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Rewind CEO plans to expand SaaS app backup coverage

Rewind's CEO says SaaS applications that aren't 'the big three' also need backup. Rewind currently protects e-commerce apps, but will expand to cover GitHub, ZenDesk and Trello.

Salesforce, Office 365 and Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) aren't the only SaaS applications that need backup, according to data protection startup Rewind.

Rewind currently backs up e-commerce SaaS applications Shopify, BigCommerce and Quickbooks Online, but plans to expand into others. While it's clear that losing data in any of the "big three" SaaS applications can be devastating to businesses, accidentally overwriting or deleting data in an e-commerce app a business relies on can lead to lost sales and downtime, said CEO Mike Potter. The same goes for GitHub or Zendesk, which are among the list of applications Rewind intends to back up next.

Potter plans to fuel Rewind's expansion with a $15 million funding round from mid-January led by Inovia Capital. Ridge Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners participated in the round, the latter of which has Shopify and other popular tech companies in its portfolio.

Rewind was "as bootstrapped as possible," with initial funds from friends, family and government assistance, according to Potter. The company was founded in 2015 in Ottawa and currently has over 80,000 customers, including fashion label Badgley Mischka and Proctor & Gamble's Pampers and Charmin brands. The series A marked the first time Rewind scored any venture capital interest, and Potter believes it's because Rewind backs up three SaaS platforms that have very little third-party support.

It is often possible to back up SaaS application data using native capabilities or scripting. The main benefit of third-party tools such as BackHub for GitHub and OwnBackup for Salesforce is that it shifts the IT burden of building and maintaining backup capabilities to an outside vendor. This is especially helpful to smaller companies with limited IT resources and expertise, but larger companies may turn to third parties so they can devote their own resources to other IT pursuits.

Most third-party backup vendors only cover the most popular SaaS applications. There's some belief among industry experts that this may change in 2021, but for now, it mostly falls on customers to come up with their own ways to protect data in apps such as Dropbox or Concur. Rewind is one of the few vendors that targets less popular applications.

Its most similar competitor is Skyvia, which can schedule automated backups to Azure cloud storage and works with Shopify, BigCommerce, Quickbooks Online, Zendesk and many others. Even still, Potter said he considers Rewind a competitor to Veeam, Druva and other vendors that protect Salesforce and Office 365, as Rewind will eventually cover those applications.

Potter said his goal for 2021 is to double the revenue from the three platforms Rewind is currently protecting, then launch products for five more. Trello and Zendesk will be next, and products for Xero, Github, GitLab and Bitbucket are in states of early access.

"The room to expand on our current platforms is enormous, and on other platforms, incalculably more," Potter said.

Rewind is "filling a void" in the backup space, said Vinny Choinski, senior lab analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), a division of TechTarget.

That's because enterprises often use applications before there are good options for backing them up, Choinski added. But as these applications become more critical to the business, the questions of backup and compliance will inevitably arise.

Rewind's product addresses these concerns, and the company may have to worry about scaling its business to be able to handle enterprise customers, he added. However, it wouldn't be a surprise if Rewind attracts larger rounds of venture capital or gets bought by a larger vendor, Choinski said.

"I sense the same groundswell Veeam had when people needed to recover VMs in the beginning," Choinski said.

Large enterprises use many of the applications Potter wants to expand to in the near term, and he suspects most enterprises aren't currently backing up the data within them, said Christophe Bertrand, senior analyst at ESG. One of Rewind's challenges will be educating prospective customers that they have a problem, Bertrand said. Customers need to think about the consequences of losing a customer record in Zendesk, an application in mid-development in GitHub or an entire project's worth of notes in Trello.

"As these apps become more critical, the question of backup also becomes more critical," Bertrand said.

Johnny Yu covers enterprise data protection news for TechTarget's Storage sites SearchDataBackup and SearchDisasterRecovery. Before joining TechTarget in June 2018, he wrote for USA Today's consumer product review site, Reviewed.com.

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