Partners React to Upstack-Lumen Deal: TSBs Will 'Get Over Hurt Feelings'

"I thought it sounded unwieldy for them to try to run business through the TSBs in the first place," one partner said.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

June 7, 2022

18 Slides

The partnership between Upstack and Lumen has the entire channel talking.

The companies last week announced a direct partnership in a move that directly challenges the technology solutions brokerage (TSB) community that has historically mediated the relationship between Lumen and Upstack’s various subsidiaries. While most TSBs declined to comment publicly on the deal, sources in conversations with Channel Futures registered their frustration.

The announcement of the Lumen deal comes a little more than a year after Upstack CEO Christopher Trapp vowed that he wanted to build the most successful direct selling agency in the world, leveraging funds from Berkshire Partners and other private equity investors. That plan entailed relationships with TSBs.

“We’re going to continue leveraging those [TSBs] going forward,” Trapp told Channel Futures last April.

Both Upstack and Lumen addressed their new deal in statements to Channel Futures.

“Each of our partners is valued and important to our channel,” said Dave Young, Lumen’s senior VP of strategic sales. “With more resources and investments focused on the indirect channel than ever before, Lumen is committed to providing an exceptional experience and helping both current and new partners grow with us.”

“We appreciate all the conversation and interest the Lumen/Upstack partnership announcement has generated and look forward to keeping our network of partners and peers up to date as our partnership grows,” Upstack said.

Various channel partners, including members of the Channel Futures agent advisory board, weighed in on the partnership. In the slideshow above, they also discuss the marketplaces trend and the future of technology purchasing.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email James Anderson or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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