directprint.io has made its mark in the US, with over half a million subscribers to its secure, serverless print management solution. Michelle Ryder caught up with Founder and CEO David Jenkins, to find out more about how the UK-based firm is looking to replicate this success in its home market
directprint.io is a relatively young company, founded a little under four years ago; what’s impressive is that despite being based in Cardiff, the firm’s focus up until now, has been on supporting clients in the US, primarily in the education sector.
Jenkins attributes its success in this market to two things. The first is the platform’s tight integration with Google. “We’re a Google Technology Partner and our solution is fully integrated with Google Workspace,” he explained. “We have a full directory-based integration with Google, our solution acts as an alternative to Google Cloud Print and ensures a more reliable printing experience. That enabled us to gain a strong foothold in the US education sector and that’s where the majority of our growth has come from.
“The other reason why we have achieved scale is through channel partnerships,” he added. In the US, it has partnered with channel vendors including Amplified IT, CDW, and a number of other specialist Google resellers.
Jenkins continued: “Moving forward, the focus is really to broaden our appeal outside of the Google-centric ecosystem. We have added support for Microsoft Azure and we now cover all three major operating systems – Chrome, Windows and Mac, and, we support the two major cloud productivity suite providers, Google Workspace and Microsoft 365. We’re now looking to capitalise on opportunity in the Microsoft space where the cloudification of productivity and office capabilities including printing – is really gaining traction.”
directprint.io is a pure SaaS single service offer with transparent and competitive per-seat pricing. The firm has proven its mettle in Google environments, but is now gaining traction with businesses invested in Microsoft as a platform. “A lot of the customers that we’re talking to at the moment are pure Microsoft, they’re looking to migrate their on-premise infrastructure to the cloud and in terms of print, we’re part of that equation for them,” he said.
SaaS single service offer
Jenkins is very clear on the company’s positioning. “We’re very strong in the education and SMB sectors, however, increasingly, we’re starting to get interest from larger enterprises. The reason why we don’t play in that space is that we are a pure SaaS provider and we don’t do any bespoke activity. We have a single service offer, and we don’t provide professional services to create additional features. We’re about having a single product line, a single software as a service, a predictable pricing model and automatically updating everything in the cloud. That said, our largest customer has 55,000 users – the platform is scalable, it’s just that we’re not geared to writing single lines of code for individual clients.”
Interestingly, directprint.io publishes its pricing on the website. “We are very competitive,” Jenkins said, adding: “Our pricing is designed to be disruptive, for example, 100 users costs just 562 USD per year.”
directprint.io is feature-rich, it’s compatible with all leading printer manufacturers and provides a consistent print experience across all devices and platforms. The platform is zero touch, once installed, no configuration is needed for new devices or end-users; security is built-in, local network printing ensures prints jobs never leave the customer’s network; and it also delivers full, real-time print analytics.
Key differentiators include: Directory sync capabilities with Google Workspace and Microsoft Azure AD ensures simple printer deployment. Users are allocated printers based on their log in so as soon as they turn their machine on, they automatically get the correct list of available printers. Policy management capabilities enable administrators to control users’ access to colour/mono, and enforce rules such as duplex or secure print release, as well as the use of accounting codes. A universal driver which includes configurable advanced finishing options such as staple, fold etc. across all printers. Advanced reporting – directprint.io records each print by user, account code etc., while printer and user charts enable IT leads to understand how print resources are being used organisation-wide. The platform also supports receipt (POS) and label printers.
The company has ambitious growth plans. “We’re targeting a quarter of a million users under management in the UK within the next 12 months,” Jenkins said. “Whilst we do support clients who engage with us directly, we do put partner-led opportunities first. Our primary route to market is via the channel and we’re looking to build on existing as well as forge new partnerships. We can offer unparalleled levels of support as well as healthy recurring revenue streams, and we’d love to talk to resellers keen to offer cloud print as a value-add service,”