Mission, a ChannelE2E Top 100 Public Cloud MSP and a key Amazon Web Services partner, has raised an additional $15 million in private equity funding from Great Hill Partners, a private equity firm that's particularly active in the managed services provider (MSP) market.
Mission, based in Los Angeles, California with offices in Boston, Massachusetts, was formed via a merger of Advanced Consulting Partners Reliam, Stratalux, and G2 Tech Group in 2018. The resulting business strategy is captured in this video:Video link
Mission's MSP services address customers' AWS, DevOps, Security and APM (application performance monitoring) needs -- four areas where most traditional MSPs have been late or missing from the market.
The new funding will fuel Missions' organic growth through 2020, and a march toward becoming cash flow positive within the next year, CEO Simon Anderson tells ChannelE2E.
Mission Funding: CEO Simon Anderson's Perspectives
In a May 28 phone interview about the funding, ChannelE2E and Anderson touched on a range of topics. Here's a paraphrased summary of the conversation:
1. On Mission's Growth and Automation: The company's current headcount is just under about 90 people. The new funding will help to expand headcount to about 110 people or so. The leadership team is largely in place, with new recruits targeted for mid-level management (VP and director-level) positions. A heavy focus on automation has ensured Mission's headcount needs don't outpace the company's revenue pipeline.
2. On betting purely on AWS, rather than a multi-cloud focus that includes Azure and Google Cloud Platform: The company's customer acquisition engine is working really well. The single focus on AWS has allowed Mission to align strongly with Amazon's near- and long-term priorities, along with customers' vertical market needs on the platform. In contrast, sales, marketing and business development across a multi-cloud strategy can be more difficult. Also, Mission focuses on the high end of small business and the midmarket -- whereas enterprise customers often find themselves in multi-cloud environments for a range of reasons.
3. On potential multi-cloud moves: If Mission ever considered a multi-cloud approach, it would likely involve micro services stretched across Google, Azure and AWS. But again, Mission is all-in on AWS and multi-cloud was not a big piece of our conversation.
4. On regional vs. international focus: Mission is deliberately focused on U.S. market verticals like media, entertainment and gaming (among others) and the company is not looking to venture beyond U.S. borders. The reason: The U.S. cloud market's needs are largely homogeneous -- whereas foreign markets (EMEA, Asia Pacific, etc.) are highly fragmented from country to country, with specific heterogeneous needs.
5. On potential acquisitions & profitability: The latest funding round is designed to support organic growth -- and a path to becoming cash flow positive in about a year's time. Still, the company is always actively looking and listening for potential acquisitions. Ideal tuck-ins would likely involve specific technology expertise (hypothetical examples: containers, serverless, IoT) rather than generic managed cloud services revenue.
6. On application performance monitoring (APM): This is one of Mission's key managed services. Instead of managing and monitoring a specific line of business application (for instance, Oracle or SAP), Mission typically monitors web commerce applications to ensure the end-user experience remains optimized. New Relic is a key partner in this area, and Mission is also familiar with APM upstarts like Datadog.
Mission Funding: Who Is Great Hill Partners?
The new funding round builds upon previous financial commitments from Great Hill Partners. The Boston-based PE firm previously committed $75 million to spark Mission's birth from multiple acquired companies. To date, approximately $40 million of that capital has been invested, the company says.
In a prepared statement about the latest funding, Great Hill Partners Principal Drew Loucks added:
“Mission continues to prove itself as an exceptionally capable provider of managed cloud services. The company has really made its mark in a rapidly growing market, with enterprises across verticals eager to realize the tremendous benefits of migrating to the cloud and harnessing all that AWS has to offer. Mission has also been effective at bringing in the right expertise required to make their customer engagements so successful, and our additional investment will ensure accelerated growth throughout this year and next.”
Great Hill Partners has managed multiple investments and transactions in the MSP and CSP markets. For instance, the company owns Evolve IP, a fast-growth CSP in Wayne, Pa. And earlier Great Hill owned and then sold Ascenty to Digital Realty for $1.8 billion.
More Cloud MSPs Gain Funding
Multiple MSPs focused on AWS and public cloud services have raised funding in recent months. Examples include:
- April 2019: Dell Technologies Capital invested in Faction, an MSP that supports VMware Cloud on AWS. The total round, including additional investors, was $14 million.
- May 2017: Claranet, a multi-cloud MSP, received a US$103 million (£80 million) minority stake investment from Tikehau Capital, an asset management and investment group.
ChannelE2E has covered numerous AWS, Azure and Google cloud partner buyouts as well.