Pax8’s Rob Rae: ‘Our European Business Is Growing Like Crazy’

‘Where were seeing actual growth among the MSPs is the typical things we see worldwide­–cybersecurity, cloud and SaaS (software-as-a-service) applications. But there’s a little bit of nuance we’re starting to see in Europe around SOC (security operations center),’ says Rob Rae, corporate vice president of communities and ecosystems.

Pax8 is seeing growth in Europe, fueled by an expanding partner base adopting more cloud and software-as-a-service-based products with a focus on security.

“Our European business is growing like crazy,” said Rob Rae, corporate vice president of communities and ecosystems at Pax8, adding that the company will host its first European conference this year. “We're just everywhere with offices now all throughout Europe. We are growing and expanding and the European market is a key part of that for us. It just makes sense.”

After starting business in EMEA in 2021, Denver-based cloud distributor Pax8 now has more than 5,000 partners in the region and has partners transacting in 39 European countries, according to Pax8 spokesman John Trent. The company declined to disclose data on sales growth because Pax8 is a private company.

“Where we’re seeing actual growth among the MSPs is the typical things we see worldwide­–cybersecurity, cloud and SaaS (software-as-a-service) applications,” Rae said. “But there’s a little bit of nuance we’re starting to see in Europe around SOC (security operations center).”

He said EMEA-based MSPs have a growing interest in SOC services because of cloud and data sovereignty rules that still remain throughout the continent.

[Related: Pax8 Launches Marketplace Mobile App]

“They still have to retain certain data in certain countries,” he said. “The great part for us is we have localized support for these partners.”

Pax8 now has 11 offices across Europe including the U.K, Latvia, Germany, Sweden and The Netherlands.

While its flagship Beyond conference will be held for a second year in June in Denver, Pax will now host Beyond EMEA in Berlin in October.

“I think our first conference, Beyond 2023 in Denver, we were obviously expecting it to be an amazing conference, but I think we well overdelivered on it,” Rae said. “It was even better than what we originally anticipated.”

Eventually Pax8 would take the show to other regions of the world, but Rae said due to the “overwhelming” feedback from its partners, the company decided it couldn’t wait.

Beyond EMEA Will Cater To Local Market

Simon Beckett, director of UK-based MSP Dynacom IT Support Limited, said Pax8 provides efficiency and growth opportunities by putting everything on a single bill, which allows him to identify areas where he could offer additional services.

“The regular updates with our account manager make sure we don't miss any opportunities,” he said. “Pax8 has a really good range of services and good relationships with their suppliers so we can have technical sales help easily from them.”

He’s excited about the EMEA conference as it will cater to the local market.

“It’s great they’re bringing Beyond to Europe, I’ve been to events in the U.S. and they have a different feel. It can be hard to find new suppliers and peers who operate in Europe,” he told CRN. “The security market in particular is quite different in Europe to the US, so an event aimed at the European market is going to be more relevant and rewarding.”

For the 2024 events, Jennifer Bodell, corporate vice president of channel at Pax8, said the firm is bringing back some of the “cream of the crop top sessions” with fresh, new content and then building on top of those topics to dive even deeper.

“The outcome is what are they going to do after Beyond, that’s where the real work begins,” she said. “We're really being thoughtful on what that looks like outside of the conference itself.”

Rae said it’s all about providing that content that the MSP can take away that’s different and disruptive.

“From a content perspective, if you don't deliver enough value they're not going to come back,” he said. “I think we have that advantage with our Academy team. We're trying to create this experience as something different than what they would get normally at an industry event.”

Pax8 Academy offers an entire support team of MSP experts, coaches and peers to propel MSPs forward, according to its website.

And while the EMEA event will showcase everything Pax8 has to offer, it will be catered to the European market. Content for the Beyond conferences will be beneficial for MSP owners, engineers, service managers and sales and marketing roles. And if the need arises, the distributor will bring the show to additional regions.

“Pax8 has made a significant investment in the German market and we're expanding our marketplace throughout Germany,” Rae said. “It's also an opportunity for us to bring the world to Germany and then see what that marketplace looks like.”

Maximilian Pfister, CEO of Bavaria, Germany-based MSP Niteflite Networxx, attended the Beyond conference in Denver last year and said the discussions with the different vendors were extremely valuable. He walked away inspired with new ideas for his own business.

He became a Pax8 partner when the company bought Netherlands-based cloud services distributor Resello, which Pfister partnered with, in 2021. As a Pax8 partner, he said procurement and automation of billing then became that much easier.

And when it comes to Pax8 helping his business grow, it’s all about education.

“It’s discovering new products, new ideas, things that existing customers may need, new technologies and new trends in the market, especially in the security sector,” he said.

Watching Pax8 and the innovations it’s making in America also indicates what’s coming to Europe, as Pfister said the EMEA market is a few years behind.

“SaaS products and cloud services, like Microsoft 365…in Germany, we're still in the middle of the process where in the States almost everybody has already migrated their stuff,” he said. “We still have a vast number of customers that haven't made that step yet.”

Daniel Richers, owner of Germany-based pikoworks it-solutions, said he sees the rapid growth Pax8 has had in Europe and is excited to see their continued journey.

“Pax8 have been committed to helping us grow our business, reduce our risk and become more efficient,” he told CRN. “Beyond EMEA will offer huge learning opportunities and insight into innovations that Pax8 are opening to us to continue that journey.”

As for the 2024 Denver conference, Rae teased what partners could expect. Last year, Pax8 announced a revamped cloud marketplace where MSPs can match up with end users looking to buy direct. A global mobile app just launched this month and the revamped marketplace will launch later this year.

“What we did on stage at Beyond 2023 was pivot away from the way business is traditionally done in our space,” he said. “We talked a lot about how Pax8 is a disrupter and showed technology innovation of what's happening on this particular side, specifically how this market is evolving and how the buyer experience is evolving. MSPs need to stay as the center of everything that is being consumed by the SMB and that is all going to be done through marketplace. We showed the data, we showed the reasons and then we showed the actual technology. We are going to continue that technology innovation path and there is more to that story.”