Cloud management startup CliQr making channel push in 2016

CliQr has been cautious in developing a channel, but is now expanding its go-to-market strategy with both resellers and technology partners.


David Cope, CliQr’s EVP of Corporate Development and CMO

San Jose-based startup CliQr, which makes an application-defined cloud management platform, has taken steps to increase the size of its channel, which is a relatively recent part of its go-to-market model. The company plans a dramatic increase in its channel and has appointed ex-Cisco executive Scott Mohr as director of channel sales.

CliQr was formed in 2010 by former VMware product leads to address the challenges of migrating, managing and governing applications in hybrid infrastructure environments.

“Today, almost every business has some type of hybrid cloud project in place, but each cloud is different in key KPIs like compute and pricing,” said  David Cope, CliQr’s EVP of Corporate Development and CMO. “Traditional approaches have been to understand each cloud’s unique APis and write custom scripts, which have been the primary approach to cloud migration and management. The problem is that whenever the cloud infrastructure changes, you have to rewrite all your scripts. CliQr, on the other hand, is application defined, and describes the profile of the app through graphical typology. It allows the cloud to provision its resources based on the need of the app and not the other way around, so the  company is never locked in.”

Cope said that while this approach was ahead of the market when CliQr started, the company is well-positioned today.

“Companies like VMware have the same vision – there is the realization it all has to be about the app, that it can’t be custom scripting,” he said. “We were too early five years ago. But we are well positioned as the leader today because we have a better product.”

Cope indicated that while most of CliQr’s customers are larger organizations, the nature of their offering should mean it has a fairly broad market.

“We primarily go after the Global 2000, but whether it’s one application on one cloud or large companies with many clouds, we charge by how much you consume,” he said. “If it’s one app, one cloud, it’s easy to consume. We do have a sweet spot with global service providers reinventing themselves around the cloud using us to roll out self-service marketplaces.”

Like most software startups, CliQr initially sold direct. Cope said that CliQr has been conservative at all aspects of its go-to-market strategy, and adding partners to the model has been a part of that.

“It was about two years ago that we started to add reseller partners,” he said. “By that time, we had proof points and also had the resources to make channel partners successful.”

In 2015, CliQr doubled the number of channel partners it has, and now has about a couple dozen, Cope said. They bring in about 40-45 per cent of the company’s revenue. In 2015, they significantly expanded their regional footprint on the U.S. West Coast and Southwest. In 2016, expansion efforts are planned for the U.S. East Coast and Europe, and they also have some potential Canadian partner interest.

“We have been talking to a very large Canadian integrator,  so there is definitely interest there.”

Over the next several years Cope sees the percentage of channel business likely to increase a significant amount.

“I can see 60-70 per cent coming from partners, but we will always have a direct sales force,” he said. “We will expand both our reseller channels, as well as technology partners like ServiceNow with out of box integrations. We also have out of the box integration with Cisco. These technology partners pull us into a tremendous amount of business and you will see that expand in the next couple years.”

Cope also expects to see new partnerships developing from the transformations in the industry.

“We are integrating CliQr with hyperconverged, which basically gives you a hybrid cloud in a box,” he said. “We have a lot of activity going on in that area. We are talking with most of the hyperconverged players about this vision.”

They are also talking with companies impacted by changes wrought by the cloud.

“The cloud is changing the channel industry, with many workloads to the cloud constricting the size of the addressable market,” Cope said. “Instead of a million people buying drives, there may be a small number of huge clouds. Many people in this transformation are interesting in working with CliQr.”