I was sad to see ValiantHost (the former provider of HelpSpot hosting) acquired a month or so back. I’d been working with Giorgio (the founder) for over a year and had a great business relationship with him. Overall he did a great job with the customers. Near the end there was a few hiccups (part of the reason he sold actually), but overall I was very happy with ValiantHost.
Sometimes though you need to turn setbacks into opportunities. One problem with Valiant is that it was essentially a MicroISV in the hosting business. When it comes to hosting, a one person company may not be the safest bet. Also, as HelpSpot has grown and started to reach larger organizations I’ve seen the need to be able to offer larger scale solutions. Solutions at an enterprise level, like dedicated servers, redundant locations and 24/7 hosting support.
As I was pondering all of this, I was surprised and happy to receive an email from Leslie Camacho, VP of EllisLab. EllisLab is the creator of Expression Engine (A great CMS used to run this blog) and the Code Ignitor PHP framework I use here for all the CRMish and ecommerce apps behind UserScape. Part of the EllisLab ecosystem is Engine Hosting. Leslie wanted to discuss Engine Hosting and how we might work together.
After an initial discussion with Leslie and further communication with Nevin Lyne (CTO of Engine Hosting) we decided to move forward with a hosting relationship. After a few weeks of work the collaboration is now live and you can see the HelpSpot options here:
Engine Hosting actually started out as Pmachine Hosting, back when EllisLab was called Pmachine. Since then they’ve grown out a first rate hosting environment will all the goodies. Up until recently they’ve primarily done Expressine Engine hosting, but recently they’ve started to push their services in all hosting areas.
That’s a major reason to me why Engine Hosting is a beautiful match for HelpSpot. From a hosting perspective HelpSpot is very similar to Expression Engine (also a robust PHP application). Knowing they’ve hosted thousands of expression engine installations over the years gives me a lot of confidence in their service with HelpSpot.
For those of you interested in the business aspects of this, I think it’s going to be a big win all the way around. With their enterprise class service I have a lot of confidence in really pushing the hosting option. Rather than just offering hosting to those who know they want it, I’ll know be actively marketing it including a paragraph on the homepage and notes about hosting in the trial reminder emails.
I think this will really help HelpSpot with customers who are looking for a full on-demand solution. Of course it should also spur growth for Engine Hosting in base level accounts along with more robust and hopefully profitable accounts with the larger organizations HelpSpot is now drawing in.
I can’t believe how quickly this has all came together. I’ve really respected the team at EllisLabs for a long time and to have the opportunity to work together is extremely exciting. I think this is only the beginning of a great partnership and I’m really looking forward to working closely with such a first rate group.
Leslie just posted an interview I did with him here.