Business model

Vision

Our vision is becoming the leading solution for developer collaboration through an integrated suite of open core tools that accelerate developer productivity, increase software service levels, and raise workplace satisfaction among technical teams.
As the world moves more digital and remote, technical organizations face mounting challenges: stagnating productivity, increasing exposure to outages and service-level degradations, and declining workplace satisfaction leading to staffing churn and expanding talent gaps.
We solve these issues for customers by developing and delivering an open, flexible, developer-focused collaboration suite competing against both point solutions (Slack, Asana/Trello/Notion, WebEx/Zoom/Loom, RunDeck/Transposit/Firehydrant, Confluence/GitHuge Pages) and general-purpose collaboration suites (Microsoft Teams/Office, G Suite).
We deliver our solutions through an open core, product-led growth motion with freemium offerings that flow into usage and conversion from free-to-paid supported by Mattermost champions in customer accounts, frictionless self-serve purchase experience on both cloud and self-hosted instances, and both direct fulfillment and channel-based fulfillment depending on customer preferences and our ability to provide regional support. This motion is accelerated through our BDR and field sales motions with warm outbound into our freemium install base, plus cold outbound into named enterprise accounts driving awareness of the ROI of Mattermost solutions from like customers.

Market

Analysts project that in 2022, over $4.5 trillion USD will be spent on IT. What portion of that investment turns into productivity and results depends entirely on how well teams of software builders and operators can effectively collaborate.
Mattermost competes in a $15B market for "developer collaboration", a segment of the boarder general collaboration market focused on accelerating developer productivity through agile workflows across application development, digital operations and security operations. Our focus is serving a market of 30 million developers with an integrated, open core collaboration suite across workplace messaging, project management, incident management, real time communication, and documentation available both in cloud and as a self-hosted component of an organization's digital infrastructure.
Many of these organizations are facing three critical challenges:
Stagnant and declining developer productivity in post-remote environments. While many technical organizations accelerated productivity in the initial move to remote work--decreasing commute time, onsite logistics, and interruptions--many post-remote environments now suffer from gaps in clarity and alignment that in-office environments provided in the past. The context created by in-person meetings, hallway conversations, war rooms--and even by physical whiteboards and post-it notes--continues to degrade in many organizations. Digital substitutes across meeting organization, note taking, workplace messaging, incident response, and project management have exploded as point solutions. They served as life rafts during the pandemic, but the misfit of teams, tools and workflows is now becoming an overwhelming tax--copy and pasting, inconsistent formatting, unclear access controls, redundancy of information, and the breakage of flow.
Increasing vendor lock-in and outage exposure. In many organizations the acceleration to cloud has dramatically increased vendor-dependency, data lock-in, and exposure to the business disruption. In some cases, there is risk of both a company’s technical infrastructure and online collaboration tools going down at the same time when they are outsourced to the same vendor, or share dependencies--especially cloud dependencies. These risks may be dramatically heightened with remote work if incident response teams don’t have either a secure physical location to work on mitigations, or online collaboration tools independent of the underlying outage. Moreover, as cloud vendors control more and more of their customer’s data and operations, businesses have fewer options to hold vendors accountable.
Gaps in workplace satisfaction for technical talent. Acceleration in remote hiring coupled with a surge in global demand has made staffing developer organizations an unprecedented challenge. Workplace satisfaction is now more important than ever as a leading indicator of organizational success. Satisfaction includes both conceptual factors, such as opportunities for impact, connection and growth, and concrete factors such as the technologies and tools teams get to operate. Winning on workplace satisfaction in conceptual and concrete factors is a leading indicator of meeting the capacity needs of digital operations organizations, which is a leading factor to market relevance.

Business model

Mattermost uses a buyer-based open core business model to deliver a high trust, self-managed messaging platform for developers and high security end users. We develop a portfolio of offerings at different price points (including free/open source) that align to the needs and budgets of different buyers.

Mattermost Free / Open Source

The free/open source version of Mattermost is built for developers as an innovative, flexible, high trust collaboration platform that accelerates the productivity and agile workflows of a tight-knit team, and includes the following features:

Channels

(Workplace Messaging) - An open source alternative to Slack, with Slack-compatible keyboard shortcuts and Slack-compatible webhooks, along with a layered extensibility model ranging from plug-ins to custom applications.

Boards

(Work Management) - An open source alternative to Trello, Notion, Asana, Jira and Todoist, deeply integrated with Channels, with the ability to import from other systems, to use and create custom templates and workflows, and to integrate deeply with the rest of the Mattermost collaboration platform.

Playbooks

(Incident Management) - An open source alternative to Rundeck, Firehydrant, Transposit, and other incident management solutions for standardizing and running incident management escalations, remediations, and timeline-based retrospectives deeply integrated with access controls and real-time workplace messaging and notification experiences on the Mattermost platform.
For our self-hosting community, we have an open source Mattermost Team Edition available as a Linux Binary under MIT license that deploys with MySQL or PostgreSQL and optionally a web-proxy such as NGNIX. There's a single-node local machine "Preview" mode you can use to try out the features using Docker, along with a streamlined omnibus version you can use to get a production system up and running quickly on an Ubuntu-compatible Linux distribution.
For our cloud community, our "Free" offering is currently a hosted version of the open source Mattermost Team Edition available on demand from Mattermost.com with unlimited users and a flat rate hosting cost of $149/year. While the software is free, we currently do need to pay for hosting costs in this cloud offering, however we also have plans to provide a fully free offering in future subsidized by revenues from paid versions of Mattermost through our open core model.

Mattermost Professional

Our entry-level paid version, Mattermost Professional, is built for team managers - commonly managers of managers - who need additional controls and workflows specific to multi-team coordination. This version can be purchased via self-service, through resellers, or - for accounts over a certain size in certain territories - transacted through our sales team.

Mattermost Enterprise

As usage of Mattermost grows, we have a high scale edition, Mattermost Enterprise, providing enterprise compliance features and high scale support, including self-managed, multi-node, high availability configurations.

Customer Journey

Our customer journey starts developers and IT admins seeking better collaboration tools for themselves and their teams. They may have used Mattermost personally, or in a previous role, or heard about the product through word of mouth, review sites, or discovered Mattermost through web search.
They discover, download, and install Mattermost using a deployment guide. Over time, as the number of users grows beyond a single team, typically an IT administrator will be interested in the user management and access control features in Mattermost Professional, and be interested in getting a 30-day trial version license key to upgrade to Mattermost E0 and activate the trial key.
A subscription license to Mattermost Professional can be purchased online through our self-serve process, through a channel partner, or by contacting a member of the Mattermost sales team assigned to the territory.
As the deployment of Mattermost grows within an organization, typically past 250 or 500 users, the customer's procurement organization may be interested in advanced features and customization available in our Mattermost Enterprise offering.

Sales motions

We're focused on a number of sales motions to turn leads and prospects into customers.

Champion-Led Inbound Direct

Prospect comes to us to buy. In this motion, developers or a System Admin deploys the open source or cloud free version of Mattermost, adopts its usage, and realizes value for a small group (~20 for cloud and 5-25 for self-hosted). When they want to scale usage beyond 25 and need administrative features like user management, SAML SSO, and the champion contacts IT and procurement to purchase. IT or procurement contacts Mattermost and is directed to the sales team to discuss a purchase, ask for volume discounting, answer security, compliance or technical questions, and/or negotiate MSA terms on their way to a purchase.
In the meeting, Mattermost AE probes to get a detailed understanding of the customer’s situation and needs using a MEDPPICC framework, and works with the prospect’s IT, procurement, champion, economic buyer and other stakeholders to help the customer envision their success with Mattermost, complete an initial purchase, and set up the account for success in the post-purchase journey.
Key Input: This process often begins with a Marketing Qualified Lead ("MQL") of a certain type (pricing quotation or "Contact Us" request) indicating a "hand held high" level of interest in a purchase, and a work email which can be used to determine the organization from which the MQL originates and can be used to identify the correct member of the sales team to lead and execute on our process based on territory and industry assignments.
This process can also begin with a Product Qualified Lead ("PQL") which is a type of MQL (has work email and can be mapped to a sales person) that has an indication of product adoption and ideally trial activation. In-product trial requests are an example of PQLs that can be used as a starting point for sales to accelerate this motion.

Champion-Led Inbound Channel

Similar to Champion-Led Inbound Direct journey except prospect buys through a channel partner rather than working with our sales team directly. In some cases we don’t have MEDPPICC information nor relationships with the key stakeholders at the accounts, and need to build up that context in order to properly connect with the account.
Key input: The inputs for this motion are the same as for "Champion-Led Inbound Direct" (above) with the exception that PQLs and MQLs may be shared by our sales team with a channel partner, who may have relationships (e.g. vendor agreement with a prospect) or capabilities (e.g. speaking languages that the Mattermost field doesn't) that we don't have.

Sales-Led Warm Outbound

Identifying organizations where the free version of Mattermost is used, contacting people who didn’t reach out to us, and selling our way to close a new customer.
In this journey, the Mattermost sales team, either BDR or AE depending on region and segment, identifies an account where someone seems to be running the open source version of Mattermost (through webchat, contact requests, E0 download data, cloud trials, enterprise trials, noticing “Mattermost” skillsets in LinkedIn profiles, etc.), identifies potential contacts (using ZoomInfo, LeadIQ/LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Demandbase and other resources), and outbounds (via email, LinkedIn, and social media) to different personas in the target organization to eventually connect with Mattermost champions, and for the AE to share the vision, benefits, use cases, ROI, and case studies of our commercial offerings, along with technical pre-sales support, and guide the prospect into becoming a customer.
Key input: The minimum input is a Marketing Qualified Lead ("MQL") with a work email (so organization can be identified and the right sales person assigned), indications of early interest in Mattermost (e.g. newsletter sign-up, unactivated trial request, etc.), and product usage in some form (after MQL identifies the organization, sales can review public information like LinkedIn bios, blog posts, social shares from company employees, open source contributions, etc.).
In an outbound motion the intent is to reach multiple people in an organization, not just the person taking an MQL-creating action, so that marketing and sales resources can be applied to accelerating early interest into envision and unlocking value into purchase and expansion decisions.

Sales-Led Cold Outbound

Selling into organizations that aren’t known to be using Mattermost but who are similar to existing Mattermost customers and could potentially benefit from our offerings, and potentially showed early interest.
This starts with BDRs and AEs focusing on a list of organizations - ”Named accounts” - that aren’t known to use Mattermost, but are similar to existing customers who benefit from Mattermost, finding and contacting the right people at the organization to share about the ROI and benefits of Mattermost solutions, getting meetings, and getting agreement to run a trial to prove that Mattermost would solve the issues the prospect is facing, running the trial with technical pre-sales support, and closing customers who can understand the vision for how Mattermost solves their urgent needs, with a proof of value in the trial to validate the purchase they are making.
Key input: Cold outbound can be started with just a list of "Named Accounts" that we believe would have similar needs and buying patterns as existing Mattermost customers. Ideally there are also MQLs similar to "Sales-Led Warm Outbound" though without the requirement of free usage to start this process.

Channel-Led Outbound

In some countries/regions, channel partners may execute Sales-Led outbound motions in partnership with our sales teams. This motion can be particularly additive in countries/regions and organizations with languages and culture that can’t yet be supported with our internal sales organization, or to reach the existing customer base of a channel partner who are likely to have similar needs to existing Mattermost customers and likely to buy (e.g. Carahsoft/FedResults).
Key input: The key input for a channel partner is training, enablement and on-going support on how to idenitify and call on high potential existing customers to consider, evaluate and purchase Mattermost offerings.
This motion is not yet broadly used, as the majority of channel activity is currently from "Champion-Led Inbound Channel" (described above).

Frequently asked questions

What keeps other companies from using your open source software to create offerings that compete with your paid products?

We use the acronym "TACTICAL" to summarize the approach to maintaining differentiation of the paid version of our offerings to offerings a competitor may create from our open source code base:
  • Test infrastructure: We use SaaS QA which isn't included in the open source version.
  • Alignment: Developer features are free. Paid features are for managers and IT pros, who are less likely to spend time and effort forking and maintaining an open source project vs. deploying budgets to purchase paid features.
  • Core committers: We work with an active community of core committers to keep the project and business in sync.
  • Threat intelligence: Mattermost's responsible disclosure policy means forks will lag in threat intelligence.
  • Innovation: Regular ship cycles and high velocity innovation rapidly lower the value of forks.
  • Compatibility: Only genuine versions upgrade smoothly to new releases and security patches.
  • Architecture: Modular architecture makes the need to fork rare.
  • Licensing: Mattermost's trademark is registered internationally, forking requires renaming.