MSP automation software provider Liongard has raised $4.5 million in Series A funding from several companies and managed IT services industry pioneers -- including such names as TDF Ventures and Rackspace Founder Richard Yoo. The company previously raised $1.25 million in seed funding in 2018.
Liongard's automated system discovery and documentation software allows MSPs to gather data from endpoints, network devices, on-premises and cloud applications. The overall goal, according to CEO Joe Alapat: "Support MSPs across the entire client journey – automating onboarding, documentation, and insight that speeds up issue resolution - unleashing teams to operate at 10X.”
The company's software is particularly important at a time when many MSPs have failed to automate beyond traditional PSA (professional services automation), RMM (remote monitoring and management), backup and security tools.
Liongard's message is catching on in the market. More than 300 MSPs already run Liongard's platform, and the march toward 500 MSPs is accelerating quickly, Alapat told ChannelE2E during a May 30 interview.
Liongard Attracts MSP-Centric Investors, Talent
Amid that rapid growth, Liongard spent recent months meeting with a range of potential investors. In addition to pitching Liongard's business, Alapat spent considerable time listening to potential investors -- making sure they were all-in on Liongard's MSP-centric focus. That commitment to listening assured alignment between the company and its investors -- thereby mitigating risk that outside influencers would attempt to shift the company's focus toward corporate IT departments and enterprises.
For the Series A round, TDF Ventures led the funding with participation from existing investors Integr8d Capital, Gestalt Theory Venture Partners, Richard Yoo and others.
TDF Ventures has a strong reputation in the "as-a-service" market -- investing heavily in SaaS-centric business process automation companies, among other areas. In a prepared statement, Jim Pastoriza, managing partner of TDF Ventures, said:
“Liongard is in a strategic and unique position to disrupt the way MSPs operate and manage IT for their clients. We’re looking forward to a partnership with a great team building a product that will revolutionize the MSP industry.”
Also of major note: Richard Yoo is the founder of Rackspace Managed Hosting -- one of the most successful cloud-centric MSPs on the planet. Moreover, Rackspace is known for a strong staff culture and fanatical customer support.
Poke around the halls of Liongard, and you'll see MSP-centric software talent on hand as well. Chief Revenue Officer Adam Slutskin and VP of Marketing Mark Sokol previously played key roles at ConnectWise, which Thoma Bravo acquired for about $1.5 billion in February 2019.
Liongard: Past, Present Future of MSP Automation
During our call yesterday, ChannelE2EW and Liongard CEO Joe Alapat touched on a range of topics. Here's a sampling of the conversation, paraphrased for key takeaways:
ChannelE2E: How many MSPs, roughly, does Liongard currently support?
Alapat: Liongard is north of 300 and we're approaching 500 pretty quickly. The awareness of our brand has really turned the corner. Adam has really been putting the right machine in place for such awareness and growth.
ChannelE2E: In terms of how you’ll leverage the funding, are there specific positions or departments in the company that you’re looking to build out this year?
Alapat: The commitment includes building a Rackspace-like Fanatical Support culture. Liongard is fixated on partner needs. New hires across sales, product development and more will focus on such areas as onboarding support, account management, and other areas that deliver a great experience to MSPs.
ChannelE2E: What's your current headcount and how will that grow by the end of 2019?
Alapat: We always want to be as efficient as we can. And that includes our own staffing plans. We have 24 people -- whom we refer to as teammates. We'll be approaching 40 teammates or so by January 2020. Our plan with TDF ensures that we'll align our headcount with our business needs during each step of the journey. As we move toward 2020, it's all about giving MSPs more visibility, and more integrations to third-party platforms to gain that visibility.
Side-note: Liongard and Documentation Software? We also discussed whether Liongard plans to compete head-on against MSP documentation platforms like IT Glue (now owned by Kaseya), Passportal (recently acquired by SolarWinds), IT Boost and other options. Here, Alapat really emphasized Liongard's focus on automation -- and a mission to help MSPs operate at 10X their previous performance.
Liongard is seeking to integrate with existing documentation platforms and is not out to replicate what's already in the market from third-party companies, Alapat says. Numerous integrations with all types of MSP tools are already in place or coming soon.
At some point, ChannelE2E believes, we may see some overlap between Liongard and existing MSP documentation platforms. But that's my speculation. And it's clear that Liongard's more pressing priority is to help MSPs drive 10X performance across a range of manual processes that can be automated.