When it comes to Google Apps, venture capital firms seem to be falling in love with companies that work in and around Google's cloud software suite. Two prime examples: Cloud Sherpas continues to attract a brigher spotlight in the cloud services brokerage (CSB) market, and BetterCloud is turning heads in the cloud management market.
As Talkin' Cloud has reported:
- Cloud Sherpas in December 2012 raised $40 million in venture capital and acquired CloudTrigger, a CRM-focused consulting firm. And earlier today, Cloud Sherpas announced two more acquisitions.
- BetterCloud has raised $5 million in venture capital for Google Apps management tools.
Why should channel partners care? For starters, it's becoming clear that top channel partners need some custom software expertise in their portfolio. That expertise and know-how typically leads to higher company valuations, and an easier time navigating capital opportunities.
Also, the Google Apps Marketplace (where channel partners can find third-party tools that work with the cloud platform) seems to be maturing and expanding rapidly. BetterCloud is proof positive of that.
Now here's the irony: I think the Google Apps channel is expanding and thriving in many areas, but I don't hear as frequently from Google about its channel strategy.
Neither Google nor its partners can rest on their laurels. After a somewhat turnulent start, Microsoft's Office 365 cloud partner program seems to have turned the corner, which should generate plenty of continued competition for months to come.
Still, I rarely see venture capital money flow into the Office 365 partner market. Right now, VCs seem to be opening their wallets wider for the Google partner ecosystem.