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July 13, 2023
Upstack, bolstered by private equity firm Berkshire Partners and other institutional investors, is buying Sidepath Global’s book of business, while forming a partnership with Sidepath’s VAR division. All four Sidepath Global employees will get positions at the acquirer. In addition, the deal makes Sidepath co-owner and president Jim Andronaco a partner and managing director at Upstack.
Patrick Mulvee, who co-owned Sidepath Global and its reseller counterpart, Sidepath Inc., will keep the title of Sidepath Inc. co-owner. Sidepath for years operated as both a commission-based agency and a resale-based VAR, before splitting in 2020. Upstack has only purchased the agency business.
Keep up with the latest channel-impacting mergers and acquisitions in our M&A roundup.
Upstack similarly bought the agency side of LinkSource earlier this year while forging a strategic partnership with LinkSource’s hardware reseller division.
“Similar to LinkSource Systems, Upstack’s partnership with Sidepath Inc. will expand our ability to support our customers’ hardware needs alongside our existing areas of solutions expertise,” an Upstack spokesperson told Channel Futures.
According to a news release, Sidepath’s leaders mulled offers from multiple investors but chose to go with Upstack. Mulvee said Upstack will serve both Sidepath Global employees and customers.
Sidepath’s Patrick Mulvee
“Upstack is a great fit for us on many levels,” said Andronaco, a Channel Futures Technology Advisor 101 honoree. “The company has the back-office and marketing support to grow and support the agency business. And, it has an existing customer base that we expect to drive new sales opportunities for our VAR business.”
The acquisition brings Upstack’s list of publicized investments up to 29 technology advisors (it announced number 28 in April with Signal Technology Group). Sidepath brings a customer base of 150 and expertise in sourcing data center, UCaaS and other as-a-service offerings.
“Sidepath Global has earned a stellar reputation as one of the industry’s top network and cloud solutions providers. Their consultants are known as go-to experts for data center solutions, which aligns perfectly with Upstack’s roots in the data center space,” Upstack founder and CEO Christopher Trapp said. “In addition to further expanding our solutions expertise, our partnership with Sidepath Inc. will allow Upstck to deliver hyperconverged infrastructure solutions to our clients.”
Upstack’s Christopher Trapp
Andronaco and Mulvee founded Sidepath in 2006 after working at SBC Communications. AT&T acquired the CLEC in 2015. Their partner firm started as a pure telecom agency, sourcing carrier services for a residual commission. They later added IT hardware sales and services to meet a customer’s request.
The company would go on to win eight straight recognitions from the Orange County (California) Register as a top place to work.
Top Workplaces 2022: Sidepath strives for work-life balance https://t.co/uYZ0VjCFBq
— Sidepath (@SidepathInc) December 18, 2022
Both sides of the business, which ultimately spun off from each other in 2020, have seen success. The Sidepath VAR business reached titanium partner status with Dell and principal partner status with VMware. The agency business hit double-platinum status with technology services distributor Intelisys. Single-platinum partners bill more than $1 million per month. Sidepath also maintains elite partner status with Telarus.
The close historical relationship between Sidepath and Intelisys is notable, because many of Upstack’s acquired agencies hold platinum status with the ScanSource-owned TSD. Upstack has announced direct agreements with certain suppliers such as Lumen, whereas many of its agents over the years used national TSDs such as Intelisys to access supplier contracts. However, the residual nature of the agent compensation model means that deals previously sold by Upstack agencies continue to transact through the TSDs.
Upstack competitor Bluewave Technology Group made the news earlier this week with the acquisition of OnCall Telecom. The technology advisor (agent) space has seen a flurry of M&A in the last two-and-a-half years, with outside investors showing strong interest in the high agent model and many agents seeking to scale their business or retire.
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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