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SkyKick Releases Cloud Backup And Management Tools, Secures $10 Million In Additional Funding

The beefed-up product line aims to enable partners to launch cloud practices with Microsoft Office 365.

SkyKick, a startup that has made a name for itself over the past two years with its Microsoft Office 365 migration tool, added a data backup service and a cloud management portal Tuesday to round out its product line.

The Microsoft-aligned software developer based in Seattle also revealed that it has secured an additional $10 million in funding from its current investors to grow the business and further support its partners.

The two new products will help solution providers convert migration engagements into more repeat business and ease the burden of managing thousands of customer endpoints, said SkyKick's two co-founders and co-CEOs, Todd Schwartz and Evan Richman, both Microsoft veterans.

[Related: Microsoft, SkyKick Offer Free Service To Get Channel Laggards To Use Office 365]

"The cloud is pretty new for most partners, but with Office 365, Box and Dropbox, cloud is starting to go mainstream," Schwartz told CRN. "Partners are trying to figure out how to transform their business models. It’s a tremendous effort for them to manage their customers in the cloud."

Since conception, SkyKick's focus has been on making it easier for solution providers, especially those with Microsoft expertise, to quickly establish cloud practices based on Office 365, Schwartz said.

The original migration tool established SkyKick's credibility as a developer by cutting 90 percent of the average time it takes to transfer a typical email platform to Microsoft's cloud service. With the new products that deliver the ability to back up data and manage all Software-as-a-Service applications on one unified platform, SkyKick now offers a complete solution suite for launching a cloud practice, according to Richman.

Cloud Backup, which supports SharePoint, OneDrive and Exchange, offers unlimited backup, storage and retention that's "lightning fast on search and restore," Richman told CRN.

Cloud Manager, a Cloud Management-as-a-Service product, allows partners to manage all their customers, users, licenses and permissions. It supports only Office 365 and Dropbox, but SkyKick plans on incorporating SaaS providers and building up the functionality.

"It's just a start. We'll be adding more providers and more services all the time, as well as more features. We're hoping this will become their command center for their cloud practice," Schwartz said.

The latest infusion of capital will help support the company's 5,000 partners and finance future growth, he said.


"As we grow and add new products, we just want to make sure we're there to help our partners be successful," Schwartz told CRN.

Melanie Gass, president of CenterPoint Solution, a Microsoft cloud consultant based in New York, discovered SkyKick somewhat by chance.

"The challenge was that we were trying to do things manually. It was so tedious. It was extremely difficult being able to scale having to do so much manual processing," Gass told CRN.

A Microsoft employee informed her about SkyKick's completely automated migration tool and she gave it a try.

"We found so much time savings that we were actually able to scale," Gass told CRN. But "migration is only a one-time hit."

Cloud Manager and Cloud Backup both offer distinct new opportunities for SkyKick partners, she told CRN.

What partners need to thrive are "ancillary options" that drive dependable and recurring business, she said, and that's what Cloud Backup delivers.

And Cloud Manager helps the partner be more efficient in managing customers, saving labor expenses.

Gass said SkyKick is developing its products in a way that is well-aligned with Microsoft's long-term strategy, which should help the company continue its solid growth and market penetration.

"From a strategic standpoint, it's not just putting a product to market that’s going to serve their needs today. They've actually architected it for the road map that Microsoft has," Gass said.

PUBLISHED JUNE 30, 2015

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