Content, Channel partners, MSP

ConnectWise Tech Tank Developer Contest Offers $100,000 Bounty for Innovative Software Integrations

Craig Fulton, chief customer officer, ConnectWise
ConnectWise's Craig Fulton

Call it an open call for innovative software partners. ConnectWise has launched Tech Tank, a contest to attract innovative ISVs (independent software vendors) into the company's technology solutions provider & MSP ecosystem.

More than 200 companies already officially integrate with ConnectWise's suite of IT management and business automation software. Hundreds more have built integrations without officially working with the Tampa-based software company, Chief Product Officer Craig Fulton estimates.

CEO Arnie Bellini hinted in November 2017 that programs like Tech Tank were on the way. During his IT Nation 2017 keynote, he vowed to build an investment fund of $10 million or more. The clear goal: Incubate startups that build applications within and across the ConnectWise ecosystem, thereby strengthening partners with more automation options. And of course, the effort would increase ConnectWise's overall gravitational pull in the MSP and TSP partner universe. A potential additional goal: Eventually transform ConnectWise Marketplace -- an online library with partner offerings -- into a full-blown app store over time, ChannelE2E suspects.

Tech Tank Call for Entries

Now, along comes Tech Tank. Beginning today, ConnectWise is accepting software integration proofs of concept submissions. The winning concept will receive up to $100,000 to transform the idea into a working integration, the company says. The integrations must work with the ConnectWise Manage, Automate or Control software platforms. Proposed integrations must use ConnectWise’s open APIs and SDKs.

Entries will be accepted through April 30. The proofs of concept will be evaluated on their innovation, business potential, user experience, and best use of ConnectWise APIs and SDKs, the company says. Scoring will be a combination of ConnectWise partner votes that are cast at ConnectWise's Automation Nation 2018 conference in June, and scores from a team of ConnectWise judges.

The winning entry, which will be announced during an Automation Nation keynote on June 19, will receive up to $100,000 to put toward moving from proof of concept to a working integration. Second place will receive up to $50,000 and third place will receive up to $25,000, the company says.

MSPs Building Applications

On the one hand, the winning entries could come from a pure software background. But on the other hand, ConnectWise suspects it will see entries from MSPs that are piecing together applications and/or spinning off independent software companies.

ConnectWise, after all, spun out from an IT services provider more than two decades ago. As did LabTech Software, an RMM software provider that attracted ConnectWise's investment dollars in 2010. LabTech has since been fully acquired and rebranded as ConnectWise Automate.

Plenty of additional MSP software companies -- including names like BrightGaugeIT Glue and Passportal -- were launched by MSP veterans. And we've covered dozens of additional MSP business spin-outs and offshoots over the years.

Which upstarts or market outliers haven't we spotted yet? Perhaps the Tech Tank contest will reveal the answer.

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.