Five Companies That Came To Win This Week

For the week ending Feb. 16, CRN takes a look at the companies that brought their ‘A’ game to the channel including Lambda, Keyfactor, Deloitte, Skyhigh Security and Nerdio.

The Week Ending Feb. 16

Topping this week’s Came to Win list is Lambda, a provider of Nvidia and AI cloud services, that raised a stunning $320 million in a funding round this week.

Also making this week’s list are identity security tech provider Keyfactor for surpassing the $100 million in annual recurring revenue threshold, Deloitte for a key acquisition that brings Nvidia platform expertise to the IT consultant, Skyhigh Security for a major expansion of its channel program that enables more partners to deliver professional and managed services, and Nerdio for its own partner program expansion that includes new deal registration and protection. Nvidia And AI Provider Lambda Raises $320M; CEO Plans To Build The World’s ‘No. 1 Compute Platform’

Nvidia tech and cloud AI service provider Lambda got everyone’s attention this week when the company raised an eye-popping $320 million in a Series C funding round that boosted the company’s valuation to $1.5 billion.

Lambda CEO and co-founder Stephen Balaban said in a blog post that his company will use the new funding to accelerate the growth of its GPU cloud, ensuring that AI engineering teams have access to thousands of Nvidia GPUs with high-speed Nvidia Quantum-2 InfiniBand networking.

Founded in 2012, Lambda provides fast access to the latest GPUs and architectures for training, fine-tuning and inferencing of generative AI and large language models.

Lambda was one of the first cloud providers to make Nvidia H100 Tensor Core GPUs available on-demand in the public cloud. Lambda’s product portfolio spans from on-prem GPU hardware to hosted GPUs in the cloud.

“Lambda’s mission is to build the No. 1 AI compute platform in the world,” Balaban said. “To accomplish this, we’ll need lots of Nvidia GPUs, ultra-fast networking, lots of data center space, and lots of great new software to delight you and your AI engineering team.”

Keyfactor Reaches $100M In ARR Amid Identity Security Surge

Staying on the topic of financial success, identity security tech provider Keyfactor this week said the fast-growing company had surpassed $100 million in annual recurring revenue and is setting an ambitious goal of reaching ARR of $250 million in four years or less, CEO Jordan Rackie told CRN.

The $100 million ARR is up from just $7 million in ARR when Rackie joined the company as CEO in June 2019. Some industry observers refer to startups that reach the $100 ARR mark “centaurs,” a name initially coined by private equity firm Bessemer Venture Partners.

Keyfactor is also a “unicorn” – a startup with a market value of $1 billion or more. Keyfactor’s value hit $1.3 billion in October following a “significant minority investment” from Sixth Street Growth

Deloitte Makes Big Nvidia CUDA AI Play With OpTeamizer Acquisition

IT consultant Deloitte has acquired an Israel-based solution provider that specializes in helping clients take advantage of GenAI opportunities on Nvidia-based infrastructure.

With the acquisition of OpTeamizer, Deloitte gains access to a team of developers with strong experience in the Nvidia CUDA parallel computing platform and programming model, said Jim Rowan, a Deloitte principal who leads the New York-based company’s strategy and analytics practice.

OpTeamizer brings to Deloitte a very unique skillset, one that Deloitte is anxious to build on. While Deloitte already has a strong AI practice, OpTeamizer brings a unique CUDA experience, Rowan said.

“It's one of those things where we you see an amazing company and get connected with them through the right channels,” Rowan told CRN. “And then I think what they were offering in the high-performance compute space is really what we're going to be seeing a lot of going forward. So our team was able to get in front of them pretty early and excite them about joining a bigger firm and getting access to a lot of clients.”

Skyhigh Security Looks To Boost Managed, Professional Services Through Partner Program Expansion

Skyhigh Security wins applause this week for rolling out a major expansion to its channel program with the aim of enabling more partners to deliver professional and managed services around its security service edge (SSE) platform.

The update comes a year after the vendor announced its first partner program following the split of McAfee Enterprise. For the initial phase of Skyhigh’s Altitude Partner Program, the company was focused on working with resellers and distributors, according to Scott Goree, vice president of global partners and alliances at Skyhigh Security, told CRN.

With the partner program expansion, Skyhigh will provide training and certification for professional services partners as well as MSPs.

The move includes a commitment that Skyhigh’s internal team will only deliver professional services for the largest enterprises, which often require direct involvement from vendors. For the delivery of professional services to all other customers, “we want our partners to drive that,” Goree said. “We’re carving out a business so [partners] can do the deployment and the professional services on our behalf.”

Key professional services include initial deployment of Skyhigh’s technology as well as expansion to additional capabilities available on the company’s SSE platform.

With the new offering for managed service partners, the company is aiming to significantly grow what has been a “nascent” business with MSPs to date, Goree said. In addition to providing API access to the Skyhigh platform, the company is offering MSPs a choice of consumption models — either upfront payment or monthly, pay-as-you-go invoicing.

Updated Nerdio Enterprise Partner Program Includes Deal Protection System

Speaking of partner program expansions, Nerdio, a supplier of Microsoft cloud technologies management software, has updated its enterprise “Partnerd” Program with a new registration and deal protection system, proposal-based marketing capabilities and funded-partner implementation, among other offerings.

Nerdio also added lead distribution capabilities and quarterly business planning to the program. The company announced the updates during its 2024 NerdioCon event this week.

The vendor reported a four-fold surge in deal registrations over the past quarter, a sign of demand for cloud-based offerings transitioning customers from legacy virtual desktop offerings such as Citrix.

New proposal-based marketing aims to get dollars to partners for marketing efforts. Funded-partner implementations provide incentives for demonstrating, piloting and rolling out Nerdio Manager for Enterprise. Lead distribution aims to better unite partners with Nerdio sellers and customer success teams. And quarterly business planning sessions have a goal of better unifying Nerdio leadership with partners around sales, marketing, training, prospective and more.

The Partnerd program offers three tiers – silver, gold and platinum – based on partner revenue with Nerdio, product discounts, certifications, training, market development funds (MDF) and event experiences offered, among other measures. Partners receive more resources as they move up to higher tiers.

Nerdio, which is adding more AI capabilities to its products, is also investing in a community forum to foster knowledge sharing among partners.