Stories from the Climb

The Jamf Journey: From Bootstrapped to IPO

Jamf – the standard in Apple enterprise management – completed its initial public offering in July 2020, a significant milestone in a growth journey that began in 2002. Summit built a relationship with the Jamf team over the course of several years and completed its first investment in the company in 2013. We have been proud, active supporters of the team in the seven years since. The timeline below follows Jamf’s journey – from its bootstrapped founding to its 2020 IPO.

Zach Halmstad founded Jamf in 2002, driven by his experience as a student and IT professional at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. There, he noted the absence of technologies to manage hundreds of Mac computers and knew he could solve the problem for universities and any organization utilizing Mac devices. In 2003, he was joined by Chip Pearson and together they built Jamf with a mission to help organizations of all sizes to succeed with the Apple platform. As former Apple systems administrators and devout Apple users, they understood well both the challenges and opportunities of the Apple environment and focused their new business on providing products centered around the user experience.

Summit partnered with the Jamf team in 2013 as the company’s lead investor and invested again in 2016. Over the course of the last seven years, we’ve collaborated closely with the Jamf team to help accelerate the company’s growth, including scaling the organization with key c-level hires, facilitating key strategic partnerships, providing strategic and analytical support as the company transitioned to a recurring revenue business model, and supporting the development and introduction of Jamf Now. (More on that here)

The timeline below follows the Jamf Journey from its roots in Eau Claire, Wisconsin to its Nasdaq IPO in July 2020.

Jamf 2020: By the Numbers

Annual recurring revenue
Net retention rate

Founding: Bootstrapping Around the Mac

From Jamf’s earliest days, Zach and Chip were obsessive about meeting the needs of the Apple community. Long before the iPhone, iPad and iOS, Jamf was singularly focused on finding ways to make it easier for organizations and IT professionals to manage Apple devices. The company stayed lean in these early years, serving a small but very dedicated base of Apple customers, primarily in the education and creative markets.

2002: Jamf founded

2002: First product, the Casper Suite (now known as Jamf PRO), is lauched.

2003: 2,500 Mac computers managed on the Casper Suite¹.

2007: Apple introduces the iPhone and launches iOS.

2007: Jamf hires first full-time employees and reaches $1M in revenues¹.

Building for Scale: Accelerating Around the Apple Ecosystem

Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007 and with it, iOS, which was soon to become the most important new operating system since Windows. In 2010, the first iPad hit the market. In a few short years, Apple transformed the consumer mobile device market through its focus on creating an ecosystem of connected devices and a superior user experience. Apple users were passionate; in growing numbers and with cultish enthusiasm, Apple-loving students, educators and employees pulled their institutions and organizations into the Apple ecosystem. Jamf helped enable this revolution, allowing IT administrators to meet the demands of their organizations, while delivering the experience users had come to expect of their Apple devices. With a solution purpose-built to address the specific needs of the Apple systems administrator, Jamf began to build on its momentum in education and gained significant traction in the enterprise market.

2009: 7 million Mac computers operate in the enterprise worldwide¹.

2009: 20+ million iPhone units sold¹.

2010: Apple launches the iPad.

2010: First Jamf Nation User Conference (JNUC).

2012: Jamf Nation launches.

Growth to IPO: Accelerating Around Apple as a Platform

With 250+ employees by 2013, Jamf had grown its footprint substantially, serving more than 4,000 customers worldwide – including 34 of the Fortune 100, nine of the world’s top 10 universities – and managing more than 2.8 million Apple devices.

Apple’s continued success in the enterprise created new growth opportunities for Jamf, and Zach and Chip began seeking a capital partner to help rapidly scale the business to meet growing demand. With an ambition to build a company that would stand the test of time, Jamf’s founders sought Summit’s support in a range of areas. They specifically sought help recruiting a CEO who could scale the business many levels larger, filling other key holes on the executive team, evolving go-to-market strategies, and launching new products with new business models.

2013: Jamf generates $35M+ in revenues and raises first significant institutional capital led by Summit Partners.

2013: First international office opens in Amsterdam.

2014: CFO Jill Putman joins. Jamf Cloud launches.

2015: Executive leadership team expands with the addition of CEO Dean Hager, CRO John Strosahl (now COO) and CMO Dave Alampi. Jamf NOW launches.

2016: Summit Partners completes follow-on investment.

2017: Completes majority recapitalization with Vista Equity Partners.

2018-19: Product expansion. Jamf Connect, Jamf School and Jamf Protect launch.

2020: Jamf completes IPO (NASDAQ: JAMF) on July 22.

Growth Timeline

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Cae Keys

“Jamf bootstrapped its way to scale, spending its early years disregarding conventional wisdom and focusing on the needs of an ignored population: Apple administrators. The struggles and experiences of those years forged an enduring value system that laid the foundation for Jamf Nation and served as the backbone for the company’s phenomenal growth.”


Managing Director, Summit Partners

Jamf 2020: By the Numbers

Annual recurring revenue
Net retention rate
“Summit is a true partner in every sense of the word, and Jamf has benefited enormously from Summit’s wealth of knowledge, extensive network, and a culture that encouraged our relentless focus on customer loyalty and employee engagement. They also do real work in areas where we need leverage – they don’t just talk; they are a force multiplier for our team. Our partnership with Summit has been instrumental in making Jamf the success that it is today.”
Dean Hager, CEO, Jamf

Related Experience


2003: 2,500 Mac computers managed on the Casper Suite (source: Forbes)

2007: Jamf hires first full-time employees and reaches $1M in revenues (source: Forbes)

2009: 7 million Mac computers operate in the enterprise worldwide (source: Gartner)

2009: 20+ million iPhone units sold (source: Statista)

2013: Jamf generates $35M+ in revenues (source: Forbes)

Stories from the Climb

At Summit, it’s the stories that inspire us – the problems being solved and the different paths each team takes to grow a business. Stories from the Climb is a series dedicated to celebrating and sharing the challenges of building a growth company. For more Stories and other Summit perspectives, please visit our Growth Company Resource Center.

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