Within the IT channel, Peter Sandiford is best-known as the former CEO of Level Platforms -- creator of an RMM (remote monitoring and management) software platform called Managed Workplace. A decade or so ago, Level Platforms helped MSPs to pioneer their recurring revenue business models. The technology was acquired 2013, and is now owned by Avast.
Still, Sandiford and the former Level Platforms team continue to influence MSP, cloud and channel business models. Key company veterans now hold influential roles at Datto (VP of Business Development Rob Rae), Passportal (President Dan Wensley) and SolarWinds MSP (Senior Director, MSP Evangelism Dave Sobel), among many other examples.
But what about Sandiford? He's hatching his next startup now. It's called Zerotek. The mission: Deliver a unified SaaS management platform for MSPs. The platform should turn some heads among partners that use Okta for identity management.
Why's that? ChannelE2E caught up with Sandiford for the answer to that question, and to learn about the company's initial business efforts, partner ambitions and plenty more. Here's the conversation.
ChannelE2E: What inspired Zerotek’s launch?
Sandiford: In 2013 when AVG acquired Level Platforms, RMM was already 10 years old. The technology and market was commoditizing very quickly. After the sale I asked myself “What’s the next big thing for MSPs?”
We are now in a new world driven by cloud-based applications and consumerized endpoints. The technical issues that propelled RMM and the growth of MSPs over the last decade is gone forever. There is no money left for optimizing server and PC lifecycles. Now applications run as services from all over the world each with their own security, integration and billing models, and are accessible from anyone, anywhere.
MSPs have built trusted customer relationships by delivering security and productivity in the old model. But the services they need to deliver now are very different. Many are now building much stronger and more profitable businesses based on fulfilling their customers’ core business objectives. These priorities are driven by the new security and productivity complexities of cloud-based apps. The concepts of MSP and MSSP are blending. Most MSPs understand this well. They are now looking for advice and tools that are designed for MSPs that will help them grow their new business.
Zerotek’s goal is to create the platform that MSPs use to deliver these new services - the “Unified SaaS Management Platform for MSPs”
After viewing a demo of a Zerotek prototype last year a well-known MSP executive exclaimed “Hey, that’s RMM for the cloud.” And while it wasn’t really, it was addressing the same business drivers. However the industry impact of UCM – Unified Cloud Management will be potentially far more significant than RMM was last decade.
ChannelE2E: How is Zerotek funded?
Sandiford: Zerotek has initial angel funding in place for 2018 and beyond. When we are ready to rapidly scale the business we will consider additional funding as required.
ChannelE2E: How many employees do you have?
Sandiford: We have a handful of full-time employees with an extended team that includes another 5-6 contractors on demand. We will add people as required in coming months.
ChannelE2E: Can MSPs run Zerotek today or is it still in alpha or beta test?
Sandiford: The product is available today. MSPs and MSSPs that will benefit from Zerotek immediately will have the following characteristics:
- Are using or considering Okta for identity management. Our deep multi-tenant management of Okta for MSPs is the perfect platform for MSPS new “Identity Management as a Service” and the foundation layer for all UCM services that we are rolling out.
- Support customers with 50-250 employees with professional help desk services in businesses where security and compliance are top priorities.
- Share and want to help shape our vision of a new world of UCM for MSPs.
We welcome qualified MSPs to join our Early Access Program here.
ChannelE2E: What are your core priorities for the rest of 2018?
Sandiford: By year end I would like to see 10 MSPs using Zerotek in production every day to drive new and more efficient services to their customers.
Got a business or personal story to share within the IT channel? Email me ([email protected]) and perhaps we'll share details in our ongoing Channel People coverage.