What software was in the market when Zuora started?

Answered by: Tien Tzuo, CEO, Zuora

Category: Product Development

If you go back to 2000-2001, we looked in the marketplace to see if we could buy a commercial billing system. And there really wasn't anything. The closest thing was the billing systems they sell telecom companies. These things cost 10 -30 million dollars. We were doing a million dollars at the time so it didn't make any sense. So like any other good software company, we said we could just build this ourselves. So we tried to do that and over the years it became this monstrosity that never did what the business wanted.

In 2007, we were facing down another multi-million dollar expenditure to hire more people to throw more good money after bad on the system. And that's when the light bulb went on. We shared this experience with a couple of folks in Salesforce and one of them became a co-founder. They experienced the same thing. But the bigger idea again was that it's not just the software sector that can be sold as a subscription. Today, we don't buy anything anymore. We simply pick up our phone for food, for entertainment, for transportation, for work. That's what we mean by this broader subscription economy.