eFolder-Axcient merger aimed at dethroning Datto in BDR space

eFolder’s top execs outline why they think the merged company can take on the market leader, and how they intend to execute on their strategy.

Matt Nachtrab, eFolder’s CEO

Datto is currently the acknowledged leader in the backup and disaster recovery market. The announced merger of eFolder and Axcient is all about changing that, by not only creating one much larger company, but putting together two entities whose strengths in the marketplace and in technology map well together. Matt Nachtrab, the former Labtech founder and ConnectWise exec who recently joined eFolder will be the CEO of the combined company, which will keep the eFolder name. Kevin Hoffman, founder and former CEO of eFolder, who made way at the top for Nachtrab in order to focus on the technology, continues as Chief Technology Officer in the new company. Former Axcient CEO Justin Moore becomes Chief Strategy Officer.


“From a scale standpoint, this gives us a lot of resources under one roof to better compete with Datto,” Nachtrab said. Nachtrab acknowledged StorageCraft was also larger than either eFolder or Axcient before, and given that StorageCraft is private, he does not know whether the new eFolder is larger or not. Datto, and the top slot, are clearly the target, however.


Nachtrab said that the complementary solution set of the two companies will give one MSPs one strong BDR solution that they can sell to all their customers, from the top of the market to the bottom.


“Standardization is a key to profit and high EBITDA for MSPs,” he said. ‘The problem for MSPs is that over the years they have gotten away from that, selling multiple solutions which have strengths in different parts of the market. Many sell eFolder as a good solution for smaller SMBs, Datto for larger ones, and Axcient for higher-end customers. Axcient has been strong in more complex environments because they have a more sophisticated recovery solution, which is attractive to the midmarket. From an IP standpoint, the combination of our Replibit and Axcient Fusion will allow the MSP to go with a standard offering that will fit any customer they have and give them a single vendor for any BDR solution.”


Axcient brings two core products to the deal, their Business Recovery Cloud [BRC] platform, aimed at SMBs, and Fusion, a newer offering for virtualized environments which is aimed more at the midmarket and enterprise.


eFolder has four elements in their portfolio. Their original file backup offering was the company’s business for years, but that has been complemented since 2013 with three products sets coming from acquisitions: a sync and share solution, cloud-to-cloud backup, and image-based BDR, with their Replibit offering. Replibit is chain-free, so each restore point is independent from others.


The technology from the two Axcient offerings will be used to strengthen the BDR offering, bolstering  Replibit – and vice versa.


“BRC is strong in recovery from a continuity standpoint in the cloud, but it has some areas that could be helped by Replibit’s agentless technology, and we will incorporate some of that into BRC,” Nachrab said. “Axcient’s strong cloud continuity recovery technology will be incorporated into Replibit over time as well. As we integrate them, we see them as becoming a suite, with multiple flavours within our BDR portfolio.”


“Axcient Fusion scales effectively to large environments and replicates directly to the cloud, for virtual environments,” said Kevin Hoffman, eFolder’s founder and Chief Technology Officer. “Replibit integrated with the Fusion cloud will both take Fusion downmarket and allow it to be used in physical as well as virtual environments. That’s our vision for our partners, to build that one platform for them.”


Nachtrab emphasized that the strong R&D talent behind the products will provide a powerful asset going forward.


“We have a really strong R&D that comes from this,” he said. “We now have 100 people in R&D after the merger, and that’s a lot of throughput. Axcient has been best at the recovery side in the cloud and we have focused on chain-free backup agents and the ability to recover easily on an appliance. Bringing them together not only provides a strong team from both sides, but will allow us to emerge with the best overall feature set in the space. We know that we will still need to execute and deliver on the go-to-market, but we will be in a very strong tech position to go after Datto.”


Nachtrab said that the go-to-market will be strengthened by the complementary nature of the two channels.


“We are both focused on North America and spread out pretty evenly across it,” he said. “We have less than 100 shared customers prior to acquisition, however, of our 3000 and the close to 1000 that they have. “The small overlap is because of the separate product alignment. Axcient also has a lot of large MSPs, and we don’t have that many.”


Nachtrab acknowledged that Datto is a sales and marketing machine, something neither eFolder nor Axcient have been in the past. The future is something else altogether.


“I learned a lot about these at LabTech and ConnectWise, and ConnectWise felt very similar to Datto in this respect,” he said. “We scaled up our sales and marketing team at ConnectWise. We centralized a telesales team, rather than putting them out in the field. We built a really strong digital marketing presence to generate leads and kept growing the number of leads every month. We became really good at getting the ConnectWise name out there, making sure that we were top of mind to partners and prospective partners. You will see the same thing built here. Look for the marketing and sales engines at eFolder to become very strong over the next year.”