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January 10, 2024 |

Q&A with Jimmy Hatzell: How the ‘Magic’ of AI Sparked a New Company and Why MSPs Should Embrace Artificial Intelligence

Thanks to a recent $2.5 million raise in seed funding, Hatz AI is taking his knowledge into a hot new territory: artificial intelligence as a service.

This isn’t Jimmy Hatzell’s first rodeo.

Despite his young age, the CEO and co-founder of Hatz AI has a storied history of building channel programs for several technology services providers, so he’s intimately familiar with what it takes to introduce new and seemingly intimidating ideas to MSPs. Thanks to a recent $2.5 million raise in seed funding, he’s taking his knowledge into a hot new territory: artificial intelligence as a service.

Hatz Logo

Hatz AI Logo

Hatz AI – which Hatz co-founded with serial entrepreneur Aidan Kehoe – enables MSPs to build an AI-as-a-service business with AI applications, AI agents, vector storage, and custom large language models (LLMs).

It is powered by an LLM Ops engine called Mido, and features multitenant management through an MSP admin dashboard. The company is set to make its products generally available in March, aiming to empower MSPs worldwide to build their own AI-as-a-service businesses, according to a press release.

“My mission is to make it as easy as possible for them to build their own AI future because my business doesn’t work without them,” Hatzell told ChannelPro. “They are the ones who have the relationships with the customers. They’re the ones who can bring AI to the customers at scale. I am trying to just be in the background helping make it as easy as possible.”

Hatz AI is working with three MSP launch partners ahead of its release: PCH Technologies, Avtek Solutions, and LAN Infotech. The company also is signing up new MSP partners on its website.

Here, Hatzell chats with ChannelPro about his background, the benefits MSPs can expect through Hatz AI, why it’s important for IT services providers to embrace AI, and more:

ChannelPro: How did you get started in this type of business?

Hatzell: I have a background in cybersecurity and product in the MSP channel. I worked at various tech companies and studied cybersecurity in college. I ended up at a company called SKOUT Cybersecurity, where I helped build out the original channel program for SOC as a service at a time when very few people were doing that.

Later, the company was acquired by Barracuda, and I helped integrate XDR (extended detection and response) into its MSP program. Afterward, I joined CyberQP and helped it go to market in the MSP channel. I’ve been to numerous channel events and talked to thousands of MSPs. AI has come up in many conversations, which sparked the idea for Hatz AI.

ChannelPro: It’s impressive that you saw the potential of AI in the MSP channel before it became a big trend. Can you tell us more about that journey?

I’ve always been involved in bringing new technology to the MSP market, even before AI. Many cybersecurity products I worked with were offered by MSPs for the first time. AI was a natural progression. When I first used ChatGPT, it felt like magic and inspired me to bring AI to MSPs. While there are AI use cases, I couldn’t find a solution tailored specifically for MSPs to build their own AI-as-a-service business. That’s how the idea for Hatz AI was born.

ChannelPro: How do you ensure that MSPs stay ahead of the curve in adopting AI?

Hatzell: MSPs have a history of adopting and adapting to new technologies. The key is to focus on engagement and introducing customers to AI in a simplified way. In the long term, MSPs can play a vital role in managing AI infrastructure for their clients. There’s a significant opportunity for MSPs who prepare themselves to handle AI adoption and data readiness for their customers.

ChannelPro: What benefits can MSPs expect when they use Hatz to build an AI-as-a-service business?

Hatzell: MSPs can use our technology to optimize their daily workflows and familiarize themselves with AI. Our multitenant platform allows them to manage multiple generative AI services for their customers from a single platform. They can quickly build specialty applications and deploy them across multiple tenants.

Additionally, they can offer secure organizational AI chat with logging and tracking on a per-company basis. We are also agnostic to language models, allowing flexibility in choosing the best model for their use cases.

ChannelPro: What are some specific AI applications MSPs can offer their customers through Hatz AI?

Hatzell: Our AI application builder enables MSPs to create customized prompts and inputs for customers. This allows customers to interact with AI in a user-friendly way, like filling out a form or using simple controls. MSPs can build apps for various use cases, such as summarizing reports, generating emails, or creating different formats of content. It simplifies AI usage for nontechnical SMB customers.

ChannelPro: There are concerns about AI, such as hallucinations. How do you address these challenges, especially in ensuring customer trust?

Hatzell: AI is not perfect, and hallucinations are a real concern. Education and understanding the risks are crucial. The key is to use AI in a secure manner and maintain awareness of its limitations. While AI has its place, it’s important to balance its use with critical thinking and human judgment, especially in sensitive areas like contract writing.

ChannelPro: Regarding the seed funding round your company received, can you tell us how you plan to use that funding and what it means for Hatz AI’s future?

Hatzell: The funding primarily goes into product development and creating educational materials for MSPs. We want to equip MSPs with the knowledge and tools to succeed in the AI-as-a-service business. Our focus is on building a robust platform and helping MSPs understand AI and its potential.

ChannelPro: How are you ensuring the security of Hatz AI platform, especially given your background in cybersecurity?

Hatzell: Security is a top priority for us. We benefit from having a deep cybersecurity background, and our platform is built with security in mind from the start. We are even in the process of obtaining SOC2 certification. We are committed to providing a secure environment for MSPs and their customers.

ChannelPro: How long has Hatz AI been in development, and what are the immediate plans for the company?

Hatzell: We’ve spent about a year iterating the idea and testing product designs. We recently formalized our team and plan to launch in March. Our initial launch partners will have early access, and we’re also building a waitlist for new partners. Our immediate focus is on getting the product ready for launch.

ChannelPro: What else can you share about AI and Hatz AI’s mission?

Hatzell: In 2024, AI will be a part of every small business. MSPs need to embrace AI, even if they’re not ready to start an AI-as-a-service business yet. They should educate themselves and position themselves as trusted advisors to their customers in the AI journey. We want to make it as easy as possible for MSPs to integrate AI into their offerings and help them succeed in this new era of technology.

Image: Hatz AI

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