AppDirect is already strong in Canada, and in Quebec, which was ITCloud.ca’s original base before it established a national presence, but AppDirect plans to expand in Canada further, and wants to build ITCloud.ca, which will retain its brand, into Canada’s largest provider of cloud services.
Subscription commerce platform provider AppDirect has announced the further expansion of their presence in Canada with the acquisition of Quebec-headquartered ITCloud.ca, a cloud technology provider with a national presence. The deal is specifically focused on increasing AppDirect’s AppSmart business, in Canada, which is focused more on traditional channel partners than their traditional Master Agent channel. ITCloud.ca will retain its brand, and AppDrect’s goal is for them to be able leverage the over 600 SaaS solutions in the AppSmart catalogue, and make ITCloud.ca Canada’s largest cloud services provider.
“We are really executing on two main Go-to-Market strategies today,” said Renée Bergeron, the longtime Ingram Micro Cloud executive who moved to AppDirect in early 2020 as senior vice-president and general manager. “The first strategy was originally tied to licensing the platform to enable large tech providers to have an e-commerce subscription for their business. Rogers and AT&T would be typical customers there. We then expanded from there to cover more software providers, who use our marketplace to distribute. Intuit and Sage are two recent ones.
“The second Go-to-Market strategy is what I was hired to drive,” Bergeron emphasized. “This second strategy reflects that channel providers need access to a broader catalogue, but aren’t big enough to do this on their own. For them, we have AppSmart, which is based on our AppDirect platform.”
Historically, AppDirect’s channel based around that first strategy was quite large, but was mainly around the Master Agent model.
“We still have a very large channel of telecom providers and agents, but the channel has been evolving,” Bergeron said. “We now have quite a few more MSPs. The supply chains haven’t really evolved though. Master Agents are still telcos, and distributors are still software and no one else bridges this gap. We address all the technology, which is useful for partners looking to take advantage of all the technology and be a one-stop provider for their customers.”
ITCloud.ca is AppDirect’s 11th acquisition since the company’s 2009 creation.
“They are of two types,” Bergeon said. “Some, particularly some of the early ones, were about acquiring IP. The others were strategic, like this one, and were more about expanding our capabilities, about the markets that we touch, or our vendor relationships.”
These strategic acquisitions tend to retain their original brand, and that will be the case with ITCloud.ca.
“We have no plan to rebrand them,” Bergeron said. “They have a unique value proposition. They were Microsoft’s partner of the year in Canada last year, and we want to amplify that, so that they become the largest provider of cloud technology in the country.” ITCloud.ca’s leadership team as well as its staff will come over to AppDirect.
The deal came about because AppDirect had very clear goals for an acquisition and did work to identify companies that met those goals.
“I had also learned of them in my prior role at Ingram Micro competing with them in the Canadian market,” Bergeron noted.
ITCloud.ca started in Quebec as a backup provider. After Microsoft began to build out its Canadian infrastructure in the middle of the last decade, ITCloud.ca started expanding the catalogue of services they offer significantly, and also expanded into a national presence. Their headquarters is in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, and they have satellite offices in Montreal and Sherbrooke.
“They now cover the entire geography, so this is a great opportunity for us,” Bergeron said. “We have a large presence in Montreal. Their customer base is diverse and serves all industries. They have more than 30,000 businesses and more than 1200 partners of their own.”
Bergeron said that while AppDirect has already built a strong business in Canada, this deal will let it build up its channel, starting with those ITCloud.ca partners.
“We are a global company with offices around the world on all continents, and we are very well represented in Canada,” she said. “The acquisition really allows us to better address the channel in Canada. While we have made big investments in engineering in Montreal, this deal was abut expanding the partner channel and capability
Bergeron said being part of AppDirect will let ITCloud.ca showcase what a Canadian partner can do.
“The expansion of our catalogue to them will be massive,” she stated. “Now they can sell the ecosystem around Microsoft and get access to a catalogue of more than 600 providers. They had 15-20 companies they distributed and worked with closely, and those distribution relationships are growing super-fast and will continue, but we have over 600 providers that are fully API-enabled in our program.
Bergeron expects this will have a significant effect on AppDirect’s business as well by accelerating the flywheel growth effect around product-led growth.
“With everything, we try to connect elements for flywheel growth, and this will contribute to this,” she said. “ITCloud.ca’s skillset in Microsoft is second to none, and we want to be able to bring that to our U.S. partners as well. The accolades they have had in the past 6-8 months is a reflection of their skillset. They have taken a different approach to the market and really enhanced the partner experience.”