Startup MokaFive has built a buzzy market reputation for solving the challenges of tethered virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). But it wasn't until this year that the company rolled out an indirect channel strategy and realized it had hit upon an untapped growth opportunity.
Bill Thompson, vice president of worldwide channels and sales at MokaFive, said that after launching its channel program in the summer, MokaFive's pipeline increased by $300 million in three months.
"We were primarily direct," Thompson told CRN in an interview at UBM Channel's Best of Breed conference earlier this fall. "But we needed breadth, and through the channel you get the widest breadth. Now, the organization is 100 percent channel focused. We want partners who want to invest."
Founded in 2005 and based in Redwood City, Calif., MokaFive offers a microkernel-based solution that runs a virtualized Linux, Max OS or Windows desktop on a customer's own hardware, inside of VMWare Player.
What MokaFive's software does is divide the desktop stack into OS, app and data "virtual layers." A central server provides management for the virtual desktops -- which MokaFive calls Live PCs -- but the client executes locally, meaning no tether is needed, unlike in traditional VDI.
MokaFive offers 70 different policies for adjusting security and behavior of each LivePC. Any lost or stolen devices can be remotely killed.
"It's easy to implement. It's not a difficult story and you can make good margin on it," Thompson said. "VDI, traditionally, can be a challenge to implement. We manage the golden image on one server pushed out to thousands. This is a very small barrier to entry for the customers, and also low-risk."
The company has taken in about $36 million in venture capital funding over the past seven years. In recent months, it's added strategic partners, including a distribution agreement with Tech Data in September.
Thompson said the partners who have joined MokaFive thus far did so because they saw gaps in their BYOD offerings. In one of many moves to make it easier for partners to demonstrate its capabilities, MokaFive created an online portal where partners can download a standard image from MokaFive to use in a proof-of-concept, customizable with the partner's own logos.
"We really compete with traditional VDI, which has done a great job of getting the market going and has a lot of partners behind it," he said. "But we're not a VDI solution. We don't really make a virtual machine; we encapsulate and manage a virtual machine."
Dan Hurd, principal at Complete Tablet Solutions, an Austin, Texas-based solution provider, said the MokaFive platform has proven appealing for distributed workforce customers, such as those in utilities and other types of service organizations.
"We see the MokaFive solution fitting well with any situation where there is a distributed workforce that requires security and central management," Hurd told CRN. "So work force automation for service companies like HVAC contractors would be a target. Sales or technical teams that are populated over a large area such as regional or national footprints can also benefit."
Hurd said that what MokaFive offers presents a natural extension to the device integration services he's offering -- a way to expand a deal.
"If we're going to make money in the future, we need to go a little further than hardware or software solutions," he said. "We need to integrate that into a full services package."
PUBLISHED DEC. 20, 2012