Dorothy Copeland, An AWS and IBM Channel Leader, Takes Charge Of Partner Programs at Blockchain Startup R3

‘This feels similar to when I started with AWS in early 2010,’ says the seasoned channel executive who goes back to her roots with a high-growth startup


Dorothy Copeland, a highly regarded channel leader at AWS and then IBM, has left Big Blue to take charge of partner programs for a major blockchain startup.

Copeland, who built the APN partner program at Amazon Web Service before moving to IBM more than two years ago, will drive development of the burgeoning ecosystem at R3, an enterprise blockchain provider partly backed by Intel.

As senior vice president for global partner ecosystem, Copeland will head both R3’s ISV and consulting partner organizations, she told CRN.

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[Related: Blockchain: 5 Things The Channel Needs To Know]

Blockchain presents a massive professional services opportunity, Copeland said, and R3 is now working with many global systems integrators to bring the technology to market.

Copeland aims to further develop and execute that channel strategy while growing the New York City-headquartered company’s existing partner base.

“We are at the edge of a large proliferation of R3 in the marketplace,” she told CRN. “This feels similar to when I started with AWS in early 2010.”

Copeland spent seven years at AWS, where she spearheaded much of the development of the cloud giant’s global channel program. After two-and-a-half years at IBM, first leading the enterprise technology giant’s North American channel as vice president of global business partners, and later as global vice president for programs and business development, Copeland is excited that the move to R3 takes her back to her roots of working with high-growth technology companies.

Blockchain technology is still in a nascent stage, but it’s beginning to be deployed across many industries, usually in small applications or larger applications at small scale, said Charlie Cooper, managing director at R3.

The well-funded startup, which is backed by several major banks in addition to Intel, saw most of its early engagements in the financial services industry. But new customers are coming from the health care, telecom and energy sectors, Cooper said.

R3 Corda is one of a handful of emerging platforms that can underpin applications across a diverse array of industry-aligned use cases. Corda is competing in that market with Ethereum, and Hyperledger Fabric, a framework first developed by IBM.

One of R3’s key strategies, which Copeland will take responsibility for, is working with ISVs that build applications on its platform, which the company calls CorDapps.

R3 built Corda in Java to make it easier for those independent developers to understand and integrate legacy systems with its technology, Cooper said.

“There’s a huge opportunity for ISVs to build on top of our platform, and then for SIs to provide professional services to deploy to customers to bring out the benefits of blockchain,” Copeland told CRN.

Copeland left IBM last month, but was never involved in its blockchain business, she said, as Big Blue focused more on bringing the technology to market through its internal professional services division.

Her former employer is poised to compete with the ecosystem she now oversees, as IBM has been focusing on services and add-ons built on the open source Hyperledger Fabric technology it developed.