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Rewind backup moves forward with BackHub acquisition

With the acquisition of BackHub, Rewind's SaaS data protection extends to GitHub, helping customers protect their code without having to cobble together backup themselves.

Rewind, provider of backup-as-a-service for e-commerce SaaS applications Shopify, BigCommerce and QuickBooks Online, has acquired GitHub backup provider BackHub, expanding the number of SaaS platforms under Rewind's protection.

BackHub's over 1,000 customers are now Rewind customers, though they will be largely unaffected by the acquisition, according to Rewind CEO Mike Potter. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The BackHub service isn't changing, and the entire BackHub team was brought on to Rewind and will continue to focus mainly on the BackHub product. This means BackHub's roadmap is unaffected.

Former BackHub CEO Daniel Heitz joined Rewind as senior product manager as a result of the acquisition. Potter added that the BackHub branding will remain for the time being, but it will transition into BackHub by Rewind.

BackHub provides a backup service for GitHub, the largest source code host and development platform in the world with over 56 million developers and 100 million repositories, according to its site. BackHub saves code and associated metadata for GitHub repositories, generates audit logs and allows users to clone the data it has captured to create backup or test copies as needed.

Rewind raised $15 million in Series A funding last month, which Potter said at the time would be used to expand Rewind's backup capabilities to other, non-e-commerce SaaS applications, such as Trello, Zendesk and GitHub.

GitHub claims 72% of the Fortune 50 use its platform, which Potter saw as a big opportunity for Rewind. When he pinpointed protecting software development as the best place to start Rewind's expansion, he started following BackHub very closely as it seemed to be the primary vendor offering GitHub backup.

Headshot of Mike PotterMike Potter

Rewind and BackHub started partnership talks in the middle of 2020. However, Potter concluded that because BackHub had little competition, any partnership options between Rewind and BackHub would just lead to a product that competed against itself. This led to talks of acquisition, which made the most strategic sense for both companies.

"We couldn't figure out a partnership opportunity that made sense for both of us," Potter said.

Potter added that this was an instance where buying was better than building because it let Rewind cover the GitHub platform much more quickly. Additionally, building a new product would take a longer time to recoup financially.

However, Rewind is building its own backup for Trello and Zendesk, Potter said. There's an opportunity to serve customers that use SaaS applications beyond major ones such as Office 365, Salesforce and Google Workspace (formerly G Suite). Most third parties protecting other SaaS applications are small teams of consultants or single developers, Potter noted.

The SaaS application backup market is still maturing, said Christophe Bertrand, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, a division of TechTarget. There are many vendors protecting the big three because they are the most visible, most transactional applications enterprises are using today. It doesn't mean they are any more or less critical than GitHub, Trello or Zendesk, Bertrand said.

"SaaS data protection is only at its beginning. There are just so many apps out there to protect," Bertrand said.

Due to the lack of third-party support, developers often build their own means of data protection for SaaS applications, Bertrand said. For many SaaS applications, exporting the data is easy, but putting it back onto the platform requires a tremendous amount of work. Even if it's possible to cobble something together, it's generally not something businesses should be expending their own IT resources on, according to Potter.

"It's a lot of work to build a backup and recovery solution. Is building a backup project really how you want to spend your time?" he said.

Rewind and other SaaS data protection providers are banking on the belief that customers recognize they shouldn't be handling this process themselves, Bertrand said. Moreover, the people responsible for administrating SaaS applications are often not backup admins yet are expected to fix the situation if a GitHub repository gets accidentally deleted or overwritten, he added.

"These are different personas, where backup isn't their life, but they have a lot of people breathing down their neck," Bertrand said.

As more SaaS applications become critical, the market will mature toward a more holistic way to protect them, Bertrand said. Vendors need to catch up on the SaaS apps outside of the big three, and he sees Rewind is opportunistically filling that gap.

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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