MSPmentor 250: Carey Balzer’s Texas-Sized Acquistion Strategy
Carey Balzer, an MSPmentor 250 member, is bringing order to Texas’s managed services market. As president of White Glove Technologies, an MSPmentor 100 company, Balzer has led a decade-long acquisition strategy. The result: White Glove now ranks among the top MSPs in Texas.
“I saw a very fragmented MSP market [a decade ago],” said Balzer. “There was no dominant force in Texas. Just a whole bunch of little folks.” Balzer saw this as an opportunity and began to move “little by little” from telecom to the IT services space before turning White Glove into a full IT service provider in 2008. Then he and the rest of the White Glove team started moving in on those little folks.
Among the key company moves, White Glove Technologies acquired:
- Accelerated Digital Solutions in October 2009
- Gravity Technical, Inc. in November 20009
- Fintan Technologies in January 2010
- RIATA Technologies in August 2010
- Primus Networks in March 2011
Along the way, Balzer also managed to acquire great talent — including White Glove CEO Tommy Wald, an MSPmentor 250 member who previously was CEO of RIATA.
“Our investments have been in acquisitions instead of developing our own models,” Balzer said. “We think it’s a much more cost-effective strategy.” But at White Glove Technologies, it isn’t all about finding the most cost-effective strategy. It’s also about delivering what Balzer described as the “White Glove Experience.”
“Our company name is based on how people talk about the highest level of service you can possibly give,” Balzer explained. “To us, that means being very service-oriented. We know we will run into problems in this business. But we have to focus on how we respond to those issues.”
It also means becoming vertically-focused. White Glove started as a melting pot of IT know-it-all’s but has since been divided into five teams to focus on each of its five main verticals: legal services, professional services, healthcare, small businesses and science & technology.
Translation? No big call center for clients to navigate through before reaching an IT pro who knows their business. “We’ve never sold our solution by speaking heavily about our technology,” Balzer continued. “Our sales model has always been to understand a client’s environment and show them how they can get a better outcome with our solution.”
The combination of acquisitions and vertically-focused service has catapulted White Glove into 16 different U.S. markets in just three years. White Glove has been ranked in the Inc. 500o three years in a row and named #1 Network Integration Firm in Austin by the Austin Business Journal, and is a 2011 MSPmentor 100 company.
But as big as the company gets, Balzer maintains that there’s plenty of work to do in Texas before expanding into new regions. “We still compete very locally,” Balzer said. “There’s plenty of opportunity for us here in Texas.”
Among the opportunities, predictably: Cloud computing. Said Balzer, “We have always been dabbling in the cloud. We think of the cloud as just another way for people to buy services. It has some advantages and some disadavatages. We [MSPs] have to advise a little more. The onus is on us as an industry to figure out how we adapt as the cloud becomes an alternative. It’s one more level of complexity.”