Rackspace jumps on the web acquisitions bandwagon – snatches Webmail.us

During the past 2 years the Web’s M&A market is very intensive. In what is known to be the RackSpace’s first web acquisition the company has acquired Webmail.us, a business web email service provider for an undisclosed sum.

At the time of the deal Webmail.us provided email hosting services to more than 80,000 small to medium size businesses totaling 600,000 users. Also recently Webmail.us made the Inc 500 list as the #217 fastest growing private company in America. Webmail.us already had a successful partnership with Rackspace – their entire email hosting infrastructure is hosted by Rackspace and Rackspace is their largest reseller. Webmail.us’s CEO Pat Matthews makes a note that “the market is really going to open up, leaders are going to emerge, and followers are going to fall behind.” He said that Webmail.us decided to sell to “make sure we’re positioned to be the leader in our space”.

Webmail.us is known to be using the Amazon S3, The Simple Queue Service and the Elastic Compute cloud to run its operations.

In the Webmail.us’s blog we read about the reason why they did this.

Why are we doing this?

We are committed to building the world’s most trusted provider of business email hosting. Rackspace very much believes in our mission and wants to help us make it a reality. They have done a phenomenal job of building one of the world’s greatest service companies and their experience and expertise will be invaluable as we grow our business.

We are natural business partners. In fact, we’ve been partners for more than three years. Rackspace already hosts our entire email hosting infrastructure and has become the largest reseller of our email hosting services.

Both companies see the world in the same way. Unlike other companies that sell technology-based solutions to businesses, we both believe that great service is what really matters. Since our inception, we’ve been committed to delivering great service to our customers and Rackspace only raises the bar. Experiencing Fanatical Support first-hand has proven to us that Rackspace is a different kind of company—one that is truly dedicated to its customers. We are eager to raise the bar as we bring Fanatical Support to our customers.

Our cultures are very similar, which has made integration easy—and exciting! Both companies are filled with amazing, passionate people that love what they do. And you can’t deliver great service unless you have great people that love what they do!
We believe in Rackspace. We share their vision for what email and IT hosting will look like in the future. We believe in their leadership team and their ability to execute. We love their people. We believe in Fanatical Support. And most importantly, we believe in our ability to achieve greatness—TOGETHER!

Nonetheless Webmail.us is a great example of a small company in the Web 2.0 age that is relying subscription based business model rather than on advertising even though having less user base when compared to the gigantic free email providers like Hotmail, Yahoo! Email and Gmail. That raises the interesting question what would it be if Google or Microsoft, for example, decide to jump on the same business model and turn just 1% of their free email users into recurring paying customers by adding and offering them some featured extras above the free accounts.

After the deal the company is going to stay in Blacksburg, Virginia. However, they  will now be able to leverage several locations for hiring — including Blacksburg, San Antonio, and the United Kingdom. The company was first incorporated in 1999, then raised about $140,000 in seed capital over the next three years, mostly from friends and family. But once it proved itself, it was time to look for more funds to expand the business. Alec Siegel, director of operations for MBA Management Group in Blacksburg, was one of the first angel investors. He invested $20,000 of his own money after meeting Matthews and the Webmail team. (MBA provides some staffing for Matthews’ company.)  David Sabotta, vice president of federal market development for G3 Systems in Blacksburg, also put up $20,000 of his own money. He discovered Webmail after reading Matthews’ blog, which includes Matthews’ commentary on the company and his vision for it. Then Sabotta got to meet the company. Webmail.us has then raised more than $400,000 in what represents its first round of financing – all from private investors.

Webmail.us used to be Excedent Technologies before they have changed the name in 2005.

Today Webmail.us stands at:

  • 100% focused on business email services
  • Headquartered in Blacksburg, VA
  • Employs over 60 employees
  • Hosts email for over 80,000 companies
  • Manages over 600,000 email accounts
  • Partners with a network of 325 resellers
  • On target to generate over $6M in sales in 2007
  • Over 100% year-over-year revenue growth, four years running
  • Voted best technology company to work in Southwest Virginia for the past two years
  • Voted #217 on the 2007 Inc. 500 list of fastest growing private companies in America

Based on everything we see above it appears that Webmail.us is not the usual Web 2.0 company, if at all.

About Rackspace

Rackspace Managed Hosting is a recognized leader in the global managed hosting market. They deliver enterprise-level managed services to businesses around the world. Serving more than 15,000 customers in eight data centers worldwide, Rackspace integrates the industry’s best technologies for each customer’s specific need and delivers it as a service via the company’s award-winning Fanatical Supportâ„¢.

They serve as an extension of their customers’ IT departments, enabling them to focus on their core business. They got started in 1998 and since then Rackspace has grown more than 50 percent a year. There are currently 1,800 Rackers around the world serving customers.


[ http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/webmailus_acquired_by_rackspace.php ]
[ http://www.webmail.us/blog/a/2007/10/we_are_merging_with_rackspace ]
[ http://www.webmail.us/about-us ]
[ http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/2005/feb/1119735.htm ]
[ http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/index.jsp?epi_menuItemID…&newsId=20071127005923&newsLang=en ]
[ http://www.roanoke.com/business/wb/xp-21688 ]