Centerbeam Inc, the Santa Clara based start-up that offers complete outsourcing services for small businesses, goes live today in four US cities. At least one company, an investment house in San Francisco, will start using the services today and according to CEO Sheldon Laube, a dozen or more are signed up to do so in […]
Centerbeam Inc, the Santa Clara based start-up that offers complete outsourcing services for small businesses, goes live today in four US cities. At least one company, an investment house in San Francisco, will start using the services today and according to CEO Sheldon Laube, a dozen or more are signed up to do so in the next couple of weeks.
For a start-up, Centerbeam hasn’t wasted any time. The company was only founded in April of this year (by two former Novell CTOs), it launched in August and as of today will offer outsourcing services in Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose, with more cities to follow as customer demand dictates, Laube says.
Centerbeam says that it is uniquely positioned to corner the market for small business outsourcing. For $165 per user per month, it offers companies wireless access to Microsoft Windows 2000, Office, PCs, servers, printers, remote back-up and DSL- based internet access. Nobody could do this ever before, Laube said, this is the first time all these technologies have been available and we’re the first company to bring them altogether under this kind of service at this kind of price.
The company still hasn’t announced who its hardware partner is – Laube says its in final negotiations now – nor has it announced which carrier it has partnered with for DSL services. That’s coming in a couple of weeks, he said, but he did say that Centerbeam is about to announce a series of alliances to offer additional, web-based services, alongside the basic outsourcing component. The deals will be announced at the Internet World show in New York later this month.
Laube wouldn’t be drawn as to who the partners were but added they would be on-line companies offering things like applications outsourcing (for human resources data for instance) or office supplies. The idea, says Laube, is to give small businesses easy access to applications and services that they might otherwise not be able to afford, especially in the applications space. It costs so much to buy, run and manage applications that sometimes small businesses end up going without, he said.
Centerbeam’s customers will be offered discounts if they sign up for the service, and in turn Centerbeam itself will receive some kind of payment from the partner, either a cut of the monthly subscription fee (in the case of hosted applications) or a one- off referral fee.
Laube took great pleasure citing analyst figures that showed how expensive it is for a company to buy a PC and support it for one year. The Gartner Group has the figure at $10,000, while Compass America says it costs $5,985. That compares to Centerbeam’s offering, which reduces that price to just $1,980. For that reason Laube says the service will also be attractive to larger companies. Then after that it’s across the pond for world domination, he laughs. Certainly, Centerbeam’s value proposition seems very appealing.