data backup and business continuity solutions for MSPs, saw its recurring revenues grow about 800 percent in December 2010 vs. 2009, according to CEO Justin Moore (pictured). So where is Axcient heading next with its managed services partner base? Here are a few perspectives.

Although the online backup, cloud backup and data protection markets are quite crowded, Moore claims only a few data protection companies serving MSPs actually innovate. He notes that a lot of backup companies license technology from OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) or third-party software companies. In contrast, Moore says, Axcient's technology is home-grown, developed by the Axcient team and deployed on Axcient's own back-end infrastructure to achieve SAS 70 Type II compliance. "To control the partner experience we need to control the back-end," notes Moore.

To further improve that partner experience it sounds like Axcient is preparing a partner portal of sorts. (Stay tuned for more details.)

Axcient's SaaS model also involves a local storage appliance that MSPs deploy at the end-customer site. The entire service leverages a flat monthly fee that scales up to 20 terabytes. Longer term, it sounds like Axcient is working on a model that may not require the on-premise customer device.

No doubt, Axcient is in growth mode. The company has about 40 employees and expects to end 2011 at roughly 60 or so employees, Moore estimates. Also, the top priority for 2011 is revenue growth -- with Moore predicting 300 to 500 percent growth this year vs. 2010. Of course it's important to keep those target growth figures in perspective: Axcient is privately held so MSPmentor doesn't know the company's actual top-line revenue figures nor do we know the company's net quarterly income. As a relatively new company -- Axcient's first products went into beta around 2009 -- the fast growth rates could involve a relatively small starting revenue base.

Still, 300 to 500 percent growth for 2011 is nothing to sneeze at. And it sounds like some of the growth will come from international markets late this year or perhaps 2012, as Axcient apparently prepares to push into Europe.

Of course, Axcient faces more than a dozen entrenched and emerging rivals. Competition in the online backup market is extremely fierce. I suspect we'll see a shakeout in late 2011 or sometime in 2012, as MSPs standardize on fewer, more well-defined solutions. Moore agrees that a shakeout is coming, but he says Axcient will remain in growth mode because the company does its own R&D and remains focused on delivering a great end-user and partner experience.

We'll be watching to see if Moore is right.

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