For AlertOps, Humanize IT, and Vonahi Security, it’s two hurdles down and one to go.
The first hurdle the three tech startups cleared was being selected from among a record-setting pool of applicants as one of 18 contenders for top prizes in ConnectWise’s 2022 PitchIT Accelerator Program. The second hurdle was being named one of three finalists.
That leaves one last hurdle: winning first prize in the PitchIT competition, and with it $70,000 of investment capital.
In a sense, though, the three companies are already winners. The second-place finisher will take home $30,000, and all of them will get free booths in the expo hall at ConnectWise’s IT Nation Connect event in Orlando this November plus one-on-one coaching from former PitchIT champions.
Like the other 15 PitchIT contestants, all three companies also participated in a 16-week incubation process that included workshops in sales and marketing, product development, channel-building, operations, and more, and received extensive coaching in communications and other essential skills for IT entrepreneurs.
Those activities culminated in an online “Battle Royale” hosted by IT network and marketplace Channel Program in which each vendor got five minutes to pitch their solution to an online audience of MSPs who then picked their favorites. Together with input from a panel of M&A consultants, industry experts, and other luminaries who served as judges, those audience votes determined the three finalists now advancing to the final round.
“The unanimous consensus was that their products were great for the space, they matched up to ConnectWise, and they had really good plans in place for what they’ve already done and where they’re going,” says Sean Lardo, the ConnectWise evangelist running this year’s PitchIT program. “That was huge for us.”
It helped that the three finalists offer widely needed and complementary products as well. AlertOps, for example, makes software designed to consolidate and act on security alerts more efficiently. “We have automated escalations and multi-channel notifications as well as downstream automation with respect to workflows,” says Kamalesh Srikanth, the vendor’s manager of customer experience.
The system lets users route alerts dynamically in customized, customer-specific ways based on type of issue, time of day, and other variables. They can also create, close, or update tickets, either automatically or with a single click, and build standard operating procedures for incident response, Srikanth notes. “Once those are templated, it's really a click of a button to get that launched.”
Humanize IT, meanwhile, makes sales software designed to help MSPs close business faster and more reliably by converting technology presentations into business conversations. The system uses anonymous, aggregated data from across an MSP’s customer base to score clients in relation to other businesses on architecture, service, risk, and strategy. Users can then present that data, along with specific suggestions for raising scores, on a readable, user-friendly dashboard.
The result for most subscribers is dramatic gains in monthly recurring revenue, according to Adam Walter, Humanize IT’s founder. “They spend more time talking about the client and what they need, rather than spending the whole time explaining to them what Azure is or the latest SSD array,” he says. “The client doesn’t care. They need to know how you’re going to help me and my business succeed.”