Datto CEO Austin McChord Donates $50M to RIT

Datto CEO Austin McChord has donated $50 million to his alma mater, Rochester Institute of Technology. RIT will use the donation to drive creativity and entrepreneurship, and cybersecurity.

McChord has maintained close ties with RIT and the Rochester, New York, region since graduating from the college in 2009. He's now an RIT trustee, and Datto since 2014 has maintained a branch office in Rochester that has grown to more than 200 employees.

McChord, was inspired to make the donation by former RIT President Bill Destler, with whom he has developed a friendship, according to the college. Destler along with RIT President David Munson and RIT Trustees Chair Christine Whitman praised the donation, stating that it allows every RIT student to get involved and create things that never before existed.

Empowering Future Entrepreneurs

“My goal with this gift is two-fold,” said McChord, in a prepared statement. “First is to help make more resources available to students, alumni and the community at-large to create, build and innovate for the future. But it’s also to help recognize those who helped you along the way. My success today would not have been possible without my time at RIT.”

McChord's donation is earmarked for two areas:

  • $30 million to foster creativity and entrepreneurship at RIT, including $17.5 million to launch the Maker Library & Innovative Learning Complex of the Future. Additional funding will go toward purchasing equipment and endowing faculty positions and student scholarships, including new “Entrepreneurial Gap Year” fellowships to help students advance their concepts into businesses, the college said.
  • $20 million to advance RIT’s cybersecurity and artificial intelligence capabilities. This funding will be used to expand facilities, as well as to establish endowments to attract and retain exceptional faculty and graduate students, primarily in the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, RIT said.

McChord and Datto: The Journey

McChord founded Datto in 2007, initially focusing on MSP-centric backup and disaster recovery (BDR) services. More recently, Datto has evolved to focus on total data protection. Organic growth and venture funding in 2015 pushed the company's valuation above $1 billion. Through M&A, the company acquired MSP-centric WiFi networking in early 2017.

Most recently, Vista Equity acquired Datto for an undisclosed sum -- though the company aparently attracted buyout bids of at least $1.3 billion, according to 451 Research. Datto merged with Autotask as part of the deal. McChord now leads the combined company under Datto's moniker. He apparently owned more than 50 percent of Datto at the time of the company sale, and he still has a key stake in the company, sources have indicated.

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.