Monday, April 1, 2013

ConnectWise Capital’s CharTec Investment: Two Hidden Benefits

ConnectWise Capital's CharTec Investment: Two Hidden Benefits

alex_rogers_chartecConnectWise Capital has longstanding investments in LabTech Software, Quosal and CharTec. The first two investments are easily explained — just check out the ModernOffice Suite strategy. But what exactly has ConnectWise been up to with CharTec CEO Alex Rogers since 2010, and what is the ongoing upside for MSPs and VARs? I've got a few hunches based on a recent trip out to CharTec's Bakersfield, Calif., offices. Here's the update.

When ConnectWise Capital invested in CharTec in 2010, the deal seemed to involve:

  1. A hardware as a service (HaaS) play: CharTec CEO Alex Rogers is an expert on bundling hardware with managed services deals.
  2. A potential backup and disaster recovery (BDR) strategy: CharTec builds BDR appliances to largely counter Zenith Infotech.
  3. A potential counter to Dell in the channel: CharTec builds custom systems for MSPs.

All three of those synergies quietly remain in place. But I found two other potential benefits to the ConnectWise-CharTec relationship during my recent trip to California. They include:

  1. Market Training for the ConnectWise Crowd: Through CharTec's Service Operations Academy, Rogers and his team promote a range of sales, marketing and business development training. Some of the curriculum involves tips for making the most out of ConnectWise, LabTech and Quosal. While Rogers doesn't lead the conversation with a software pitch, he makes it clear that MSPs need to automate through PSA, RMM and sales quoting capabilities.
  2. A Potential Incubator Role: A lot of small software ISVs show up at CharTec's events. Those ISVs typically promote niche tools that integrate with ConnectWise. Though it hasn't happened to date, I can imagine a scenario where CharTec spots a potential investment opportunity for ConnectWise Capital.

In many ways, CharTec is quite different from ConnectWise Capital's LabTech and Quosal investments. Both LabTech and Quosal bring software intellectual property to the table. CharTec, in stark contrast, seems to be a horse of a different color. Or as Rogers might put it: A zebra with different stripes.

Anecdotal evidence suggests CharTec remains in growth mode. The company has landed on the Inc. 5000 and MSPmentor 501 lists is recent years. And CharTec's growth means the organization is having success training ConnectWise, LabTech and Quosal partners that want to growth their respective businesses.

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