IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Rob Rae Joins Pax8 in New Channel Leadership Role

Rae will be the cloud distributor’s first corporate vice president of community and ecosystems, following a nine-year run as head of business development at Datto. By Rich Freeman

Datto veteran Rob Rae has joined Pax8’s executive team in a newly created position aimed at helping the cloud distributor sustain deep, durable relationships with its MSP partners.

Rae, whose official title is corporate vice president of community and ecosystems, discussed the new role with ChannelPro in Dallas on the eve of the first ChannelPro SMB Forum event of 2023, which takes place here today and tomorrow. He will report to Pax8 Chief Commerce Officer Nick Heddy.

“Community and ecosystem are really critical parts of any vendor that wants to get into the MSP space,” Rae says, noting that managed service providers weigh a vendor’s commitment to the channel at least as heavily as its products and pricing when deciding who to partner with.

“A big part of their decision-making process is what’s the relationship I’m going to have with this organization,” Rae says. “Those kinds of things are more important than ever before.”

One of the best-known leaders on the managed services vendor landscape, Rae was most recently Datto’s senior vice president of business development. He left the company after a nine-year run last October some four months after Kaseya completed its acquisition of Datto for $6.2 billion. Datto partners and associates of Rae have been speculating ever since on what he would choose to do next. 

“It was immensely flattering, because there was no shortage of opportunities,” Rae says. “There literally were dozens of really, really good organizations that I talked to.”

According to Rae, Pax8’s culture, leadership team, and investments in its MSP partners all factored heavily in his decision to accept the company’s offer. “Those were all things that were really important to me beyond the financial aspects of selecting your next job,” he says. “Pax8 just hit all the right buttons.”

The company’s dedicated focus on cloud computing was appealing as well, Rae adds. Though global spending on public cloud technologies will climb 20.7% to nearly $600 billion this year, according to Gartner, Rae sees plenty of room for Pax8 and its partners to turn commoditized cloud products into richer solution-based sources of profitable recurring revenue.

“There is still in my mind a massive growth opportunity,” he says.

Rae, who played a key role in readying Datto for its 2020 IPO, adds that he and Pax8 both see a further opportunity for him to contribute should the company decide to go public in the future.

“I don’t think there’s any shying away from that,” he says. “I definitely think that there’s some experience and some learnings that I’ve had over the course of my career that I can bring here for sure.”

Rae plans to spend the next 90 days immersing himself in Pax8’s business operations, channel, and strategy, as well as assisting in preparations for Beyond 2023, Pax8’s inaugural partners conference, which takes place this June in Denver.

“I obviously have a ton of experience at executing conferences,” says Rae, who was a familiar onstage presence at Datto partner conferences. “I’ll have my hands on that one right out of the gate.”

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