Sean Marsh founded his first billing company Tempest in 1996 and went on to provide scalable, robust and customisable billing software to much of the Channel. Having sold out to Daisy in 2006, Sean Marsh has now decided to take on the billing market once again with his new offering Amaya from his company EbbSolutions.
Comms Business Magazine (CBM): For those of you who don’t know you, can you give us a bit of background on Sean Marsh?
Sean Marsh (SM): Most people know me from my Tempest days but I actually started my journey in billing at WorldCom and I was there when the market first got deregulated. They sent me over to the US to learn about the billing market as they deregulated ten years before the UK. I took everything I learned back with me to the UK and turned it into a system.
Many of the sales guys at WorldCom ended up leaving to head various telecoms companies and they would always call me and ask me to do their billing. At first I always declined but after a while I began to think maybe there is an opportunity here. That’s when I left to setup Tempest.
I spent the first year working long hours from my spare bedroom and by the time I got to year five I had the 6th fastest growing IT business in the UK, I think we grew something like 800% year-on-year for five years.
Years later I got a phone call from Matt Riley at Daisy and he made an offer for the company, everyone has a price and he knew mine! I accepted and part of the deal was I couldn’t come back into the market for a few years.
CBM: You sold tempest in 2006, presumably you could have come back into the market before now?
SM: People have been asking me for years if I would come back but I didn’t want to re-enter the market with just another me-too proposition. I have always said, when I have something different to offer, or the market needs something it isn’t getting, then I’ll come back. With my new product Amaya I think I have just that.
CBM: Tell us about Amaya
SM: About 12 months ago I realised there was a gap in the market so I started building a new billing system. Resellers need three things to succeed. They need a billing system, they need sales software (CRM) and they need to be able to support their customers. I have had developed a system which encompasses all three of these elements into one integrated solution. The CRM is built in and is based around the style of Dynamics which means resellers don’t need to go and buy extra licenses. It’s not just a cost saving for partners, it’s also an efficiency one as the three areas are seamlessly linked together.
We have been running this out in the field with some partners for six months and believe we have a great polished product.
CBM: Can you tell us about some of the features?
SM: This is a cloud based carrier grade billing system which does everything you would expect it to, only it has been built from scratch with the modern digital world in mind, I don’t have any legacy baggage like my competitors. On the CRM side you can monitor your sales people and also get your sales reports out of it etc. The support element does a full SLA assessment of support tickets and much more.
There is too much to say on the feature front really, so I’m also offering 90 day contracts for partners. I’m confident that after three months anyone using the system will want to continue using it, and if they don’t then they are free to go elsewhere. Other providers will try and lock you into 2 year plus agreements so this is a real differentiator.
CBM: It’s been a while Sean, are you nervous coming back into a market with established players?
SM: I’m not nervous coming into the market because of the legacy element that is still there. I’ve gone back and developed this from scratch and developed for the cloud and the digital world. For my competitors out there, they are all trying to go through that mind-set shift because of their legacy systems.
The system also gives me an economy of scale which enables me to keep the company small. There are only eight of us at the moment and I own 100% of the company, this means we are incredibly agile and can respond to the market far quicker than any of our competitors.