CloudJumper Buys Remainder of IndependenceIT, Talks Channel Implications

Max Pruger, CloudJumper chief sales officer, talks about the acquisition of IndependenceIT, a longtime strategic partner.

CloudJumper, a 100-percent channel sales company, which bills itself as a workspace-as-a-service (WaaS) provider, on Tuesday announced the acquisition of IndependenceIT.

CloudJumper has been in business since 2016, when it spun off from nGenx, a cloud-based application provider. It was just about one year ago when CloudJumper expanded its channel via the private acquisition of a competitor’s service business. We learned today, that private company in question was, in fact, IndependenceIT. Now CloudJumper will own the rest of the company.

In a chat with Max Pruger, CloudJumper chief sales officer, we learn more about the strategy for the combined organizations, what it means to channel partners, and the growth opportunity and road map, for all. 

Channel Futures: CloudJumper and IndependenceIT have an interesting partnering history. Set the stage for us. 

Max Pruger: The company and the founders have been in the cloud space since 2000 … we were Citrix Cloud Partner of the Year a couple of years in a row, Cloud Visionary Partner in 2014, and an internal joke is that we were so visionary that we were the first ones to leave Citrix. So, at the end of 2014, the decision was made to leave Citrix and migrate over to the IndependenceIT platform. 

We have a lot of IP and other software in our software stack, but for the provisioning and orchestration layer, those are competitive products. We’re one of the largest Citrix companies out there and we’ve spent about two-and-a-half years migrating seats over from Citrix to IndependenceIT. That’s how we got involved with IndependenceIT; we were their largest partner by far. 

When I joined the company in 2015, IndependenceIT was looking to move away from a services model and toward a software-only model; and, since that time, we acquired IndependenceIT in pieces. First they decided to stop doing their turnkey business and go software only, so we acquired some of their sales staff and they’re still with us today. 

Max Pruger

Last year, we acquired a business unit of over 1,000 seats, a tactical acquisition to add to our bottom-line revenue and growth. At the time we didn’t say who the company was; now I am, it was IndependenceIT’s turnkey business. They weren’t growing it; it was maintenance only. We acquired the business unit and the partners and support team came with it. We rolled it up into CloudJumper last year. 

CF: That’s not the end of the story, is it? 

MP: About six months later, we continued to talk to IndependenceIT; we were strategic partners. We talked about the growth map, what the market was looking like. I still think we’re about a year, a year-and-a-half ahead of the market, we are seeing growth and a lot of MSPs migrate to workspace as a service instead of physical desktop management. 

We knew that IndependenceIT was talking to other suitors – definitely not a distressed sale – but the more we looked at the market as a whole, the more it made sense for CloudJumper and IndependenceIT to join forces. 

CF: Talk about the strengths of a combined company

MP: It’s a strategic acquisition to drive a growth market. IndependenceIT executive leaders and the development team will join CloudJumper. 

CloudJumper has a turnkey in-a-box offering that our MSPs and agents resell to their customers. If you want to roll your own on the software side, think of IndependenceIT as Lego pieces. 

CF: What does the acquisition mean to partners? 

MP: It’s all business as usual today. However, what’s exciting about this acquisition to us – and I think exciting to our partners – is the fact that CloudJumper was a full turnkey solution. IndependenceIT has [its] own software and other pieces, to roll your own. CloudJumper always had the software, but it wasn’t core to what we were doing. 

What I’ve seen over the last year – CloudJumper grew over 100 percent last year, IndependenceIT grew 100 percent – was we saw more mature MSPs start getting into this market. We’re still in the early-adopter phase, but it’s definitely catching on. 

The challenge that we’re seeing with the mature MSPs is that for larger customers, they didn’t necessarily want a full turnkey solution, they actually wanted more control over the environment. At the same time, they didn’t want just the software piece because they didn’t want to have to manage the platform. It's very expensive to deliver a WaaS solution at scale; you have to have significant technical resources. So we started seeing more demand for a hybrid environment where for specific customers and larger, more mature MSPs, they wanted someone like a CloudJumper to manage the underlying platform, so they wouldn’t have to deal with it. At the same time, the MSPs want more control over the day-to-day support issues that a customer may call in with. 

With this acquisition, we can deliver a service to our MSP partners where they can tailor a solution to meet whatever requirement each end customer may have — so, for example, if they have customers with 15-100 seats who want turnkey, great, they can sell that; if they have a customer with 500-1,500 seats who want a hybrid solution where we manage the platform and they handle the day-to-day tasks, we can do that; if there’s a customer with 10,000 seats and they just want to buy software, we can do that as well. 

CF: Is there a road map that you can talk about? 

MP: There is a road map that we think partners will benefit from — we did acquire IndependenceIT’s entire technology team and development team, and we have a development team, so combining them … CloudJumper was building its own IP on top of our entire software stack, and we’re planning version 2 of JumpStart, our on-boarding and migration tool. 

We also have a partner portal built on IndependenceIT’s APIs and we’ve added more to enable partners to get more information to meet their needs.

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