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Insiders, partners and competitors laud ConnectWise and founder Arnie Bellini after acquisition


By Channelnomics Staff

News of private equity firm Thoma Bravo acquiring ConnectWise has spread like wildfire. ConnectWise always punched above its weight, as it influenced the strategy and operations of companies up and down the technology value chain. The success of the Tampa, Florida-based company drew strong reactions across the industry. The following is a sampling of those comments by people close to ConnectWise and the deal.

The Buzz:
“The outcome for Arnie today is representative of my core thinking on wealth building. He bootstrapped a company to ridiculously impressive levels and exited,” wrote Jamison West, CEO of Teamatics and member of the ConnectWise advisory council. “His equity was his core asset. That mirrors my core thinking. What shouldn’t get lost in this outcome is what happened to the people who have worked for ConnectWise, stayed the course, and had a wealth-building event today. $270,000,000 went to them. Over 70 new millionaires. Many, many others with a significant boost to their net worth. This served as a reminder to me that wealth building doesn’t mean you must be a founder of a business
with significant equity to build wealth. There are other ways to get there, and Arnie created wealth today well beyond himself. This was an impressive outcome for so many people.”

“[Thoma Bravo] is going to fuel a lot of growth. They can fuel and accelerate growth, both organically and strategically, with strategic acquisitions — things we might not have done if we were on a stand-alone basis,” said Stan Levy, a member of ConnectWise‘s board of directors and a banking adviser. “I think they can add a lot of additional platforms like beef up the cybersecurity side which we all know is important. And I think Thoma Bravo is going to help bring them to the next level.”

“I’ve seen a number of former Tech Data employees go off and work with other businesses or start their own. Larger companies like Tech Data or ConnectWise spawn their downstream of an ecosystem of start-ups,” said Steve Raymund, founder of Tech Data and member of ConnectWise’s board. “It’s all good news; these are people that will have some financial resources and a lot of valuable work experience now.”

“Despite our being fierce competitors and rivals, I respect and admire when a fellow entrepreneur achieves such a success, so hats off to Arnie,” said Kaseya CEO Fred Voccola. “Overall, ConnectWise is a good company and has done a tremendous amount of good for our industry – and for the state of Florida. I also appreciate that Kaseya’s intense competition with them over the years has always driven us to step up our game and to continuously innovate our offerings in order to remain the market-leader.”

“Today’s announcement is another strong signal that the MSP market is continuing to thrive. Managed service providers are a must-have for smaller businesses who find themselves practically over-run by the pace of technological change. In addition, the democratization of technology has created opportunities for both the good and bad guys, and security is an area where the SMB simply cannot do it alone,” said John Pagliuca, executive vice president of MSPs at SolarWinds. “The MSP has become more than an outsourced provider; they’ve become a business partner. We believe we are the company best positioned to help the MSP as they look to scale and grow in response to market demand. We have the power of the SolarWinds brand, 22,000 MSPs who use our products, and a deep technology portfolio that we believe will allow us to extend our lead at a pace our competitors will be unable to match.”

“Thoma Bravo has long recognized ConnectWise’s position as a leader and pioneer in the MSP and broader IT services space. For nearly 40 years, the company has been the market leader in providing the most comprehensive integrated software solutions to its community of partners,” said Robert Sayle, partner at Thoma Bravo. “Under the strong leadership of Arnie and the management team, ConnectWise has innovated and created top-tier products and services, and we are thrilled to partner with Jason to enable further success and opportunity for ConnectWise partners.”

“I feel very good because I spent five years on a mission to find the right next chapter for ConnectWise,” said ConnectWise founder Arnie Bellini. “You think about most acquisitions like this, usually you see a new CEO from the outside coming in. No, this is from within. So the management team stays intact, the leadership stays intact, the mission and the vision stay intact … I feel good about it. I feel really good about it. I feel like I did my homework right.”

“I want to get everyone focused on the go-forward. I want to make sure our partners and colleagues understand our five-year plan and our 2019 strategy,” said Jason Magee, the new ConnectWise CEO. “This is not the ending. It’s the start of the next chapter. I’m not Arnie. But we share similar thoughts. I just work through those thoughts a little more methodically. It’s like understanding the difference between Captain Kirk and Captain Picard. Arnie is more like Kirk. I’m more like Picard.”

Read the full article on Channelnomics here.