Cybersecurity vendor Immersive Labs launches formal partner program around channel-first strategy

Immersive targets both SOC teams and developers with their platform that measures and improves cyber capabilities, and is looking to a diverse range of channel partners to expand their reach.

Jake Alosco, Immersive Labs’ Senior Director Global Channels

Immersive Labs, a British-based cybersecurity vendor whose North American offices are in Boston, and who just opened a third office in Germany, has inaugurated their first formal channel program. It is designed to support partners through a channel-first partnering model and a program that will provide that support without complexity.

“Immersive Labs was founded in the U.K in 2017 by James Hadley, our CEO,” said Jake Alosco, Immersive Labs’ Senior Director Global Channels. “Our platform was born out of getting people to do more hands-on learning around cybersecurity, adopting new practical capabilities.” The focus is specifically on improving the cyber-awareness of humans, as a complement to technology and automation, and is aimed at the more technical audience within a company, not Line of Business people.

“Pre-COVID, it was very common for organizations to bring people in for short sessions to provide this kind of training, but that’s a very ‘point in time’ approach,” Alosco said. “Doing it over a continuous model through our platform lets people continuously exercise skills.

“Our audience is core security folks – CISO and SOC teams, security analysts, and development teams,” Alosco indicated. “We have two separate product lines, for security teams, and for development teams. The development team product is sold broadly. Smaller organizations with 1000 employees have a development practice. The security team product is mainly enterprise, for organizations with SOC teams.” Customers include Citigroup, Daimler, Bain Capital and KPMG.

The channel was first introduced a year ago, with the launch of an informal channel program in May 2020. It has now grown to approximately 50 partners.

“It’s a really healthy mix,” Alosco noted. “We have some distribution set up globally, including LatAm, Middle East, South Africa and federal, although in the U.S. and U.K. we are direct to reseller. We have a lot of security VARs, a couple of strategic LARs, and some smaller regional players. We also have three recruiters. We are still figuring out who the right continuous audience is. The platform can cover a lot of different types of partners.”

They have four or five partners in Canada as well, Alosco said.

The plan is to keep the program fairly small and select.

“We are definitely emphasizing quality over quantity, and want to get them excited about working with us,” he noted.

This was the ideal time to formalize the program, Alosco indicated.

“This is my fourth startup which involved building up the channel, and I haven’t seen this excitement level around partner engagement, and this level of interaction before,” he said. “It made sense to do this now.”

A major feature of the program is a flat, single-tier organization.

“I look at a flat program as a way to continuously incentivize folk,” Alosco said. “We have built it so they can make incredible margins with deals that are registered. As we move forward, and the really productive partners become more evident, tiering is an option, but I would like to keep it a flat program for as long as possible.”

Alosco said that the core metrics are the same as they were in the informal program,

“We didn’t change any of the margins or percentages,” he indicated. “We just matured things, rather than changing them.”

A training program isn’t yet in place, but Alosco said it will be,

“We will build out a formal channel training through our own platform,” he indicated. “Today, we don’t have a certification program, and I’m not sure that we will. A lot of the benefits you get from that also comes from going out and selling together.” A flat-tier program also removes the role of certifications as prerequisites for tier advancement.”

The new partner portal, which Immersive had custom-built for them by a PRM company, is designed to be easy to use in providing collateral for the partner community.

“We just built out in our partner portal a simplified 20-minute version of our platform and offering,” Alosco said. “Once you get past 20 minutes, you lose people, so we kept it easy to follow.”