MSP Merger Update: Kite, AIS Pursue Insurance Agency Vertical
When Kite Technology Group (KiteTech) and AIS Technology confirmed their MSP merger, ChannelE2E reached out for more details about the deal. Kite Founder Jeff Kite, CEO Greg DiDio and Executive VP Nick Oliver (formerly president of AIS) replied back with the following thoughts.
The deal, as ChannelE2E previously reported, blends two MSPs with deep insurance agency expertise. In fact, the two MSPs (now united under the Kite brand) have known about each other for more than a decade.
Nick Oliver and Jeff Kite first met back in 2002 at an insurance agency management systems national conference. A mutual respect and friendship grew from there. Their paths have crossed numerous times at various agency operations events since that time, the leaders say.
Why KiteTech and AIS Merged
Very informal M&A discussions emerged in September 2015, but true M&A discussions began in earnest around September 2016, the leaders indicate. The two companies noticed that they had a “similar strategy for approaching the national insurance agency market. Both companies endeavored to be the premier IT provider in the nation focused on independent insurance agencies. A high-touch, engaging approach to customer service was also common to both companies. Both companies also have staff with deep knowledge of insurance agency systems and operations.”
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Amid the discussions, the two companies “quickly recognized” that they brought “complementary strengths to the table.” For instance:
- KiteTech brings operational maturity and a proven ability to scale its operations to serve a rapidly growing client base (though admittedly, ChannelE2E doesn’t have a feel for the company’s overall customer reach). Also, KiteTech’s growth has been primarily in the mid-Atlantic region.
- In contrast, AIS has a national reputation among insurance agencies and a remote service offering that surpasses agency expectations, the company claims. That has enabled AIS to capably serve agencies in 22 states from its Wisconsin office.
The resulting merger became official on January 2, 2017. The combined company has 26 employees. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Kite Technology Group: 2017 Priorities
Looking ahead, Kite’s top near-term priorities include integrating various operations (service management, engineering, and accounting) in a manner that best serves current customers. Also, the company will begin to publicize its “unique IT services” to insurance agencies nationwide.
“It is unique because we are experts in both OUR business and THEIR business,” the executives say. “On the one hand, we have become experts in the MSP business by working with some of the brightest minds in the IT services channel. Through our relationships with organizations such as HTG and ConnectWise, we have embraced MSP best practices. On the other hand, we are experts in THEIR business. We have talented staff throughout our organization who have performed virtually all the key roles in an insurance agency including sales, customer service, supervision and accounting.”
The KiteTech-AIS deal appears to be the first MSP merger of 2017 but plenty more are expected as IT service providers seek to align their regional and vertical expertise with one another.
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