Vancouver AWS Premier Consulting Partner TriNimbus sold to Onica in move to create AWS goliath

While TriNimbus disappears as a separate entity, it retains legal ownership of the relationship with Canadian clients for privacy law compliance, and Canadian customers will also have access to new offerings, such as around IoT, where TriNimbus was more limited before.

Stephen Garden, Onica’s CEO

TriNimbus Technologies, Canada’s first AWS Premier Consulting Partner, has been sold to Los Angeles-based Onica, a cloud consultancy, which, like TriNimbus, is laser-focused on the AWS cloud, and is also an AWS Premier Partner. The deal, coming on the heels of another Onica acquisition late last year, effectively combines three premier AWS consultancies into one, and creates what all involve expect will be an AWS consulting superpower.

“CorpInfo was a traditional IT shop, which had no real AWS skills, so they built a division, Onica, to acquire this capability, and this was spun out to SunStone partners late last year, said Stephen Garden, Onica’s CEO. “Sunstone set out on a global expansion plan and acquired Sturdy Networks, which became part of Onica. Now, with TriNimbus, we now have what was effectively three global AWS partners.”

TriNimbus had always been owned by its founders, who bootstrapped the business themselves, so had no equity backers who thought it was time to cash out and sell.

“We made the decision for a couple of reasons,” said Jarrod Levitan, co-founder of TriNimbus, who now becomes Chief Growth Officer at Onica, with his co-founder, Goran (Kima) Kimovski, becoming Onica’s SVP of Global Customer Solutions. “We felt that we needed to scale the business, because the opportunity in the marketplace is so strong. We either needed to make a big strategic investment from private equity in order to grow faster, or merge with a company who looked like us to take it to the next level with them. They are focused on AWS, like us. And the financial piece made sense for us as well.”

Garden said that they had met TriNimbus at events, and the two companies started talking about coming together around the beginning of 2018.

“We felt there was great alignment,” he said. “The journey of all three companies was very similar.”

The plan is to operate all the company’s assets as a single pool, to better leverage their skillsets.

“We will operate as a single North America group,” Garden said. “The goal is to leverage our very large and deep 250 person pool’s knowledge and expertise.”

Onica had no presence in Canada until this deal. TriNimbus is based in Vancouver, but has four Canadian offices – as well as one in Eastern Europe designed to ensure that their managed services operation has a round-the-clock presence without people working in the middle of the night.

“We will be making some real growth commitments around Canada, particularly in Toronto, which we will be leveraging heavily,” Garden stated. “We expect to invest heavily in new jobs in Canada. There is a talent shortage of people who really understand cloud-native technology, and of the 12 AWS meetup groups, 10 of them are active in Canada.”

Jarrod Levitan, co-founder of TriNimbus, and now Chief Growth Officer at Onica

Levitan said that that the deal is great news for TriNimbus customers.

“It’s fantastic for customers because we now have more suites of different offerings and capabilities,” he said. “Before in Internet of Things, we had had some products, but we didn’t have a strong competency. They bring that along with them, as they are one of the strongest IoT partners for AWS. A lot of our customers have been asking for things like that. They also have strong capabilities around serverless computing in AWS. In addition, while we had close to ten large enterprise customers and were growing stronger in that space, Onica brings a sophisticated level of engagement with larger enterprises around both managed services and professional services.”

“We also have the advantage of having more exposure to different patterns that we have seen with different customers,” Garden noted. “As a company we now have 500 engagements, which gives us a wealth of different patterns.”

When a Canadian company is acquired by one from the U.S. there will be some degree of customer concern, Levitan acknowledged.

“We expect there will be some, but we have spoken with some customers and put out an FAQ,” he said. “The fact that we are a Canadian legal entity governed by the Canadian legal system gives them a lot of comfort.”

That’s especially important for Canadian privacy laws, both federal and in British Columbia, with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act [FOIPPA].

“We will remain a Canadian legal entity to handle any such transactions,” Levitan said. “Because we still work through the Canadian entity, it manages the agreements with customers to help them stay compliant. FOIPPA has three components – data sovereignty, transit sovereignty and access in Canada. Customers can store data in the AWS Montreal region in Canada. That’s their decision. As far as transit goes, we will support and make recommendations. Lastly, for the data access piece, which I think is the most poignant, we avoid accessing customer data on purpose. It’s very limited by agreement. That access we will make sure is done in Canada only, for FOIPPA regulations. Canadian public sector customers will also use Canadian resources only.”

Looking forward, the plan is to continue the focus on AWS, not broaden out to the other public hyperscalers.

“We like the concept of focusing on one domain,” Garden said. “Our plan is to continue enhancing our skillset around AWS, because we aren’t seeing that slowing down. More large organizations are focusing more on AWS.”

Garden also indicated no more acquisitions are on the immediate horizon.

“We are focusing on this integration now,” he said. “We are expecting very significant organic growth – we have 50 job vacancies open as a business.”

Levitan emphasized the increased strength of the enhanced Onica for Canada in particular.

“It’s still early days for the cloud in Canada, and this will help us be the preferred partner in Canada,” he said.