N-able Exploring Acquisitions, Seeks to Double Customer Base

N-able Exploring Acquisitions, Seeks to Double Customer Base

N-able Technologies CEO Gavin Garbutt says the managed services software provider is exploring the market for potential strategic acquisitions. Plus, Garbutt added, N-able can likely double its customer base in 2012. Here's the update, including some R&D updates for N-able's partner base.

During a briefing with MSPmentor, Garbutt was his usual upbeat self. He stopped short of describing N-able's revenue growth and profits, since N-able is privately held. But he noted: "We're in a nice position. Our customer base has tripled in the last two years and it will double again this year."

Money Matters

Indeed, N-able has used a mix of freemium and paid software -- the N-central platform -- to help MSPs extend managed services out to a broader base of SMB customers. Moreover, N-able in 2011 received a private equity investment. "We didn't require capital but we were offered a partnership that was too good to refuse," said Garbutt.

None of N-able's equity holders cashed out as part of the private equity transaction. "That wasn't the purpose. [The private equity] positioned us to do whatever we eant to do. We are pursuing a number of acquisitions and they'll all be strategic."

Garbutt's statement about pursing M&A's is similar to that of Continuum CEO Michael George, another MSP software leader who told MSPmentor last week that he's exploring potential acquisition opportunities.

I have a sneaky suspicion that N-able has already made a small acquisition, with the technology being rolled into forthcoming N-able products. Asked for any particular acquisition targets or technologies of interest, Garbutt said no comment.

Software and Partner Education

Meanwhile, N-able has doubled the size of its partner development group to 14 people. An Garbutt says large, mature MSPs are switching over to N-able (I've got to do some more digging for potential MSP names).

During several points in our conversation, Garbutt mentioned N-able's Advanced Automation Manager (AAM) and a recipe for helping MSPs to set up NOC services, customer assessments, implementations, IT management and reporting. Garbutt said AAM pushes beyond scripting to offer service and process automation; it sounds like there are some potential ITIL implications as well.

Garbutt pointed to late March as a potential launch for a new N-central release. Although mobile device management (MDM) is receiving a lot of hype, Garbutt pointed to bread-and-butter opportunities that will help MSPs to better manage routers, switches and the network. "Don't stop at PCs," asserted Garbutt. "The average MSP is not terribly strong at network management; they know servers and desktops. We're giving [MSPs] the technology to get all that -- the network and more -- on their dashboard. Mobile is cool, critical and important and we'll be there. But don't forget the basics of blocking and tackling."

Frequent Fliers

To further evangelize N-able's story, the executive team has been crisscrossing the world.
  • President and COO JP Jauvin is wrapping up a trip to southern Europe.
  • Sales Director Frank Colletti has rallying partners in Northern Europe.
  • Garbutt is hitting the road with VP of Sales Mike Cullen for a tour of Australia and New Zealand, including an Asia Pac partner summit.
  • VP of Marketing and Business Development Derik Belair just returned from California.
During four years of blogging at MSPmentor, I've never caught Garbutt in a downbeat mood. So it's sometimes difficult to measure his current enthusiasm vs. past enthusiasm. But generally speaking, he sounded genuinely upbeat.

The question I still need to explore: Is it really possible for so many different RMM (remote monitoring and management) software companies to all be growing at the same time? And what growth metrics would truly identify market leadership.

In an MSP world filled with so many privately held software companies, the answers are sometimes difficult to find.

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