How/why did you decide to co-found Aria?
My partner and I have deep roots in the early days of cloud computing. In the late 90’s, we worked at LaserLink, which offered branded dial-up Internet access for companies like Gateway Computers and Compaq Computers, etc. To do that job well, we built a multi-tenant billing and customer care system – kind of like the “ancestor” to a SaaS or Cloud architecture. LaserLink was acquired, and we had gone our separate ways, but we were compelled to redesign that original concept of the multi-tenant billing and customer care solution – this time for any vertical market – so it could be 100% accessible over the Internet. Keep in mind, the terms “SaaS” and “Cloud” weren’t yet in parlance. So we launched Aria.
Tells us about Aria Systems
Aria provides a cloud-based platform that not only removes the recurring billing bottleneck, it transforms recurring billing into an agile strategic advantage. Aria accelerates time to market and increases flexibility for subscription- and usage-based businesses. Only Aria provides speed and agility at scale in the cloud, delivers actionable customer insights, and empowers business users with direct control to better monetize their offerings. Innovative companies like Audi, Philips, Experian, AAA, and Zipcar, depend on Aria to rapidly introduce (and manage) offerings, bundles, and promotions — which increase customer value and grow recurring revenue.
What kinds of customers benefit most from your solution?
Our platform was designed to provide deep benefit for any recurring billing business model in any industry, B2C or B2B. Our enterprise clients fall into two general buckets: first, well-established companies seeking to transform their go-to-market approach by discarding the brittle, costly, and slow-moving billing platforms to which they’ve been shackled in the past, and second, the “born digital” disruptors leaping into the recurring revenue market and insisting on using on best-of-breed technologies like Aria’s.
What’s exciting / new for Aria in 2016?
We’ve had record growth and a fresh infusion of capital so we’re primed to accelerate our success. Recent wins include innovators like CCP Games, global stalwarts like Experian and disruptors like Zipcar. Additionally, the burgeoning, transformative world of the Internet of Things, which often uses recurring revenue business models, is adding even more fuel to the already hot-burning recurring revenue fire. I’m excited about the many product and market initiatives propelling Aria forward and deepening our leading position in cloud billing. It’s a very exciting time to be at Aria.
What are you most looking forward to, at CRUSH 2016?
Avalara has been at the forefront of cloud-based tax compliance, and Aria’s been a proud and very active partner to Avalara all along the way. Events like CRUSH are always a great time for me to deepen my relationships with customers and other best-in-breed providers of solutions adjacent to billing and taxation.
What’s your favorite restaurant in New Orleans?
As my wife will attest, when I visit a new place my stomach is my tour guide… nothing gives one a better taste of local flavor (both literally and figuratively) than exploring the food of a place, and no city offers more in that regard than NOLA. But my choice is clear: Willie Mae’s Scotch House in the Treme. Hands down, the best fried chicken anywhere in the world. Don’t forget to bring a bottle of wine or a cold six-pack with you, and don’t be daunted by the line that invariably snakes out the door and around the corner. It’s worth it.
About Brendan O’Brien
Brendan O’Brien is Chief Evangelist and a Co-founder at Aria Systems. In 2002 he introduced the world to cloud billing, and innovated database-driven, enterprise-grade web applications – before the concept of “cloud” was even on the horizon. O’Brien is at the forefront of the recurring revenue revolution that is empowering enterprises — and specifically enabling information systems and new business models to secure predictive revenue streams while improving business processes.