Business continuity, Mergers and Acquisitions, Mergers and Acquisitions, MSP, Storage

StorageCraft’s New Majority Owner: Who Is TA Associates?

Matt Medeiros
New StorageCraft CEO Matt Medeiros comes from Dell SonicWall

When TA Associates invested $187 million into StorageCraft this week, the private equity firm essentially gained majority ownership of the storage company, ChannelE2E has confirmed. But who exactly is TA Associates?

The short answer goes something like this: TA Associates is one of the world's largest growth-focused private equity firms. The company has invested in more than 450 businesses and raised $24 billion in capital. StorageCraft, meanwhile, is a fast-growth storage software maker that works closely with thousands of VARs, MSPs and OEMs.

Discussions between TA Associates and StorageCraft began about six months ago and heated up about three months ago, according to new StorageCraft CEO Matt Medeiros. The actual deal -- announced this week -- was positioned as a TA Associates investment rather than a company buyout. As part of the deal, Medeiros -- a Dell SonicWall veteran -- succeeded co-founder Jeff Shreeve.

TA Associates & StorageCraft: Behind the Numbers

TA’s Jonathan Meeks

The dealmakers did not disclose valuation, or the exact percentage of StorageCraft that TA Associates now owns. But in an interview with ChannelE2E, Medeiros confirmed that TA Associates is majority owner.

Also of note: The private equity firm's managing director, Jonathan W. Meeks, joins StorageCraft's board. That's an important move, considering Meeks' reach across the IT landscape. Meeks co-heads TA Associates' North American Technology Group. He currently sits on four other boards -- Amann Girrbach AG, AVG Technologies, Bigpoint and Flashtalking.

Take a look at TA Associates' current portfolio of software investments and you'll notice some key names that could deliver new synergies with StorageCraft. Examples include AVG, Bomgar (remote control), Cosentry (data centers) and Idera (performance monitoring), just to name a few.

MSP Industry Growth Opportunity

MSP software industry leaders were very impressed with the deal.

Datto CEO Austin McChord says the TA Associates-StorageCraft deal is the latest indication that venture capital and private equity firms are starting to respect channel-oriented technology companies that engage MSPs. Datto attracted $75 million in Series B funding in 2015, remains profitable, and has a valuation of more than $1 billion, the company has confirmed.

Meanwhile, Autotask CEO Mark Cattini says the TA Associates-StorageCraft deal is truly about growth -- for the dealmakers at the table and for the MSP industry as a whole. Cattini noted that a private equity firm acquired Autotask in 2014 and funded additional tuck-in acquisitions. He also pointed to third-party companies -- names like N-able Technologies (now owned by SolarWinds) and Datto -- that have attracted buyouts or investor dollars in recent years.

Bottom line: Those within StorageCraft and those watching the deal say this is a growth play. As Autotask's Cattini put it: This isn't about squeezing more dollars out of EBITDA or putting a business in maintenance mode. TA Associates, he said, is clearly serious about growing StorageCraft's business.

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.