TubbTalk #48 – Acquisitions and Building an Open MSP Platform

Tubbtalk 48 - Fred Voccola of Kaseya

Richard speaks to Fred Voccola, CEO of Kaseya, an IT management and software solutions platform.

An Interview with Fred Voccola

How Kaseya Started

Tubbtalk 48 - Fred Voccola of Kaseya

Fred explains that Kaseya started out to help resellers who were struggling to build their businesses from selling products and software such as Dell and Microsoft. Founder Gerald Blackie knew that those business owners needed to find other ways of providing value to customers.

As the operating system and the hardware became more complex, it required a lot more support, and the complexity of the applications was overwhelming small businesses who were repeatedly asking for help for the same problem.

Gerald’s solution was to offer the support companies the automation within Kaseya to remotely monitor and man manage systems without the need to send a technician for every problem. He also recommended charging a monthly fee for the service.

How Fred Helped Kaseya Back to Success

Fred admits that when Kaseya were bought out by Insight Venture Partners the executive team made the wrong decision to focus on larger, enterprise companies. At that time, 10 years ago, they were supporting around 10,000 MSPs (managed service providers) and it seemed like a good idea to expand the business.

Fred says this bad decision caused them to take their MSP customer base for granted and they lost their way. MSPs are small business owners and every penny counts for them. Shifting the focus alienated the core customers, who felt dismissed.

‘MSPs are small business owners. For them, every decision is personal. That’s why Kaseya supports them.

'MSPs are small business owners. For them, every decision is personal. That’s why Kaseya supports them.' Fred Voccola, CEO @KaseyaCorp Click to Tweet

He adds: “When I came on board, I recognised that was the place where Kaseya had been and that’s where they’re good. We went back to figuring out how to help MSPs make money and grow their business.”

The Kaseya Model for Acquisitions

In recent years Kaseya has acquired a number of security, backup and PSA (professional services automation) companies which were already successful in their marketplace. Fred explains how Kaseya introduces acquired businesses to their customers.

The first thing is not to announce the acquisition straight away, so they have time to integrate it fully with Kaseya’s systems. Fred says that they wait until the products are working together so people can use them straight away, rather than announcing the acquisition immediately then making people wait months to use the tool.

‘There’s nothing worse than a vendor who buys a company & says great things about it but customers have to wait months to use it.’ Fred Voccola @KaseyaCorp Click to Tweet

They also do not rebrand an acquired company to Kaseya and just take the product or technology. The CEO of the company remains in place with his or her team and they don’t put a management team in above the CEO. They give the company capital to remain independent, although they do provide back-office integration to make things like HR and finance easier.

‘To grow your MSP company, move from looking after computers to business management and provide more value to customers’. Fred Voccola @KaseyaCorp Click to Tweet

Why MSPs should Offer BDR

BDR (back-up disaster recovery) is big part of Kaseya’s business – they offer a full suite of BDR solutions – and it’s second only to security and growth for the MSP space. Fred says that it’s a huge opportunity for MSPs:

“Most industries around the world are digitising and they’re all about data one way or the other. As that comes into the small to midsize business, which are the customers of our customers, it’s no different there.”

‘Most industries around the world are digitising and they're all about data, the second most important asset an SME has, after its people.’ Fred Voccola @KaseyaCorp Click to Tweet

If a business is hit by ransomware, there are immediately security concerns, and if they don’t have a good backup or recovery solution, they’re in trouble. There are also compliance and business continuity issues, because they need to protect customer data and ensure things keep running.

Fred says that many companies invest in the front end to make sure data quality is good, but they should be investing in the backend to protect data instead. For MSPs to grow, they should move from ‘looking after computers’ to helping manage the business.

‘The most important skill a successful CEO should have is empathy, the pains their customers go through and knowing what they want for their future.’ Fred Voccola Click to Tweet

He says that BDR is like insurance – hopefully never used, but essential to have. It can be expensive and labour intensive, so Kaseya’s solution integrates the software and technology into the MSP’s RMM and technicians aren’t required to learn how to use new tools.

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