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Spotlight on Vendasta: Evolve to Survive

This isn’t a new concept, but given this “new norm,” we’re shining a light on how this powerhouse company did things.

Allison Francis

April 28, 2020

5 Min Read

In order to survive, MSPs must continually evolve. You’ve probably heard this before with varying spins. Perhaps you have some form of it as your desktop background, cross-stitched on a pillow, or printed on a t-shirt. In fact, this is one of the main aspects we highlight with the MSP 501 and NextGen 101 lists — recognizing outstanding partners and the outstanding ways they have evolved their businesses.

Nontraditional Methods

One such company has become quite the powerhouse by doing just that. Vendasta, our second place winner for the MSP of the Year award last year, didn’t start out as an MSP in any way, shape or form. 

The company had its genesis as a platform for homeowners to connect and share inspiration in 2008. It then saw a need for an online reputation management platform within the home services market. So, it built one that was designed for local business. The company began targeting markets that were being drastically disrupted. Markets like the online media industry, for example.

Industries like these needed to learn to sell digital products fast in order to keep up with revenue expectations. Once it had a toehold in those companies, it leveraged their channels to gain access to the greenfield SMB market. Vendasta kept churning out product after digital product, owning the process from development to implementation to ongoing management. It wasn’t managed services in the way we might think of them, but technically, Vendasta was a managed services company. Then, in a roundabout way, it started coming for other shop’s customers.

No More Lanes

In 2017 the company launched a marketplace of resalable apps and solutions. This was a combination of products that Vendasta owned and built, services fulfilled by their in-house agency, and vendor apps. When 2018 came around, it added a number of global brands to Marketplace. This included Google’s G Suite, GoDaddy and Constant Contact. In 2019, Vendasta worked to expand its solutions to span SMB business needs. This was similar to MSP practices that behemoth companies like Office Depot were spinning up. SMB IT in a box. The platform supports dozens of digital marketing and business productivity tools with marketing automation, a robust CRM and a client-facing portal, all under a single login. 

Be counted among your peers as one of the top managed service providers in the world. Click here for the 2020 MSP 501 application.

At Channel Partners Evolution last fall, Vendasta, a managed service provider itself, participated in the Channel Partners version of Shark Tank. Startups wanting to build their channel practices pitched their concept to a lineup of master agents and distributors. Vendasta is a partner, and now it’s finding its own partners, and we don’t really even know what to call hybrids like that — except competitors.

And therein lies the point. You cannot pinpoint these shops and say, “Here is your lane, here is mine. Let’s stay out of each other’s way and everyone wins.” There aren’t really lanes anymore. There are only solid businesses with the right amount of business savvy, market knowledge, tech expertise, customer experience chops, proven case studies in vertical markets, and a willingness to take risks. And yes, to continually evolve. 

Pivoting During a Pandemic

Dealing with shifts has become …

… the name of the game as of late, so we asked Brendan King, CEO of Vendasta, about how the company is faring amid the COVID-19 crisis.


Vendasta’s Brendan King

“As a SaaS company, the pandemic has taught us a lot about the intrinsic value of providing many digital solutions under one roof,” said King. “Businesses that weren’t online are now desperately working to get there. Companies that preferred to connect with prospects in person are now facing a deep need for remote conferencing, screen sharing, social media, and other technologies to help close a deal. They’re also working to find efficient and secure ways of keeping their own businesses running.” 

This crisis has moved Vendasta into a “critical need” category very quickly. Interestingly, though, folks within the channel saw the potential in the company’s SaaS-based platform a few years before it hit. 

Be counted among your peers as one of the top managed service providers in the world and Click here for the 2020 MSP 501 application.

“We were proud to be the runner-up for MSP of the Year and the winner of the Shark Tank competition at Evolution 2019,” continued King. “Those opportunities allowed us to join other companies in the channel before this challenging period. Our own evolution started in marketing technology: digital advertising, listings, online reputation, social media marketing, websites, and loyalty programs. Now, we have an end-to-end, white-label commerce platform with a baked-in marketplace that houses more than 170 products.”

Accessible Solutions

During a time when businesses need more to survive (and they need it all now), ISVs and technology companies are able to provide their proprietary solutions in a marketplace accessible to tens of thousands of customers. They can create bundles, find suitable channels to sell, and build brand awareness. All of this exists within one platform, which reduces development and customer acquisition costs while increasing speed to market. 

Other channel companies will take advantage of the marketplace, expand their portfolio of offerings, and create a new line of monthly recurring revenue. 

“It used to be about ‘staying in a lane,’ but there are no lanes now,” said King. “The technology channels are converging. The brave ones who are expanding offerings with proven, trusted and market-ready products are accessing incredible margins. Not only that, they’re earning new monthly recurring revenue.”

Evolve to survive.

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About the Author(s)

Allison Francis

Allison Francis is a writer, public relations and marketing communications professional with experience working with clients in industries such as business technology, telecommunications, health care, education, the trade show and meetings industry, travel/tourism, hospitality, consumer packaged goods and food/beverage. She specializes in working with B2B technology companies involved in hyperconverged infrastructure, managed IT services, business process outsourcing, cloud management and customer experience technologies. Allison holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations and marketing from Drake University. An Iowa native, she resides in Denver, Colorado.

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