CloudHealth's New CEO Is Ready To Keep Scaling With A Red-Hot Market

Tom Axbey starts his new job of CEO at CloudHealth Technologies on Monday ready to keep the cloud management vendor's tremendous momentum rolling.

Axbey (pictured) is taking the reins of a startup fresh off a multi-million dollar funding round, with a surging customer and employee base, as well as an expanding partner community.

"To be able to walk into a rapidly growing company with an expansive technology roadmap, with a full balance sheet, is sort of a dream come true. No changes are needed. It's just how quickly can we scale this," Axbey told CRN.

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Axbey, who spent almost a decade as CEO of Rave Wireless (now Rave Mobile Safety), is filling the shoes of CloudHealth founder Dan Phillips, who will stay on as chairman of the company's board of directors.

Axbey sees in CloudHealth a company that has differentiated itself in a rapidly emerging, and increasingly competitive, multi-cloud management market by committing to a channel-centric business model, he said.

"CloudHealth right from the get-go identified partners as strategic, and that's always been part of the business' strategy. Most companies start direct and then want to scale with partners. The whole dynamic of this company is to make partners successful," he said.

We’re excited to announce that Tom Axbey has joined the team as President & CEO!

That partner-centric approach now needs to be extended globally, with new MSP and reseller alliances around the world, Axbey said.

Axbey led Rave Wireless, a Framingham, Mass.-headquartered vendor of cloud-based safety products, to a recent acquisition by a private equity firm.

Phillips, who's been CEO at CloudHealth since its founding in 2012, spearheaded the selection process for his successor over the summer after raising a $46 million D-round, with the goal of moving closer to an IPO.

Phillips told CRN after that funding was secured, it was time for someone else to take over corporate leadership as he was no longer at a point where he could make the necessary decade-long commitment to overseeing day-to-day operations.

"We have an opportunity to be a leader in this cloud services management market many years from now when it's exponentially larger," Phillips said.

CloudHealth offers a management platform for enterprises and another for partners.

The partner solution supports MSPs with thousands of remote customers, enabling them to manage not just customer environments, but also billing, reports and subscriptions. Those partners can also use the platform to provide a unique management console to each customer individually.

That partner solution has been a differentiator in a red-hot market, Phillips told CRN.

"We don’t see a lot of companies doing that, and we really have a platform that from a scale perspective, industrial strength perspective, is quite far ahead of other companies in the market today," he said. "We just need to continue to build out this partner platform with all the functionality our partners are looking for."

Axbey has followed CloudHealth's progress since its founding, first made aware of the company through a mutual board member.

He saw the technology as "Tivoli in the cloud," which resonated with him "as a winning premise," he said, referencing the pioneering systems management software that was acquired by IBM in the 1990s. (Axbey was an IBM executive after Big Blue's Tivoli unit acquired Micromuse, where he was a senior vice president).

CloudHealth's potential was further bolstered in his mind by what he saw as the development of a "highly effective channel strategy."

The cloud management market is booming as enterprises increasingly adopt multi-cloud architectures, but want a single visibility and cost-optimization solution to manage them.

CloudHealth has been doubling employees and revenue every year and adding big-name customers of the likes of Pinterest, Dow Jones, and Amtrak.

While Axbey is currently in the process of taking over Phillips' office, he won't be there for long. The company will move next year to a new headquarters in downtown Boston.

"If I was going to leave [Rave] it was going to be a perfect storm of opportunity, and that's what I saw in CloudHealth," the new CEO said.