BeanSprout: Connecting Vendors to Channel Partners?
How will channel partner programs evolve for the cloud computing age? Perhaps BeanSprout has the answer. The startup leverages LinkedIn contacts to help connect channel pros with vendors looking for new channel partners.
I spoke with BeanSprout Co-founder and Managing Partner Artie Patel about the offering, and he made a convincing case. Simply put, not every technology vendor is Microsoft, which lays out its channel vision and value proposition at headline-making events like the recent Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2011 (WPC11).
BeanSprout works with vendors seeking a new approach to channel partner recruiting. Vendors can complete what amounts to a dating-site profile, indicating what they’re looking for in a service provider and the opportunities available. Likewise, prospective partners can browse vendors by their own needs and desires. Patel says that it’s all about efficiency. The LinkedIn integration works as you might expect, with the ability to recommend vendors to colleagues and have deals show up in the news feed.
Right now, BeanSprout is free. Patel says that the company plans to monetize once the platform is populated with vendors and channel pros. Companies like Peer1 Hosting and McAfee have already signed on, with more to come. It’s an interesting take: while Spiceworks positions itself as an MSP social network of sorts and even enables adding value-added services, I don’t think it’s designed to help forge the formal relationships that BeanSprout hopes to produce.