IT software maker SpiceWorks just closed an $8 million in series B financing. The funding round was led by Shasta Ventures with participation from Spiceworks series A investor, Austin Ventures. Their series A was $5 million. Shasta Ventures co-founder and managing director, Ravi Mohan, and former Dell senior executive, John Hamlin, have joined the Spiceworks board of directors. The money will be used to support over 120,000 users as well as software development and sales and marketing.
SpiceWorks’ software is an IT Desktop suite, consisting of a Network Inventory, Help Desk, Reporting, Monitoring and Troubleshooting applications. Taking a page from a lot of the consumer applications we profile on TechCrunch, their software is completely free and ad supported. Ravi Mohan of Shasta calls the shift toward ad supported systems the “consumerization of the enterprise”.
The ads are served via Google AdSense along a sidebar as you use the application. The idea is that IT professionals get a free suite of the basic tools they need and advertisers get access to a targeted audience that spends a lot of time in front of those ads (lots of page views).
Are we going to see the ad-supported model spreading across enterprise applications? Not likely, considering the great support and set up costs associated with most enterprise installations. However, SpiceWorks’ free bundle of basic IT programs helps differentiate themselves in the highly competitive category of SMB IT tools.