Hosting plans are now being bundled with e-mail services like antivirus protection and spam management, as well as search engine optimization and marketing. Ensim is betting that voice over IP (VoIP) phone service will be an important new offering for hosting providers. On May 31 Ensim acquired Telegea which customizes branded gateways to allow third-party resellers (like Ensim’s hosting customers) to sell VoIP to customers.
Beloussov also sees telecom services as a natural expansion area for hosting companies, which can add ISP-style services even as telecom companies introduce hosting offerings. “This is a very important trend,” said Beloussov. “Telcos and ISPs are moving in, and this cannot be discounted. There is a sense of denial in the industry, and people think that telcos cannot do hosting. There are a lot of companies becoming full-service providers, as opposed to focusing on a certain area. What you have to do is include more and more in your accounts at the same price.”
The investment in SW Soft by Intel Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners and Insight Venture Partners is the first institutional investment in the company. “We were trying to raise funding for years,” Beloussov said last week. “What we heard from institutional investors is ‘the hosting industry is dead.’ Instead, a lot of market opportunity was lost. Because the growth was slower, there’s more growth potential remaining.”
Beloussov said SW Soft’s new financing will be used “for acquisition opportunities” along with hiring additional staff.