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Pax8’s Marketplace Vision: Providing Customer Prospects to MSPs

Rob Rae at Pax8 Beyond 2023

Pax8 has announced the next evolution of its cloud distribution marketplace -- a system to match prospective managed services customers with MSPs. The evolved platform will become available by invitation only to a select group of managed services partners in the next six months and roll out to the rest of the company’s partners over the next year.

Pax8 made the announcement during a keynote at its first Pax8 Beyond event in Denver today. The event, which was led off by corporate vice president and “channel super connector” Rob Rae on Monday, attracted 86 vendor sponsors and more than 1,100 partner attendees -- a sold out crowd. Canalys chief analyst Jay McBain called it the biggest inaugural event he’s ever seen in the IT channel, and he’s been to 218 of them.

Pax8’s Next Generation Marketplace

The next generation of the Pax8 marketplace will acquire end-customers via its vendor partners. Here’s how that works. SaaS vendors typically have contact forms on their websites to capture information from potential direct SMB end-customers. But it’s not normally cost-effective for vendors to work directly with SMBs. Pax8 will work with vendors to replace those fill forms with a “Buy Now” button that will enable Pax8 to collect customer information. Then, an AI-driven matching system on the back end will match customer buyers to MSPs. Both customers and MSPs will have the ability to swipe left or right to choose or reject a potential match.

“Cloud marketplaces today are really nothing more than product catalogs,” said Pax8 chief technology officer Scott Chasin. “But our partners don’t sell products. They sell solutions.”

That led the team at Pax8 to reimagine these kinds of cloud catalogs, leveraging the data in them to understand trends in the market and around customer technology stacks. For instance, Chasin said, a dashboard could show MSPs the gaps that their customers have in cybersecurity and what vendor solutions could potentially fill those gaps.

The Next Gen Entrepreneurs and SMBs

Chasin said that Pax8 sees this next generation of customers going directly to the vendor to purchase SaaS products. That cuts out the MSP. Indeed, a CompTIA survey from earlier this year cites one of the top fears of MSPs as customers going direct to vendors.

“We want to take the customers from the vendor database and put them into the MSP prospects database,” Chasin said. “It’s a win for the vendor and a massive opportunity for the partner.”

Pax8 CEO John Street answers questions at a press conference
Pax8 CEO John Street answers questions at a press conference

Pax8 CEO John Street said in a press conference on Sunday that there’s a cost to vendors for not only onboarding but also servicing new customers. The MSPs are in a position to consolidate procurement of these products.  Pax8 enables vendors to more easily do business with the SMB portion of the market.

Ryan Walsh, channel chief and chief strategy officer at Pax8 said during the press conference that the differentiator for Pax8 is the community, including the company’s academy educational opportunities as well as its peer group organization.

“The marketplace is the first part of the journey,” Walsh said. “The community is the second part of the journey.”

Jessica C. Davis

Jessica C. Davis has spent a career as a journalist and editor covering the business of technology including chips, software, the cloud, AI, and cybersecurity. She previously served as editor in chief of Channel Insider and later of MSP Mentor (now part of Channel Futures). She was a key editor in the original MSP 501 list. She now serves as editorial director for CyberRisk Alliance’s channel brands, MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E.