Zuora is nothing like Amazon or its cloud computing division Amazon Web Services. In fact, Zuora is a customer of AWS, where it hosts much of its data and operations, and some parts of Amazon even use Zuora's technology.
But there's a growing concern — or paranoia — across the technology landscape that Amazon is going to move up and down the software stack and take on everyone. As of December 2017, half of the enterprise software or cloud companies planning to go public in 2018 had listed Amazon or AWS as competitors.
Zuora does not reference Amazon as a competitor. The company names Oracle and SAP as rivals as well as "other niche systems, such as Amdocs Limited."
Tzuo said that on the roadshow investors wanted to know what Oracle and SAP were doing in the market and why other companies wouldn't just "want to bring it in-house." He said the Zuora story is pretty easy to explain and defend at this point because so much of the world is moving to subscriptions.
It's not just media and software businesses like Netflix, Spotify and Dropbox, but manufacturers, industrial companies, traditional retailers and utilities as well. Tzuo said that guitar maker Fender has become a big customer -- not because musicians are renting guitars, but because the company has created a subscription digital offering that helps people learn to play, keep their instruments tuned and provide a "whole experience of enjoying music."