New partner program, distribution deal, designed to drive Passportal growth

The partner program has been added following Passportal’s addition of the capacity to let partners white-label their password protection services to their own customers, whereas before they simply sold their partners these services to better run their own businesses.

Colin Knox 300

Colin Knox, Passportal’s founder and CEO

CHICAGO — Calgary-based Passportal, which has been supplying password protection services to MSP and VAR partners to help them run their business, has just embarked on two major initiatives to greatly expand their reach. First, they have announced the Passportal Cloud Partner Program, designed to help partners white-label password protection services to their own customers. Secondly they have entered into their first distribution deal, with Relyenz, a value-added SaaS distributor. Both announcements were made at CompTIA’s ChannelCon event here.

“We originally brought out Passportal as a tool for MSPs to use themselves, but in the last year we have had overwhelming demand for them to also be able to resell password protection as a service in their managed services,” said Colin Knox, Passportal’s founder and CEO. “We introduced the capability to do white labelling with Version 3.0 of our software earlier this year.”

Previously, Passportal did not have a partner program, but they had a partner community, much the same as a company like Autotask does.

“That was fine when Passportal was just a tool for internal use, but now that we are offering a product the MSPs can resell, we had to create a formal program with training and support,” Knox said.

“We have put together marketing collateral for them, like a completely white-labelled sales flier with value statements for customers,” he noted. “They download them from within our interface and it comes with their branding they have put into their software, so they don’t have to do it later themselves.” Other features include a PowerPoint presentation deck to help present in one-on-ones or Lunch and Learns, lead sharing, and deployment and installation support. Their top, premier-level partners also receive free internal use licensing.

Dan Wensley Passportal

Dan Wensley, Passportal’s Channel Chief

“We also provide instructor-led training through one-to-many webinars,” said Dan Wensley, Passportal’s Channel Chief. “We are striving to ensure our MSP partners who want to take password protection out to their end users are competent from day one, so there are no false starts.”

The program has three tiers — Certified (10+ seats); Select (100+ seats) and Premier (500+ seats).

“Everyone starts as a Certified partner, and they move up as they add more seats,” Wensley said. The very low 10 seat Certified threshold comes from a number of partners indicating that they want to start with a single seat in each client, to give the client an initial introduction.

Channel partners purchase a fully refundable Passportal Reseller Starter Package, which includes both technical and sales training modules, the marketing collateral, five internal user seats, and ten client-based user seats. The Package costs $500. When the partner moves up to the 100 seat Select level, half that fee is refunded. Passportal also offers a full refund offer within 30 days.

“In August, anyone who registers for training also gets $100 off the fee, and gets an additional 15 seats bundled in,” Knox said. While the actual training classes for August are already sold out, people can still register this month for later classes and still get the discount premiums.

Earlier this year, Passportal had about 500 MSP partners, but many of those were no longer actively engaged.

“Today we have over 600 partners and these are actively engaged,” Knox said. “We are growing now at 30 to 60 per cent per month. The partner program will also accelerate growth for us. Many companies didn’t want to sign up with us until we had this, as they didn’t want just a tool for themselves.”

Passportal is also now attracting larger partners.

“We’ve always attracted smaller ones, the 10 person shops and under, but lately we’ve noticed more mature ones – 100, 200 person MSPs – gravitating to us,” Knox indicated.

Passportal is also looking to expand its reseller base through distribution, signing its first-ever distribution deal with Relyenz, a new division of MSP training firm CharTec, whose formation was announced this week. Under the leadership of Leonard Dimiceli, Relyenz’s VP of Sales, who previously ran SaaS distributor Nuvotera, Relyenz will offer value-added SaaS distribution services to MSPs.

Relyenz takes over from CharTec a parcel of services from four vendors: Sophos, Reflexion, Axcient, and StorageCraft. Passportal is the first of the new vendors they are adding.

“We were selected to be the online password arm for Relyenz,” Knox said. “The history of that team, who has proven able to sell to and market to the channel, was important to us. We also think that they will be a lot more flexible given their desire to grow themselves.”

While signing on with this MSP-focused distributor was important for Passportal, it is unlikely to be their last such deal. Knox said they are in negotiations with a couple more MSP-focused distributors.