CloudBerry Lab doubles down on MSP market with new brand [MSP360] and new strategy

The MSP360 rebranding builds on other changes the company has been making over the last year or so, which has included the appointment of a new CEO, and is geared to broadening their platform beyond backup.

Doug Hazelman, MSP360’s Vice President of Technical Marketing

LAS VEGAS – MSPs at the CompTIA ChannelCon event here were surprised to see that backup provider CloudBerry Lab has rebranded as MSP360, a move that was formally announced two weeks back. The name change is only one part of the story however –  and not the most interesting or important part. It is part of a focus to reorient the company from a profitable backup provider into a much broader platform player, where backup is but one service. It’s a strategy which is seeing the company double down on its already-strong commitment to MSPs, which has created a global channel of over 8,000 MSP partners. It is also tied to broader leadership changes they have made over the last year plus, including the naming of a new CEO in January.

The old CloudBerry Lab was successful, in that it was posting profitable growth, but it had outgrown its legacy structure, which had become perceived as an obstacle to stronger growth. The old management structure was an unusual one, in which the top leadership was shrouded in mystery. The person at the top was a private individual who wanted no part of the public spotlight, and his identity isn’t a matter of public record.

“The lack of a visible CEO was an issue in some quarters and made it harder, for example, to get press coverage,” said Doug Hazelman, MSP360’s Vice President of Technical Marketing. “The company grew primarily through word of mouth. It was never viewed as that important to have prominent people in public-facing roles and that persisted because the company was profitable and successful.”

Hazelman, who is well known in the industry from his almost ten year long stint at Veeam, where he was the Vice President of Product Strategy and a major spokesperson for the company, joined CloudBerry Lab in January 2018 in an initial move to evolve their traditional approach to the market.

“I was brought in in 2018 to build profile in the MSP community and to be more of a face for the company there, because of the role I had played at Veeam around the virtualization community,” he said. “We have changed our strategy in the last ten months to be more MSP focused. Our primary emphasis before was at AWS events, because of AWS’s historical importance to the company. But you don’t find MSPs at AWS events. So now we are at events like ChannelCon that are well attended by MSPs.”

Hazelman said that the old strategy wasn’t making the company unsuccessful. Indeed, that’s why it was allowed to persist as long as it did.

“The problem wasn’t that the strategy wasn’t working, but that we knew that it could be working better,” he said. “CloudBerry had enjoyed good success. We were profitable, but we knew we could be doing more.

The plan going forward is to create a platform that’s much broader than backup.

“If you look at our history from the very early days, the first products were all around Amazon with Explorer and Drive – utilities that made it easy to manage S3 storage,’ Hazelman noted. “We then started looking at providing backup that writes directly to S3. We called that ‘standalone backup,’ and we still have that product. It’s aimed at the prosumer market, and it’s sold to techy individuals, and to both MSPs and break-fix shops that don’t want centralized management. But the company saw a need in the market for more robust offerings for MSPs, and from a business perspective, it made more sense to go there.”

The new CEO, Brian Helwig, is a first-time CEO who came to the company last January from data visibility vendor Netwrix, where he had been the VP of Operations and then the CFO. When his appointment was announced, the main focus was on two years he spent at Veeam, where he ran worldwide customer technical support, but was only at the Director level. Hazelman explained the logic behind his appointment, and why he was considered the best person to lead the company going forward.

“This business is built on relationships,” he said. “When he was at Veeam, he did a really great job of integrating European and North American support, which really  impressed Veeam’s co-founders. He took an opportunity to go to Netwrix – an opportunity, he likely would not have had at Veeam – and was very successful there. Ratmir Timashev [one of the Veeam co-founders, who is effectively the public face of the company] is on the boards for both CloudBerry and Netwrix. It’s all about that relationship.” The former CEO remains with the company, but just not in that formal leadership role.

So what impact will the changes in brand and leadership have on the company’s MSP partners?

“The name change reflects the fact that we will be much more focused on MSPs moving forward,” Hazelman said. “Everyone thinks of us as a backup vendor, and that is mainly what we do today, but the rebranding and the new name give us more flexibility. With the MSP360 brand, we want MSPs to know that we are here for them. MSP360 will provide more complete solutions that extend beyond backup.”

Hazelman stressed that this broadening out is a long-term strategy.

“It’s not anything that will happen right away, and the new capabilities could be developed internally or acquired. I don’t rule out anything.”

MSP feedback at ChannelCon has been predominantly surprise at finding out about the changes.

“Rebranding is a process,” Hazelman said. “We did an ASCII event in Denver two weeks ago, but this was our first major event with the new branding.”

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