Spiceworks Lands $57 Million To Grow Its IT Community - InformationWeek
12:00 AM
Connect Directly
Ransomware: Latest Developments & How to Defend Against Them
Nov 01, 2017
Ransomware is one of the fastest growing types of malware, and new breeds that escalate quickly ar ...Read More>>

Spiceworks Lands $57 Million To Grow Its IT Community

Spiceworks, an IT community platform that offers free management tools, has closed a Series E funding round from Goldman Sachs.

Spiceworks announced that it closed a $57 million investment from Goldman Sachs this week. This is the fifth investment round for the IT startup since it was founded in 2006. CEO Scott Abel says he’ll use the money to grow the Spiceworks platform, hire new employees, and expand the company’s user base.

Spiceworks makes IT management tools, including network management, inventory, and help desk software. The products are free and supported by ads that appear in the tools’ consoles. Because the tools have specific information about the products being used, ads and content can be directly targeted.

“Say you’re on our inventory app, and looking at a Dell server--the app sends a message to look for articles, and for alerts from Dell about this model of server running that specific OS,” said Abel in an interview.

This degree of vendor targeting may be off-putting to potential users, and Abel said the company attacks this issue straight ahead. “We have an open privacy policy and we try to draw a hard line about where we do and don’t allow vendors in,” he said. “Vendors can join the community and pose questions, but we have strict guidelines about what you can and can’t do. We have moderators, volunteers, who enforce these guidelines.”

In addition to creating its own tools, Spiceworks has a partnership with Fiberlink to offer free mobile device management software to Spiceworks users. Fiberlink provides a base package at no cost, but some features, such as remote wipe, must be purchased.

The company is also borrowing a page from Salesforce by opening its platform to third-party developers to allow them to build and sell apps. “We’ll launch an app store for plug-ins, utilities, and apps on our platform,” said Abel. “We’ll provide the infrastructure and take a cut of the revenue.”

IT applications are only one part of Spcieworks’ business model. Perhaps more important is the community of IT professionals that the company has gathered. This community come to Spiceworks for a variety of content, including peer-generated product reviews, how-to articles, scripts, and Q&As. This content is surfaced through the tools, and through a community portal.

Abel said Spiceworks currently has 5 million monthly users, which includes people who have downloaded tools and those who come to the site for the content.

“Ninety-nine percent of the content is developed by our users,” said Abel. “That’s one reason why it’s held in such high regard. It’s a network of peers that people trust.” What compels folks to contribute content? “Primarily it’s pride,” said Abel. “They want to share knowledge and expertise to benefit others. We sure don’t pay ‘em.”

Other companies have recognized the potential of the community model. Peerlyst is a beta site that aims to connect IT pros with one another to share production information, reviews and experiences. In a similar vein, IT Central Station bills itself as a social network for IT pros that features peer-generated tech reviews.

The recent investment from Goldman Sachs will help Spiceworks in its own bid to expand its community of five million users. “We want five to go to ten, ten to go to fifteen,” said Abel. “So we’ll expand our spend in online and offline initiatives to enhance the brand and get the word out there to spread the message about Spiceworks.” He said the company’s long-term goal is to become publicly traded.

Join Mike Pennachi for a half-day hands-on workshop at Interop Las Vegas, “Network Troubleshooting Techniques Using the InteropNet." Pennachi will explore a number of network troubleshooting techniques on the InteropNet production network.

Drew is formerly editor of Network Computing and currently director of content and community for Interop. View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Ninja
2/8/2014 | 6:21:40 PM
Tsk, Tsk, Tsk
I had been a great fan of Spiceworks right up until I discovered that it is now bankrolled by GS. I won't enable such a vast criminal enterprise that profits on the misery of working Americans at the same time its cronies in the Obama Administration force bail out after bailout of the banking industry.
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Digital Transformation Myths & Truths
Transformation is on every IT organization's to-do list, but effectively transforming IT means a major shift in technology as well as business models and culture. In this IT Trend Report, we examine some of the misconceptions of digital transformation and look at steps you can take to succeed technically and culturally.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll