Five Companies That Came To Win This Week

For the week ending March 8, CRN takes a look at the companies that brought their ‘A’ game to the channel including HP Inc., Viavi, CrowdStrike, Cloudli Communications and Axonius.

The Week Ending March 8

Topping this week’s Came to Win list is HP Inc. and its plans to offer channel partners extensive training courses and certification in AI, offering the kind of education solution providers need to answer customers’ questions about AI. A shout out to Nvidia for helping to develop the course content.

Also making this week’s list are Viavi Solutions for its acquisition of telecommunications test specialist Spirent Communications and CrowdStrike for its deal to buy Flow Security, a data security posture management startup. UCaaS specialist Cloudli Communications is here for its preparations to go after the underserved micro-SMB to small business segment in the United States. And cybersecurity asset management vendor Axonius wins kudos for raising $200 million in an extension of its Series E funding round.

HP Teams Up With Nvidia To Offer Amplify Partners ‘AI Masterclass’ Training

Businesses and organizations are increasingly looking to their solution providers for guidance about AI technology. So HP Inc. wins applause this week for its plans to launch a new AI training and certification program for channel partners.

Called Future Ready AI MasterClass, the program will be powered by the vendor’s HP University and will cover a “range of topics designed to equip partners with the knowledge they need to educate and advise customers on the right AI products and solutions to meet their needs,” according to the company.

The program, unveiled at HP’s Amplify Partner Conference in Las Vegas this week, is set to launch May 1.

HP is teaming up with chip designer Nvidia to develop the initial courses and certifications. HP plans to create additional programming with other alliance partners in the future.

In an interview with CRN, HP Global Channel Chief Kobi Elbaz called AI MasterClass a “first-in-the-industry” program that will feature training courses and certifications tailored for specific roles in a channel partner’s organization, whether they’re technical- or sales-oriented.

Viavi To Acquire Spirent Communications For $1.3B To Drive 5G, AI

IT communications company Viavi Solutions is buying telecommunications test specialist Spirent Communications for approximately $1.3 billion in a move to accelerate the company’s moves into artificial intelligence, 5G and cloud-native innovation.

Viavi CEO Oleg Khaykin said combining the two companies’ communications and test technologies will boost its products and applications, as well as accelerate growth in new markets.

“We are uniting two teams with a shared passion for developing compelling and cutting-edge offerings for customers and a commitment to technological excellence,” Khaykin said in a statement.

Viavi is a global provider of network test, monitoring and assurance offerings targeting industries such as telecommunications, cloud, aerospace and first responders. Spirent’s offerings address the test, assurance and automation challenges of technologies—including 5G, SD-WAN, cloud and autonomous vehicles.

The goal of the acquisition is to drive greater engineering, research and development, and design capabilities to accelerate new offerings and product innovation, particularly around AI and machine learning, security, cloud-native architecture and automation.

“Combining with Viavi brings together a highly complementary product offering which can be marketed globally,” said Spirent CEO Eric Updyke in a statement.

The acquisition will position the combined companies to bring to market innovative offerings across high-growth cloud service providers, enterprise/IT networks, 5G private networks, 6G+ and positioning, navigation and timing verticals.

CrowdStrike To Acquire Data Security Startup

Speaking of strategic acquisitions, CrowdStrike this week struck a deal to buy Flow Security, an Israel-based data security posture management startup, in a move that will help CrowdStrike expand into the fast-growing DSPM space.

Flow Security, founded in 2021, stands out as “the industry’s first and only cloud data runtime security solution,” CrowdStrike co-founder and CEO George Kurtz said Tuesday during the company’s quarterly call with analysts.

Following the closing of the acquisition, CrowdStrike plans to fully deliver native Flow Security DSPM capabilities within CrowdStrike’s Falcon Cloud Security as part of the Falcon XDR platform, enabling customers to consolidate cloud point solutions and protect the entire cloud estate, CrowdStrike said.

During the earnings call CrowdStrike reported that fourth-quarter revenue grew 33 percent year over year, fueled by triple-digit growth with MSSPs.

Cloudli Communications Deepends Channel And Sales Bench, Readies U.S. Expansion

UCaaS specialist Cloudli Communications is ready to go after the underserved micro-SMB to small business segment in the United States and is expanding its team with that major opportunity in mind, the Montreal-based company’s newest executives told CRN.

Chris Holloway and Ryan Herrmann, two seasoned telecom and channel sales leaders, are coming on as Cloudli’s senior vice president of sales and vice president of channel sales, respectively. The two will work in concert to extend awareness of the company’s UCaaS platform that will include additional offerings, such as SD-WAN, access and security over the first half of the year through the channel to smaller, technology-dependent organizations.

The Cloudli name has been around in the Canadian market for a long time and it’s a pretty well-known staple. What it isn’t is a staple in the U.S. Our goal here is for the brand recognition component of it. We’ve identified where to play, how we’re going to play and what we’re going to do to play and win in that space,” said Herrmann (pictured). “This is going to be our coming out party stateside.”

Cloudli, which does 100 percent of its business through partners, brought in telecom industry veteran Jamie Minner as its new CEO in January as the company kicked off its transformation plans for 2024.

Holloway said that the company is going to “aggressively” go after the micro-SMB and small business segments in both Canada and the U.S. in 2024. In these market segments, the company wants to be a “premier” partner, he said.

Axonius Raises $200M In Funding, Eyes Acquisitions And Channel Investments

Axonius raised $200 million this week in an extension of its Series E funding round as the cybersecurity asset management vendor looks toward potential startup acquisitions and further investment in its work with channel partners, Co-Founder and CEO Dean Sysman told CRN.

The new funding round was led by Accel and Lightspeed Venture Partners, and included participation from Stripes, the company said. The company has raised $595 million since its launch in 2017.

Some of the new funding is expected to go toward developing new ways of working with partners – professional services being an example – to help joint customers get additional value out of the Axonius platform, according to Sysman.