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July 14, 2023
Parallel, a 40-year-old partner based in Dublin, Ohio, has agreed to an undisclosed transaction with Bridgepointe. As a result of the investment, Parallel now uses the branding “Parallel Technologies powered by Bridgepointe,” but the company states that its client engagement and employee tasks remaining the same as before. A Bridgepointe executive told Channel Futures that Parallel brings a healthy customer base in Ohio and the surrounding region, as well as professional services capabilities.
Bridgepointe’s Scott Evars
“Parallel’s white-glove service model and 40-year track record of helping clients navigate the ever-changing tech landscape made them an ideal investment for Bridgepointe,” Bridgepointe co-founder and CEO Scott Evars said. “The firm’s deep commitment to its employees is closely aligned with our culture, and they truly are the perfect partner for us to expand our reach in Ohio and the Midwest.”
Joining forces with Bridgepointe expands its marketing and operations resources, as well as its portfolio of solutions and services.
Keep up with the latest channel-impacting mergers and acquisitions in our M&A roundup.
Parallel’s Don Poling
“Bridgepointe’s strategic investment provides us with an exceptional opportunity to continue to do what we do best, which is build deep and lasting relationships with our clients while building value for our employee-owners,” said Parallel president Don Poling.
Parallel shifted an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) in 2020. Co-founders Marty Jacobs and Joe Redman handed over ownership to Don Poling and three other executives in 2018, and those four in turn brought the company into an ESOP structure.
Parallel maintains an agency and a regional interconnect businesses, according to Bridgepointe chief strategy officer Scott Kinka. The latter division contains a legacy base of premises-based PBX and services such as structured cabling, Kinka told Channel Futures.
Parallel lists Cisco, HP, Polycom, NEC, Barracuda and Mitel among its supplier partners, in addition to vendors that fit more into the agent/TSD model. The company has won partner of the year for CBTS and held platinum partner status with Mitel. Channel Futures has also reported about its success with ShoreTel.
Bridgepointe’s Scott Kinka
But although Parallel provides voice services, Kinka said it wouldn’t be correct to relate them to the many UCaaS providers that act as suppliers in the channel. While Parallel will continue to sell cloud PBX customers in areas when customers ask for it, the channel partner has always accompanied its voice offerings by brokering telecommunications services.
“They were selling and managing PBXes and then attaching carrier services. Over the years, as those [PBXes] have come off of term, they’ve been converting them to UCaaS and acting very much like a more traditional agent in terms of selling UCaaS services,” Kinka told Channel Futures in an interview Friday. “That said, they have a bench that’s able to assist in the conversions to UCaaS and help them manage it.”
Kinka added that Parallel’s roots in the Ohio Valley made it attractive to Bridgepointe. Its local clients include the Columbus Zoo and law firm Bricker and Eckler.
“It’s a great brand; it’s very well known,” Kinka said. “Buyers in that area of the country are a little bit more provincial. They want to do business with a local company that they know. So it was really interesting to for us to penetrate that portion of the country with a company that had staying power.”
Its local notoriety is one of the reasons Parallel is keeping its brand, Kinka said.
Bridgepoint is headquartered in California, but many of its investments and acquisitions have given it a presence on the East Coast. For example, Clover, Wave and Cannon Group are just a few of those targets. Bridgepointe has made numerous acquisitions and investments in technology advisor (agent) businesses since landing Charlesbank Capital Partners as an investment partner early in 2022.
It has been a busy week for transactions in the agent channel after a relatively quiet start to the summer. Bluewave announced the acquisition of OnCall Telecom on Tuesday, and Upstack announced the acquisition of Sidepath Global on Thursday.
Parallel in 2022 bought Youngstown, Ohio-based Perigee Business Technologies, a long-term partner comprised partly of Parallel Technologies Northeast.
Read more about:Agents
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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