Channel partner events, MSP, Content

ConnectWise, Kaseya Co-Founders: Together At Last…

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Kaseya Co-Founder Gerald Blackie
Kaseya Co-Founder Gerald Blackie
ConnectWise Founder Arnie Bellini

ConnectWise Co-Founder Arnie Bellini and Kaseya Co-Founder Gerald Blackie are confirmed to share the spotlight during a main-stage session at IT Nation Connect 2019 on October 31 in Orlando, Florida.

The duo will join MSP industry pioneers Laurie Benson and Arlin Sorensen and to discus what it was like to be a trailblazer in the MSP industry, share personal experiences and stories and provide their insight on what the future holds for IT Nation Connect attendees. The panel is the brainchild of current ConnectWise CEO Jason Magee. Disclosure: I'm confirmed to moderate the conversation.

Arnie Bellini and Gerald Blackie: Competitive History

Bellini and Blackie are two of the MSP software industry's founding fathers. Long before the rise of cloud and software subscription services, Bellini and Blackie each spotted the opportunity to help IT consulting firms automate their own businesses, remotely manage customer infrastructure, and shift from project break-fix revenues toward predictable monthly recurring revenue.

Conference Information: IT Nation Connect 2019

During the early days of the MSP software market, Bellini and Blackie partnered and occasionally feuded with one another while leading their respective companies. Their initial flagship products -- ConnectWise PSA and Kaseya VSA -- eventually integrated with each other, giving MSPs new ways to automate help desks, PC and server management.

But by 2010 or so, ConnectWise and Kaseya also started to compete with each other. Bellini and Blackie began to build out complete MSP software suites through organic software development coupled with mergers and acquisitions.

Blackie ultimately stepped down as Kaseya's CEO when Insight Partners acquired the IT management software provider in 2013. Bellini stepped down as ConnectWise's CEO when Thoma Bravo acquired the company in early 2019.

Stay tuned for what they plan to cover during the panel.

Benson, Sorensen: Industry Pioneers Weigh In

Early stage software companies, of course, can't stand on their own. They need credible sales pipelines. Early adopters. And futurists who are willing to bet their careers on potential market trends before they go mainstream. That's where panelists Laurie Benson and Arlin Sorensen enter the picture.

Arlin Sorensen, VP of ecosystem evangelism, ConnectWise
Laurie Benson

Benson is an IT channel pioneer. Her journey building, running and exiting an IT solutions provider provides important lessons for MSPs amid the current merger and acquisition (M&A) frenzy. Indeed, Benson grew Inacom Information Systems to $80 million in annual revenue and 150 employees before selling the systems integrator to Core BTS in 2009.

Benson's expertise extends far beyond the IT channel. She has served as a director on seven corporate boards, formed LSB Unlimited to consult with business leaders, and is now executive director of Nurses on Boards Coalition, a Milwaukee media site notes.

Meanwhile, Sorensen is known for building, owning and shaping multiple IT solutions providers -- within the traditional technology market and in vertical sectors such as agriculture. He also led HTG Peer Groups, an organization that allowed MSP owners to compare business, financial and technical best practices. ConnectWise acquired HTG in 2018 and tucked it into the overall IT Nation community strategy.

Bellini. Benson. Blackie. Sorensen. I look forward to their panel insights at IT Nation Connect 2019. PS: If you have questions or viewpoints you'd like me to raise during the panel, please email me your thoughts: [email protected].

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.