Zuora – a model for the bidding Tech Entrepreneur looking to become a Unicorn

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Zuora founder and CEO Tien Tzuo. 


Electrical engineering degree from Cornell University, 6 years in sales at Oracle MBA from Stanford, Sales at Salesforce , CMO at Salesforce

2007 Founder of Zuora SAAS for subscriptions 

Facts of Zuora

Turnover – $US250 million, 600 people and is  a unicorn (valued at around $1 billion. ) With a who’se who customer list including Box, News Corp, Fairfax Media and Zendesk.

Tzuo realised that SAAS was the next big thing that would be taking over from the likes of SAP and Oracle there core focus was providing outcomes for clients, without them needing to buy infrastructure.

Major disruption!!

The subscription business model is disrupting every facet of the consumer world, with every single industry feeling the heat. 

Uber, Netflix and Airbnb being major disruptions !

“How are Oracle and SAP going to survive in a world where people are buying less software?”

Research showed that Australia was was number one in adopting subscription models – and focussed energy is setting up shop in Oz! 

 Tzuo sees Sydney or Melbourne as the second English speaking city you would go outside of the USA after London, boding well for a stronger VC community, and points out that Aussie companies are at the leading edge of the global digital transformation – with Telstra and Australian Post major players!

However, it’s still really hard for Australian companies to find capital and succeed . But it can be done!!!

Atlassian is a case in point!

Biggest Mistakes

“We  thought customers wouldn’t need help implementing. Like how hard could it be? There’s nothing needed to be installed, it’s all point and click,” Tzuo said.

“But it turned out that it’s all new, the subscription economy business model was all new and there wasn’t a lot of experience inside the companies on how to be successful with these systems. So we gave our software to companies who then struggled to get it set up and how to use it. 

“Now, we sit down with a customer and give them a detailed plan and show how we can go through and implement this plan with them.” 

Focus on the customer 

Ensure you keep customers by continuing to delight them 

“When you see tech companies with scale issues, it’s usually because they focus on gaining new customers,” he said.

“If you’re a social platform, it’s easy to get 1000 customers quickly, but how do you make it truly sustainable and an engine of growth?” 

Inspired by business insider 

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