Due to expansion and investment opportunities both nationally and around the globe, and the need to chart a future pathway with service providers, NewLease is rebranding the company to Rhipe, a move effective December 1, 2014.
"The rebrand is largely because we recognise that we have a lot more to offer than just subscription licensing," NewLease CEO, Dominic O'Hanlon, said in an exclusive interview with ARN.
Established in 2003, NewLease's key software vendors include Microsoft, Citrix, Datacore, McAfee, Red Hat, Trend Micro, Veeam and VMware. Traditionally, the company grew in the Australian marketplace focused on helping service providers move towards a subscription licensing model.
"We are rebranding under the name of Rhipe, with the strapline of the 'Cloud Channel Company.' Our stated go-to-market will be that we exist to help service providers thrive in the emerging Cloud economy," he said. "What that means is we need to help service providers with more than just traditional licensing. We have some very good IP that handles billing, for example, and enables service providers to provide subscription billing to their customers. We are continuing to expand in terms of our offerings and you'll see that after the rebrand."
O'Hanlon said the move to rebrand also came about because of the company's international expansion over the last two years -- and the fact overseas markets had confusion around the brand in terms of being a leasing company versus a software licensing company.
Beyond Australia and New Zealand, the company has expanded into Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines.
"As we've expanded, we've found that that confusion does exist in markets where we haven't been known so we've taken the decision to rebrand the whole company under the name of Rhipe. We're doing that at the same time as investing in substantial growth. We have opened in new geographies, we've also signed a number of new vendors who we represent, and we're expanding our operations in Australia. Our Sydney office, for example, is now significantly larger than it was just six months ago."
O'Hanlon said the company is on a major growth spurt and in a staff expansion phase, recently signing new executives, Chris Sharp as the vice-president of emerging markets (based in the Singapore office) and Ravi Samuel as the new CFO, as well as forming a brand new team in Sydney to focus on Cloud LSP, a worldwide pilot for Microsoft.
"What we have is an investment and expansion story. We're hiring lots of people, and expanding into new programs, partners. Our revenue grew 45 per cent last year. Our customer base grew 44 per cent last year and our growth has been compounded about 45 per cent now five years running.," he said. "As the business continues to expand at 45 per cent annum we need new people, new processes, new systems, new offices, and new locations. We are representing new vendors and we expect to continue that expansion."
Looking ahead, he said the company wants to appeal to customers in a number of new and innovative ways.
"One of the things I've been talking to our customers about is where they don't have the capability to implement particular service software. Where they don't have the ability to implement software themselves, we can help them with that. There is every potential that, as we expand, we'll be looking for what value we can add to our channel community. We certainly don't have the capability today to provide these services to our customer, but it is certainly on our radar."
O'Hanlon said another exciting new direction in digital and social marketing is surfacing for the company thanks to the growing reliance on the online world.
"We believe there's a real opportunity for us to help our customers, our partners, with digital and social marketing. The original founders have built a relationship business, which is very strong, and we know that our customers would love us to help them generate leads. And we can do that by building a new digital and social presence. It is a bit harder for us to do under the NewLease brand, especially as we expand into new geographies. So you'll see a lot of investment for us around marketing digitally and socially and lead generation for our customers as well, and the founders are very, very supportive of it as the business continues to grow."
Asked how the company developed the new name, O'Hanlon said the company was listed on the ASX under the name of Rhype with a similar logo. "It was spelt with a 'y'. We ran internal executive workshops with the team whether we should stick with the Rhype name or go with alternates. It was a pretty extensive program and the votes all landed with Rhipe with an 'I' instead of a 'y' so that's where we're going."
O'Hanlon said if you deconstruct the name, there are a number of meanings. "In you go online you'll find there's an Ancient Greek city named Rhipe, but in reality the name came about because we were already listed under that name."
From December 1, the company will have "a brand new look, a really nice new website, a really good story around our channel Cloud community, and videos on the website, which will be much more interactive and digitally modern in terms of the experience partners have with us," he said.
NewLease head of marketing, Carolyn Agombar, is tasked with running the internal audit of every touch point in the organisation that needs a brand refresh or change.
It is all hands on deck, O'Hanlon admitted, in steering the ship and educating the market through the transitory times. "We will continue to carry the NewLease name for a little while just so people can see the transition. It is obviously a fairly significant step to re-educate the market after a number of years using another name. But we're excited about it, using new colours, new logos, and new fonts."
And more importantly, O'Hanlon said the new direction and name change for the company has been well received by all staff and even long-time employees, including company co-founder Dawn Edmonds, who hatched the business with Doug Tutus, who sadly passed away in March.
"Dawn is very supportive of the fact that it is time to relaunch."
O'Hanlon said the time is now to honour the company heritage and embrace the future potential in the Cloud.
"What makes Rhipe quite a unique business is that it was truly born in the Cloud," he said. "The real story here is it is an investment relaunch, we're investing hard, we're growing aggressively -- let's get serious with a global brand now. That's what it's all about."