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Partners Seek Networking, Education at Verizon First-Time Attendee Reception

Verizon First-Timers

CHANNEL PARTNERS EVOLUTION — Today’s channel partners come in all shapes and sizes.

We’re seeing that sentiment in on display this week at Channel Partners Evolution. A crowd of vendors, agents, MSPs, VARs, distributors, master agents and consultants came to the First-Time Attendee Reception sponsored by Verizon Monday night in Washington, D.C.

Some partners defy our traditional categories. Ever heard of IT asset disposition? Or maybe its acronym, ITAD?

Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Tech Defenders buys aged and obsolete technology products and repurposes them. The five-year-old company primarily serves K-12 schools and plans to recycle 320,000 devices in 2019.

Verhulst, Joshua_Tech Defenders

Tech Defenders’ Joshua Verhulst

“If you start buying back equipment and you can fully process it, repair it, add value to it and then get it back out, it’s a very profitable and very scalable business,” said Josh Verhulst, Tech Defenders’ director of development.

The company eventually started buying back equipment when a longstanding partner inquired of them.

“They basically came to us and said, ‘Hey, we have a bunch of stuff. Will you guys get it out of our closets?'” Verhulst said.

ITAD is a relatively nascent industry; one study projected its value to reach $18 billion and double its 2015 size. It’s becoming more prominent as more and more companies like Tech Defenders offer to pay people for equipment.

VARs and MSPs are common partner types that work with the company’s indirect team. Verhulst said Tech Defenders works with any client-facing channel partners that are helping customers adopt a new technology and don’t know what to do with the old stuff.

Kyle Wainwright, Tech Defender’s senior business development director, told us his company is looking for new channel partners at the conference. He said he has already met three or four interested partners at Channel Partners Evolution.

Ashish Jain co-founded Kairos Strategic Consulting, which bills itself as an “extended marketing and strategy team” for channel partners and sales forces. Jain started the company four years ago to focus on customized go-to-market strategies, but the company has expanded its focus. Kairos advises on networking – such as SD-WAN, shared spectrum technologies and 5G – and communications – such as CPaaS, SIP trunking and enterprise security – and how partners can articulate the business value of the technology to specific industries.

“We help connect the dots between the value of the technology and how that translates into the business value for the end customer,” Jain said.

Jain said he hopes to spot new trends by attending Channel Partners Evolution. Specifically, he wants to learn about managed services, quickly becoming the prominent method for the market to consume technology.

“My goal is to really understand how the MSPs are looking at things and how vendors are talking about technology and really understand where where the vendors and the MSPs are aligning in terms of the technologies, in terms of messaging, and see how this market is overall evolving,” he said.

Channel Partners Evolution starts in earnest Tuesday, but there have already been plenty of activities in Washington, D.C., where we are hosting our fall show. Robin Roberts drilled MSPs with great information on marketing Monday afternoon. In the meantime, vendors transformed the barren expo hall floor into a booth cornucopia.


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