13 November 2023 / Last updated: 13 Nov 2023

Balena Update

And just like that, in a blink of an eye, 8 months have passed and I'm only now sitting down to write an update on how balena is doing. It was never my intention to wait this long, but as co-CEO, I've been deeply immersed in guiding our team and shaping our future. 8 months is too long, though, so let's fix that.
In my last update I discussed organisational changes and our goal to steer balena towards profitability and stability. And I'm pleased to report that we achieved those aims. In fact we achieved profitability soon after that post, but wanted a few months of profitability before making any kind of public announcement to that effect. As any tech business leader in 2023 will attest, conditions are tough and customers are increasingly cautious with their budgets. So we wanted to continue to focus on reinforcing our financial and organisational stability, before communicating anything.
Financially balena is now in a strong position. We have maintained consistent profitability since Q1 2023 and have been using those profits to maintain a healthy cash balance and reinvest in the products and organisation. We've seen a very low rate of customers leaving balena, and the predominant reason for that churn has been smaller businesses struggling to capture market share. Balena is a business that other people build their business upon. And so it's unfortunate but expected that some of our customers find conditions tough and ultimately run out of runway.
What's great is that we see a robust expansion amongst a lot of our customers where they operate in expanding markets. The balenaCloud platform is now supporting almost 750,000 active edge devices each day. The rate of growth is stochastic as balena operates in many countries and verticals, each with their own market conditions. But as Kenna highlighted at the beginning of 2023 we've seen some customers adding thousands of devices per month, proving that when balena is the right solution for a customer's business, we're ready and able to grow together.
So, what's next for balena in this stable position? Our focus remains on stability over growth. As mentioned, balena is a business that other people build their business upon. And we take that responsibility very, very seriously. As co-CEOs our number one priority is to safeguard the livelihoods and happiness of the balena team. And as a company our priority is to extend that same focus to our customers, and their teams, and our customers' customers and teams. The number of people relying on balena maintaining a healthy, stable platform fans out very quickly, and that is not something that we as an organisation take lightly. With that firmly in our minds, any other strategy than continuing to pursue stability, reliability and security would be counter to our core values.
There is ongoing work to distil and publicly communicate the values and principles of balena, but there are a few that I want to touch upon now:


Hopefully you can see from this post that balena is a company that values transparency. We commit to becoming increasingly transparent in all of our interactions inside and outside of the company. While we protect confidential and legally sensitive information, everything else is openly communicated within the team and will soon be more visible externally, starting with the publication of our company handbook.


This one's hard to prove, since everyone is going to tell you that they are trustworthy. But when people and organisations interact with balena, we get consistent feedback about how straightforward and honest that interaction was. Whether it's in hiring, customer interactions, or board meetings, we're known for our candidness. We believe in clarity and honesty, especially when it comes to our platform's capabilities. We don't have sales people and nobody is incentivised to do anything other than the right thing for our customers.


As Konstantinos communicated recently, balena's mission statement is:
“Enable people to leverage technology to address the real world challenges of our time.”
The key words there are "enable people". We choose those words mindfully and purposefully, because we are an organisation that wants to enable rather than control. We aim for mutually beneficial outcomes, both internally and with our partners. We foster an environment where our team can make decisions, learn from mistakes, and pursue our mission autonomously.
As Alison, company friend and one of balena's board members, pointed out: growth is an element of stability. And so we're obviously not completely ignoring growing our customers or revenue. Part of our strategy is to find and engage with future partners, but only where we think the relationship would be positive-sum. Our ideal partnerships will be where our partners have customers that need edge device fleet management and our customers need something from them, such as hardware or services to deploy to devices.If any of that resonates with you or the business you work in, reach out and let's have a chat.
Watch this space for more updates. I'll try my best not to leave it another 8 months this time, and we'll catch up on how the strategy is going. I'm also keen to write some more about how we go about enabling people within the organisation without managers or hierarchy or departmental silos or KPIs. I'd imagine a few people are wondering how we ever get anything done. And a few more probably wonder why we feel the need to have three co-CEOs when most companies make do with one person. I'll be sure to dig into that, as well. Until then, take care and hit me up with any burning questions you may have.
Phil (mostly, but also Chris and Konstantinos)
by Phil WilsonCTO and co-CEO