Managed Services

Where Has Datto’s Dream Team Gone?

When Datto was sold to Kaseya in the summer of 2022, it marked the end of the Norwalk, Connecticut company's 15-year trajectory from a suburban basement to a global presence, 1,600 employees and a $6 billion valuation.

Datto's main business was backing up data and providing near-instant recovery, and it sold its products and services through managed service providers.

In 2017 private equity firm Vista Equity Partners acquired Datto and merged the company with PSA (professional services automation) provider Autotask.

Datto's Reputation and Legacy

Datto became legendary in the MSP industry for customer responsiveness, ease of use and generally being a pleasure to work with.

Central to that culture was founder and CEO Austin McChord, who famously started Datto at his father's house in Newtown, Connecticut in 2007 while he was still an undergraduate at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

McChord's voluntary exit from Datto in November 2018 didn't dent the company's image, as he handed off the reins to CFO Tim Weller. In July 2022, however, Datto's purchase by Kaseya caused a furor in the MSP industry, leading to long Reddit threads from angry Datto users.

McChord himself entered the fray with a blog post relaying complaints from Datto employees about poor morale under the new management and rumors of budget and benefits cutbacks.

"It feels like you just bought a leading football team and are in the process of breaking all the players' legs," McChord wrote. "This is not a winning strategy."

Datto's New Place as Part of Kaseya

Kaseya's management denied the details of McChord's blog post, calling it "false information" in an internal company email that quickly became public.

We don't know the details of what's taken place in the merged company since last summer, or how many former Datto customers have turned to other vendors. (Although ChannelE2E’s Vertical Market MSP research shows that 19% of the Top 100 Vertical Market MSPs named Kaseya or Datto as a top vendor that contributed to their success, ahead of the other MSP RMM/PSA platform providers.)

But two top Datto executives that Kaseya CEO Fred Voccola had promised to keep on, Senior Vice President of Business Development Rob Rae and CISO Ryan Weeks, both left within several months of the Kaseya acquisition.

Nevertheless, Kaseya has kept the annual DattoCon conference going, with this year's confab set for October 2-4 in Miami, Kaseya's home turf. There are likely many Datto employees who are still working for Kaseya, too.

But with the DattoCon annual event on the horizon, we thought we'd take a look at what where Datto's management team has resurfaced. Many are still working together outside of the company that they built.

"A life that is just Datto is not a life well lived," McChord told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle when he stepped down from the CEO role. It seems like many former Datto execs are nonetheless keeping the company's memory alive.

Datto Executives: Where Are They Now?

Austin McChord, Datto founder and Chief Executive Officer (2007-2018)

Datto Founder Austin McChord

McChord hasn't let the grass grow under his feet since his departure. In 2020, he set up his own venture-capital firm, Outsiders Fund, after spending a year as a venture partner with General Catalyst Partners. Back in 2013, General Catalyst gave Datto its first round of outside funding after McChord turned out what he said was a $100 million buyout offer from an unnamed security vendor.

Outsiders Fund also includes former Datto general counsel Michael Fass as a partner, and it's a primary investor in Cork, a cyber-warranty startup led by former Datto Chief Digital Officer Carlson Choi (more on that below).

Outsiders Fund has invested in Zorus, a DNS-filtering company founded by former Datto Director of Research and Development Greg Gage, who like McChord is an RIT alumnus.

McChord is a board member at Cork, Zorus and Shelf, a generative-AI firm in which Outsiders Fund is an investor. The fund's portfolio includes some 20 other companies.

Chief among Outsiders Fund's investments is Casana Care, a Rochester-based medical-monitoring-device company that McChord himself founded in 2020, and for which he currently serves as the CEO. (McChord studied bioinformatics at RIT.) Casana is developing a "smart" toilet seat that can be installed at home to remotely monitor a patient's heart rate, blood pressure and oxygenation and transmit the information to caregivers.

On the non-business side, McChord is a member of the RIT board of trustees, on the advisory board of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and the founder of the Norwalk Havoc Robot League.

Tim Weller, Datto Chief Financial Officer (2017-2019) and Chief Executive Officer (2019-2022)

When McChord left near the end of 2018, he tapped Tim Weller, then the company CFO, as his preferred choice to succeed him. After a brief executive search, the Datto board and primary ownership group Vista Equity Partners agreed.

Weller, a veteran of fintech firm Wonga and energy-intelligence provider Enel X, led Datto up until the Kaseya acquisition. We could not find any information on his activities after that point, and his LinkedIn page has not been updated since. It’s unclear if Weller has plans to resurface anytime soon.

Carlson Choi, Datto Chief Digital Officer (2021 - 2022)

Choi came to Datto from the food and toy industries. While he never worked directly under McChord at Datto, his new cyber warranty startup, Cork, has become the rendezvous point for former Datto executives. Datto founder McChord is on the Cork board and his Outsiders Fund is a primary backer; former Datto CISO Ryan Weeks and former Datto head of business development Rob Rae are advisors.

Cork's cyber warranty early access program hit capacity three weeks after its introduction. Cork is rolling out the full program in September 2023 to partners including PHC Technologies.

Emily Glass, Datto Chief Product Officer (2018-2020), Customer Experience Officer (2016-2018), VP Customer Experience (2015-2016), VP Training and Professional Services (2014-2015)

Emily Glass, CEO, Syncro

Glass joined Datto as part of the latter's acquisition of Backupify, spending eight years at both companies. She has since gone on to be COO of B2B gifting platform Alyce. Glass joined MSP RMM/PSA upstart Syncro in 2021 as CEO.

In 2022, Kaseya rivals including Syncro were prepping offers to Datto customers to encourage them to migrate to their alternative platforms. Syncro is known for its unified RMM/PSA platform, which simplifies operations for MSPs, in addition to its simplified flat pricing model.

.

Robert Gibbons, Datto Chief Technology Officer (2014-2019)

Robert Gibbons, CTO, NinjaOne

Gibbons came to Datto from SaaS marketing platform Pica9 and spent five years with Datto. He then became a board advisor at Bold Laser Automation before serving for two years as CTO at Casana Care, McChord's medical-device firm. Gibbons is now CTO at Datto/Kaseya competitor NinjaOne.

NinjaOne rolled out its Summer 2023 release in August. The new release includes better visibility into patching status and endpoint health and enhanced reporting capabilities on device information. The platform also now includes more robust automation tools.

Robert Petrocelli, Datto Chief Technology Officer (2019-2022)

Gibbons' successor as CTO, Oracle veteran Petrocelli Datto left as expected after the Kaseya sale. He has gone on to be CTO at Canadian healthcare company Intelerad Medical Systems and is now CTO at online-education firm Pluralsight, which is owned by former Datto owner Vista Equity Partners.

Rob Rae, Datto Senior Vice President of Business Development (2013-2022)

Rob Rae, CVP, Community & Ecosystems, Pax8

Datto long-timer Rae – considered the top Channel Super Connector -- was supposed to stay on after the Kaseya acquisition but left after three months. Rae is now Corporate Vice President of Community and Ecosystems at MSP cloud marketplace Pax8, sits on the CompTIA board of directors, and serves as an advisory board member at both MSP-focused email service provider GlassHive and at Cork, the cyberwarranty firm in which McChord's Outsiders Fund has invested.

Rae was instrumental in the success of the inaugural Pax8 Beyond conference in Colorado this June where the company introduced the next generation of features for its cloud distribution marketplace.

Ryan Weeks, Datto Chief Information Security Officer (2017-2023)

Ryan Weeks, Content Advisor, Right of Boom

Weeks joined Datto from FactSet Research Systems, a Norwalk financial-data company where worked his way up through the ranks. As with Rae, Kaseya CEO Fred Voccola had said that Weeks would stay on after the acquisition, but Weeks left in February 2023. Since the Kaseya buyout, Weeks has become a partner and content advisor at MSP/MSSP training and event company, Right of Boom, and is also an advisor at Cork.

.

Paul Wagenseil

Paul Wagenseil is a custom content strategist for CyberRisk Alliance, leading creation of content developed from CRA research and aligned to the most critical topics of interest for the cybersecurity community. He previously held editor roles focused on the security market at Tom’s Guide, Laptop Magazine, TechNewsDaily.com and SecurityNewsDaily.com.