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AppDirect Plans MSP Push With $185 Million In New Funding

The rapidly growing startup, valued at $1.5 billion, has become a mainstay in the telecom channel. Now it plans to invest heavily in R&D that enables regional channel partners to drive their customers’ digital transformations through its cloud commerce platform.

With a whopping $185 million funding round revealed Wednesday, AppDirect is ready to ramp engagement with MSPs using its cloud commerce platform to drive digital transformations, AppDirect Co-CEO Daniel Saks told CRN.

The fast-growing startup, founded in 2009, has made huge strides with telecoms and large enterprises looking to deploy their own curated software markets, with a roster of name-brand customers that includes Comcast, Honeywell, Vodafone, ADP and Deutsche Telekom.

On the other end of the spectrum, AppDirect has also tuned the technology to support the practices of master agents, VARs and MSPs hoping to realize more subscription revenue by seamlessly delivering popular Software-as-a-Service offerings.

“We’re really focusing now on incentivizing MSPs and VARs to come on our platform,” Saks said. “We really want to put more focus on the MSP vertical in particular.”

[Related: AppSmart Expands Executive Team With Former Ingram Micro Cloud Leader]

The latest round brings the San Francisco-based company’s total funding to $465 million, bumping up its valuation to $1.5 billion—well in IPO territory, although there are no immediate plans to go public, Saks said.

Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), a large Canadian pension fund, joined AppDirect’s existing investors in the latest round.

While AppDirect is closely associated with the telecom channel, much of that funding will go to R&D efforts aiming to deliver value to regional solution providers that want to launch digital storefronts.

“I’d really encourage them to reach out,” Saks said. “It’s good timing.”

The company will also accelerate its road map to support MSPs and telecom agents by earmarking capital for more strategic channel partnerships, Saks said.

“We want to keep capital available for those merchants who want to work with us,” Saks said.

Many of AppDirect’s channel alliances run through AppSmart, a subsidiary launched last year when it unified operations for NeoCloud, a Raleigh, N.C.-based cloud services provider primarily focused on Google Cloud, and WTG, a master telecom agency based in Southern California. AppSmart later purchased Detroit-based master agent Telegration to boost that emerging business.

AppSmart now offers a catalog of hundreds of products and services its channel partners deploy directly from the AppDirect dashboard, along with billing, information, quotes, tickets and other management tools.

After AppDirect bought NeoCloud, WTG and Telegration, Saks saw first-hand the dearth of technologies available to businesses that deliver cutting-edge services.

“While the channel sells technology, there’s very little technology for the channel,” Saks said.

AppDirect will aim to further remedy that problem by enabling back-office support and expanding access to a catalog of digital services like single sign-on, centralized management and intelligent recommendation engines that go a long way in helping enterprises navigate the complexity of digital transformations.

“What we recognized very quickly by enabling [AppSmart] agents to come onto our platform, it was really a game-changer for those agents,” he said.

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