Meet Primo, a French startup that recently raised a $3.4 million funding round to build a software-as-a-service product that handles the IT needs of small and medium companies. Primo keeps track of your fleet of devices and can then help you manage it without a dedicated IT manager.
Headline and Global Founders Capital are leading the funding round, with several business angels also participating, such as Arthur Waller, Romain Niccoli, Ilana Elbaz, Josef Bovet, Mathieu Birach and Romain Libeau.
Small companies usually don’t have a dedicated IT team. They tend to hire their first IT manager when they reach 200 or 300 employees. Before that, it’s a mess. Some people in the team are “pretty good with computers” and can fix minor issues. For heavy-duty tasks, companies often rely on outsourced IT.
When there’s a new hire, someone from the HR or admin teams will make sure that the new employee has everything they need to get started. It often involves ordering a new computer, adding a reference number to a spreadsheet, emailing the outsourced IT person so that they can grant access to internal tools, etc.
“The complexity of IT has completely changed — it has become operational. When someone joins the team, there are 35 tasks to do,” Primo co-founder and CEO Martin Pannier told me. It’s a time-consuming process and chances are the task list is not even up to date.
An IT companion
Primo wants to be the companion SaaS for small companies. It currently has four different modules that should speed up and rationalize IT tasks.
“Everyone has become an accidental IT manager. It has a lot of advantages. One, it’s free. Two, it’s super agile and responsive,” Pannier said.
First, Primo can simplify how your company manages laptops and other devices. Instead of ordering from different websites and manually keeping track of devices in a spreadsheet, Primo users can order new laptops from Primo’s dashboard.
As Primo is connected to several HR information systems, it’s easy to see which laptop belongs to which employee. This module is free and acts as the top of the funnel when it comes to customer acquisition for the SaaS platform. Primo customers pay the retail price for new laptops while the startup takes a cut thanks to wholesale pricing.
Second, Primo helps you manage devices remotely. For this module, the company works with Hexnode, a mobile device management (MDM) company. But instead of showcasing a ton of options to the end customers, Primo is focusing on the needs of small companies.
The default configuration is already quite opinionated and should cover the vast majority of use cases. The laptop display is locked after five minutes, local storage is encrypted by default, automatic updates are enabled, etc. Customers can also use Primo’s MDM module to deploy apps on the employees’ laptops.
Third, Primo has a security module with Next-Generation Antivirus solutions (NGAV) and end-point detection and response (EDR). Once again, the company is partnering with another company to bring these features.
Finally, Primo also offers support features. In that case, if an employee has a problem because they spilled some water or their laptop got stolen, Primo handles all repairs and replacements with next-day loaner devices and some insurance coverage.
Up next, the startup wants to tackle software IT. Big companies often rely on an identity and access management product like Okta to make sure that everybody has access to the right tools — and that former employees can’t access Slack anymore.
But it’s extremely complex to implement. “Okta addresses companies from 250 to 300,000 employees. But 99% of their efforts go towards the 5,000 to 300,000 segment,” Pannier said.
Some companies rely on Google’s single sign-on feature. But that requires some development and manual configuration. Instead, Primo is going to rely on Auth0 (a company that was acquired by Okta) for their access management products. But that’s not live just yet.
Essentially, Primo is part of this new trend of SaaS startups that bundle a bunch of products in the same platform. The idea is that things should be easy and simple for small companies. They don’t want to deal with four different vendors if a company can already cover 95% of their needs.