In 2002, Chip Pearson and Zach Halmstad were IT guys who loved Macs. Halmstad was managing a large installation of Macs at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Pearson had a company called The Foundation, a Mac reseller, that helped other businesses use Apple products.
Flash forward 11 years to Tuesday. The company they founded together, JAMF Software, just raised $US30 million from Summit Partners, its first second VC investment. (UPDATED: the company raised $US3 million three years ago.)
In 2002, they were bucking the trend. Those were the days when most businesses ran Windows. There were few IT tools to help them manage a lot of Macs, to do things like install software across hundreds of PCs, set them up on a corporate network, troubleshoot problems.
Today JAMF has over 4,000 customers, including 34 of the Fortune 500; is managing over 3.8 million devices, between Macs, iPads and iPhones; and employs 275 workers (over 100 hired in the last year alone).
“When we started out, it was a labour of love. We thought that someday we might have 30 people working for the company,” Pearson, CEO, told Business Insider.
“ was the year that the first Apple store opened, the first iPod was released, OS 10 was pretty new. For us it was always something that we needed to do, more than thinking it would turn into a successful mid-sized business. It was out of a love for Apple, Apple’s deep commitment to its end users,” he says.
After the iPhone launched and business users started bringing it to work, JAMF took off, in part because there’s a peculiar trend that happens with Apple devices, Pearson says: People tend to go from one Apple device to lots of them.
“We believe the world is going to go from a one-device worker to a three-Apple device worker. One of the interesting things we’ve seen is no matter where they come in, whether someone starts out with the Mac, the iPhone or the iPad, they end up where they want more of those Apple technologies for their day-to-day use,” he says.
Because of that, enterprise use of Apple devices has exploded, he says. Enterprises are renewing their contracts with JAMF with ever-more devices. Revenue has grown 70% at JAMF since Apple introduced the iPhone, he says.
JAMF isn’t the only software that helps enterprises manage Apple devices. JAMF plays in a hot enterprise area called Mobile Device Management. It competes with Microsoft System Center (although System Center is geared toward a company that mostly uses Windows with a few Macs/iOS devices thrown in). Others include MobileIron and AirWatch. (AirWatch nabbed a huge $US200 million venture investment, also its first, in February).
But JAMF differs in that it only manages Apple devices, not Windows. It’s success is a big indicator of how much progress Apple has made with enterprise users, without much effort or attention to them.