Deep Instinct brings in Jim Ortbals as Americas channel lead to drive new partner program

Jim Ortbals, Vice President, Americas Channels, Deep Instinct

Cybersecurity vendor Deep Instinct, which uses AI and deep leaning techniques to stop unknown malware pre-execution, has announced the hiring of two new Vice Presidents. Jim Ortbals has been named Vice President, Americas Channels while  Ryan Vaupel has been appointed as Vice President, Operations.

The Stratosphere program was put together last year under a different channel leader who subsequently moved on to another company. It replaced a program  that was older and not very up to date with the kind of modern program that channel partners expect.

“The Stratosphere program was built out when I arrived,” Ortbals said. It’s a good program. It was a plus when I did my due diligence in looking at this opportunity. What my job is really all about is that program, and finding more partners who want to go deep with us.

“Both AI and machine learning – everything we do – is based on deep learning, where we take a predictive preventative approach,” Ortbals said. “This prevention first approach was the attraction for me. We can do things at a size, speed, scale and success rate that no one else can do right now because of the deep learning. This leveraging deep learning out to the market, is our opportunity, in taking that deep learning framework to cybersecurity.”

Ortbals has a lot of experience with MSSPs, and beefing up Deep Instinct’s presence in that space is a top priority.

“I’ve spent a lot of time in the managed services world, and ensuring we have a strong MSSP base is important,” Ortbals said. “We have a program and it has a lot of good pieces, but we do need to enhance it a bit more with a bit more structure. SMB commercial and midmarket customers all need a trusted advisor to show them how to start and help them on their digital transformation journey.

Somewhat unusually, Stratosphere is a single-tier program.

“The simplicity of the program is the beauty of it,” Ortbals said. “It’s all based on deal registration. If you just fulfill, there is margin, but not a lot – but if you bring it to us or we agree to team up, then there is an opportunity for substantial margin. It’s more than a lot of other places that I have been. In the five weeks I have been here, I have talked to a lot of VARs and SIs who said that had caught their attention.

“Multi-tier programs are common as companies get larger,” Ortbals continued. “As you get to a certain size, you want to reward partners who have leaned in with you. The idea here though is about simplicity and speed. I’ve always been quality over quantity. Part of my strategy is to lean in with a number of top tier partners – particularly SIs and VARs who reach certain segments or geographies that we do not. We are also looking to leverage distribution as well. This will help a handful of partners develop their businesses through our strategic investments.”

The company now has a strictly channel Go-to-Market strategy.

“We have a new CRO, Ed Carter, who hired me at Zerto, and he is channel first,’ Ortbals said. “So is our CEO Lane Bess. 100% of our business is transacted through partners. We don’t take business direct. We do lead a lot of our engagements because we know our technology, so a lot of these are Deep Instinct-led and partner assisted. We are working with them to help them develop a service based on Deep Instinct and assist them where they need help. With MSSPs on the other hand, they are much more likely to lead in the engagement.

Ortbal laid out the channel roadmap for Deep Instinct in the short to medium term.

“You will see us focus on a handful of very strategic SIs in EMEA, North America and Japan,” he said. “We will continue to expand our MSSP footprint. We just had an announcement with eSentire, and there will be a handful of things we will be able to announce in the next 3-6 months around use cases and expanded TAMs.”

Ortbals came to Deep Instinct from Zscaler, where he led Zscaler’s Global Service Provider, MSSP, and Distribution routes-to-market. Before that his resume includes stints at Zerto, which was acquired by HPE, VMware, and Cisco.