AppDirect's AppSmart Completes WTG Integration, Looks To Disrupt The Telecom Channel

A subsidiary of a leading SaaS marketplace vendor, AppSmart has now merged a cloud services provider and master telecom agency, yielding an innovative channel play.


Almost a year ago, AppDirect, a rapidly growing developer of a platform for distributing Software-as-a-Service, made two consecutive and somewhat unusual acquisitions.

The San Francisco-based startup first bought NeoCloud, a Raleigh, N.C.-based cloud services provider, then followed that deal up with an even more peculiar one for WTG, a master telecom agency based in Southern California.

The unorthodox vision was to unite those two companies as AppSmart, a new subsidiary that would focus entirely on empowering the channel to deliver comprehensive cloud services through its parent's marketplace platform.

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[Related: AppDirect Acquires Canadian IT Services Provider Radialpoint]

The integration of former NeoCloud and WTG operations has now been completed, AppSmart co-CEO Vince Bradley told CRN, and the re-launched AppSmart is firing on all cylinders.

"It's what is needed with the speed of cloud today," Bradley told CRN. "The impetus was looking at the telecom industry and seeing that digital transformation was needed."

Bradley, the founder of WTG, said he knows of no other master agency that's merged with a cloud services provider—a formula that positions AppSmart to deliver unprecedented support, guidance and automation to solution providers looking to bring to market a comprehensive portfolio of professional services.

The merger creates a bicoastal company, with Bradley running the former WTG office in Los Angeles; his co-CEO Van Murray (formerly CEO of NeoCloud), the one in Raleigh; and a headquarters at AppDirect's base in San Francisco.

Exclusively through a swelling channel of former WTG sub-agents, MSPs and cloud resellers, AppSmart offers a catalog of hundreds of products and services those partners deploy directly from the AppDirect dashboard that also puts at their fingertips billing, information, quotes, tickets, and other management tools.

"We've created the easy button in the industry," Bradley said.

Bradley saw the trendline years ago, when his WTG sub-agents began grappling with disruptions in their businesses brought on by cloud. Those traditional telecom services providers increasingly were looking to add cloud services, but many struggled because there simply wasn't enough automation in the telecom channel, he said.

Some of those agents were also making big plays with Internet of Things solutions and expanding their practices into mobility and even supplying energy.

While Bradley rejected offers to merge with other master agencies, he said, the AppDirect deal was intriguing because of those trends.

"It’s a perfect fit because there's this whole underserved area of the telecom industry," Bradley said. No company was helping the channel deliver popular SaaS solutions from Google, Microsoft, Salesforce and a proliferating number of ISVs, along with connectivity and energy services.

AppDirect's founders, on the front lines of the SaaS disruption, appreciated the opportunity to fill that void when they purchased NeoCloud, one of the first Google Cloud VARs, and rebranded the company as AppSmart.

"The timing of us joining with them was perfect because they needed more help in the sales firepower area," Bradley said of WTG.

The master agency boosts AppSmart's capabilities by greatly expanding its solutions portfolio, as well as by providing expertise in sales enablement and back office management, he said.

"We were a real good fit for combining with the folks in Raleigh to relaunch AppSmart and go to the next level with it," Bradley said.

With the businesses integrated, AppSmart is truly a channel-led, one-stop shop for all B2B technology services, he said.

The company is now focused on supporting partners looking to build out IoT practices.

AppDirect, relied on by some of the world's largest telecoms for building and curating self-branded cloud software marketplaces, extended its portfolio in 2015 by acquiring AppCarousel, a similar platform vendor for IoT solutions.

AppSmart is leveraging that technology as it develops IoT bundles that package software, connectivity, mobility, and energy services.