CRN Exclusive: ClearCenter Plans To Invest Up To $50M In Partner Ecosystem Under Channel Vet, HPE Alum Raddon

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ClearCenter, aiming to shake up the IT market with its Linux-based operating system, ClearOS, is prepared to sink serious funds into its channel program following the addition of Blaine Raddon to its executive team last month.

The Orem, Utah-based vendor hired Raddon, an industry veteran with 28 years of experience at IBM, Juniper and HPE, as senior vice president of sales last month to spearhead ClearCenter's channel charge. The push includes the establishment of a channel management team under Raddon, a strategic partnership with HPE and an infusion of $40 million to $50 million around certification, training, marketing programs, and incentive offerings over the next several years.

"We need to have a relationship with the channel, not necessarily their customer," said Raddon. "When they realize they can trust us and that we give them the account control they're looking for, and we're not in that business, that's going to separate us out from competitors. They've had to understand which companies are direct companies and which ones are channels. We are a channel-based company."

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Helping fuel ClearCenter's forthcoming channel push is an exclusive deal with HPE built around ClearOS. The agreement, announced in June, makes the innovative operating system available on HPE ProLiant servers and gives users the option to begin a free 30-day trial post-install.

The HPE partnership will quickly create new market opportunities for ClearCenter, Raddon said, because roughly 85 percent of ProLiant servers are sold through the channel. He hopes to tap into existing HPE channel relationships and train the giant's account managers to effectively sell ClearOS, which already has 400,000 paying users and a total of 10 million who use either the free or premium versions.

CEO Michael Proper, who founded ClearCenter in 2009, added that the company is "really just starting" its outbound sales offensive.

"This industry is ripe for disruption, ripe for growth and we don't see anyone from a tech or competitive channel program standpoint offering anything like this," Proper said. "When we start sprinkling real money on it, it's going to change a lot of these conversations."

In addition to funneling resources into the low-touch conversion strategy built around HPE and its partners, ClearCenter plans to attack the space by developing key partners that have either attained dominance in a specific geographic region, or ones that have established a strong brand around their own services.

Solution providers that have done the latter, Raddon said, can confidently build on the "vanity free" technology of ClearOS without worrying about ClearCenter brand placement.

"They can rebrand our stuff, build on top of it and feel comfortable they can put their brand in front of it," Raddon said.

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