Comet Backup Case Study
A scaling company from Christchurch is disrupting the global backup market with a deep focus on understanding customers’ needs.
We’ve all become familiar with the idea of the “pivot”, but Comet Backup is more of an evolutionary story, says GM Josh Flores.
It all started in the early 2000s when they were providing a data backup and recovery service, working directly with companies who wanted to protect and secure their data. To help the team with reporting and insights across disconnected systems an internal portal was developed.
Fast forward through one successful company exit and the development of another and we jump to 2016 when Comet Backup was born, driven by customer demand and tailored to a market segment the team knew well.
“Because we already understood the backup market so well – we’d been working in it for over a decade – and had really friendly relationships with our customers, we were able to test things in the market before launch, get good honest feedback and real insight into where we ought to focus.”
Comet Backup is one of the fastest growing backup companies in the world and the only one based in the Southern Hemisphere. It supports clients in over 100 countries and 10 languages, ranging from one-person IT support to multi-national organisations. As with many NZ tech companies, they are relatively unknown at home, with most of their clients based in the IT service industry across the US and Europe.
Disrupting the Industry
Right from the start they wanted to do things differently; this customer-orientated, relationship-driven approach has allowed Comet to disrupt a broadly undifferentiated, transactional market.
Comet Backup’s service is sold to IT intermediaries and service providers to on-sell to their clients. Unlike most players in the market, it’s non-branded ‘white-label’ which means customers can rebrand and package it as their own offering.
Hop on their website and you see their pricing is transparent and simple to understand; sign up is also ‘frictionless’ for new customers, with no need to negotiate with sales reps.
From the outset, technical decisions were focused on making their platform fast, efficient and secure, for example, using a ‘chunking’ algorithm means customers’ data is backed up quickly, with no need for full data re-uploading on an ongoing basis, unlike others in the market.
They don’t describe it as ‘disruption’ – rather it is all about being focused on doing right by their clients.
Josh thinks the danger for established players in the market is that they have become complacent and focus more on building their own brand than understanding how they can help their clients.
“Everything we do is focused on what helps our clients – we are very relationship-driven and this is quite different from the traditional US-transactional approach.
We work as partners with our customers and their success is a benefit to us too.
This is the first business I’ve worked for where people send us Christmas presents! They obviously enjoy and value working with us and I’m proud of the team for this.”
The last year has seen significant growth. Comet is looking ahead to entering new markets and is scaling their team to support this. They are open to external investment to help accelerate growth, but it is not a priority at this stage. Josh feels they are entering the most exciting time as an organisation as they begin this new growth phase.
Christchurch is Home
As with many Christchurch tech companies, the company is based here because the founder is from Christchurch.
Comet’s team members come from all over the world, including China, India, the US and Australia, as well as other parts of NZ. Finding the right people is key – Comet hires for culture and attitude above specific tech skills.
Josh says the team love Christchurch – easy access to the mountains and beach, and the lively energy of a resilient city making it an exciting time to be here.
To find out more listen in to the EPIC Podcast interview with Josh...