Chargify acquires Keen to create events-based billing solution

9 Mar 2020

Paul Lynch. Image: Chargify

Chargify, which is led by Irishman Paul Lynch, plans to bring events-based billing to SaaS companies following its acquisition of Keen.

Last week, Texas-based revenue management tool Chargify announced that it has acquired event data management company Keen.

Founded in 2009, Chargify was set up as the billing engine for telecoms business Grasshopper, before an investment from Mark Cuban in 2011 helped the start-up to spin out as a separate business. Chargify was acquired by Scaleworks in 2016 and is now led by Irishman Paul Lynch.

The B2B billing service was designed specifically for SaaS companies and the unique challenges they face. Since it was set up, Chargify has expanded its offerings to include recurring billing, subscription management, revenue retention, business analytics and revenue operations.

Events-based billing

With the acquisition of Keen, Chargify unveiled plans for “events-based billing”, which will help SaaS companies manage vast amounts of event data (such as how often someone uses a feature or how much they use it), and to figure out how to charge customers based on these events.

Lynch wrote that to pull off events-based billing, the company would “need to build a foundation to handle a lot of events-based data”.

“That’s heavy infrastructure,” he added. “We’d also need APIs to allow customers to stream lossless data based on business-specific attributes. After some soul searching, late nights of strategy sessions, a lot of coffee and scrappy thinking, the path forward jumped out at us.”

Lynch said that Chargify began to work with Keen to build its events-based billing functionality, and that the company “gained momentum fast” and was impressed with what it had achieved with Keen.

The acquisition

“Because of that, we decided to double down on our working relationship between the two companies,” Lynch wrote. “We’re beyond excited to announce that we’ve acquired Keen, a leader in customer-facing metrics and a powerhouse in the world of analytics.

“The team is amazing, their product and history of streaming huge amounts of data is world-class, and they were the missing piece to this puzzle.”

Keen CEO Ben Kuhn added: “This journey started last year when Chargify’s CEO, Paul Lynch, came to us with the bold idea that the future of billing is event-based, and in order for Chargify to get ahead of the trend, they would need a way to manage streams of data in real-time and turn them into billable events.

“We were very familiar with Chargify, given we have been each other’s customers and we share investors as part of the Scaleworks portfolio. So to explore this bold idea as partners, we kicked off a stealth-mode initiative a few months ago to build a brand new product together.

“As part of the transition, I decided to step away from Keen and hand over the reins to Laith Dahiyat, who has served as Chargify’s VP of special projects and will now move into the role of general manager.”

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic