Crushbank Exec: MSP M&A Is Helping To Grow Our Business

‘The most important piece is continuing to drive new features into the platform at a higher pace,’ says Brian Mullaney, chief revenue officer for Crushbank. ‘It’s a strategic goal of driving Crushbank to our customers a little bit more, and that‘s fast coming.’

Brian Mullaney, chief revenue officer for Crushbank

Brian Mullaney, chief revenue officer for Crushbank

As mergers and acquisitions continue to dominate the channel, Syosset, New York-based software vendor Crushbank is cashing in. By capturing more MSPs, as some of Crushbank’s partners are acquiring other partners, more and more customers are using Crushbank to leverage data.

On top of that, Crushbank is set to grow after receiving $5.5 million in Series A funding this summer to put towards sales, marketing and development.

“We have a pretty aggressive timeline to the output,” Brian Mullaney, chief revenue officer for Crushbank, told CRN. “We spent a fair bit on dev as it stands, and we always have. So this let’s keep doing that and then do a few things that we think are interesting.”

The funding was backed by ConnectWise Co-founder David Bellini, a prior investor, and Arthur Ventures.

CrushBank’s AI and ML-powered platform, CrushBank Resolve, increases the productivity of IT support with a list of recommended solutions when techs first open a customer’s trouble ticket.

Mullaney said Crushbank maintains the application along with about 14 integrations the platform has. They also work to extend integrations.

“The most important piece is continuing to drive new features into the platform at a higher pace,” he said. “It’s a strategic goal of driving Crushbank to our customers a little bit more, and that‘s fast coming. This gives us the ability to do that at a greater pace. We’re going to make it so that you can essentially unlock the Crushbank intelligence to your customer where they put a ticket in.”

CRN spoke with Mullaney about how the funding will help capture more MSPs and how Crushbank Resolve is essential to partners in a red hot M&A market.

What will Crushbank do with the $5.5 million?

We cashed a couple people out, for whatever that’s worth. So about 10 percent of it went to a couple early investors. The net of it was $5 million. So we aggressively ran the business over the last six months, founder funded, with the intention of executing on this round. Really what we’re doing is continuing that burn rate. We‘re adding a little bit to development cycles and we are getting more aggressive or visible from a marketing and sales perspective. So what that means in practice is we are going to do more shows, one or two shows in October and two in November. I want to say last year we probably went to three shows total, which is a byproduct of coming off of COVID and limited resources. This year we’ll probably do eight to 10 and keep that cadence up. A part of it is just getting our message out there and being in front of people more consistently.

The marketing has been run by me personally or a collaborative outsource shop, so we‘ve got a couple offers out to people now to professionalize that process internally both from a full-time role and an outsourced partner. So we’ll put a lot more into marketing both from shows and from actual professional processes and the like. Then we‘ll expand the sales team as well. We’ve got three people working on it right now and the expectation is that that‘ll be doubled by the end of the year.

Talk to me about the development you mentioned.

We’re starting to use the intelligence to somewhat deflect but moreso provide a more intimate experience for the MSPs’ customer. The other piece is to create some cool interfaces to extract value from the day-to-day workflow of an MSP and dump it into ConnectWise. Case and point is like Outlook, not taking all of Outlook and shoving it in there, but if you and I are having a conversation where the result of it is something relevant that a coworker of ours would like the ability to click a button and dump that to Crushbank, then let‘s put that in Crushbank. So the next time someone’s looking for a site and has a similar problem or issue, and we‘ve talked about it in Teams or Outlook or wherever, we can create that. We can pull that data into Crushbank, essentially making Crushbank the glue on the back end of all of these systems that makes the desktop better and the output better. What we’re doing now is accelerating that development around making your data higher quality, more complete and more available to both techs and individuals doing analytic searches.

How does all of that translate to revenue growth for Crushbank?

If we add to addressable marke,t that creates a broader pool of potential clients for us to engage with. The revenue growth for Crushbank is broadening out. It‘s no longer just a per-license experience for say, seven techs or 40 techs who are searching for things. It’s now a company-wide asset because we‘re categorizing all your data for you. It’s easy for me to now go and say, ‘Here‘s the value proposition for your entire organization.’ We get more wallet share but more adoption with the entire organization. It then allows us to be really critical for the merger and acquisition roles. Every acquisition has a data aggregation challenge. So if we’ve got all these integrations, we become an enterprise play for all of these acquisitions to do everything from quality of service, like quality of data. We can just extend every time they acquire a company, all these books, and all these integrations allow us to be really core to the way that they expand.

How do all these new enhancements and integrations translate to partner growth and scalability?

The biggest pushback I would also say to the marketplace overall is tool fatigue. We‘re not another tool, we are a platform that allows you to extract more value from the tools you already bought. So if I’m a MSP and Crushbank is in line, it‘s in front of people’s faces, when they‘re searching through IT Glue, through SharePoint, through Connectwise. I’m creating a scenario that allows me to optimize the investments I already made as opposed to thinking of it as, ‘Oh, here‘s another thing to deal with.’

There‘s a little bit of effort that has to go into training people as to how to use it but the idea is that it’s really unlocking the data you already have as opposed to continuing to solve the same problem again and again. The other is to do some categorization and classification that we automate. It‘s going back to customers and saying, ‘I have done 20,000 engagements for you over the last three years. How do I show you what the root cause of these engagements really is? And if we were going to fix one, two or three things, overall relationship, this would be a 15-minute way to do that without tearing through all those tickets over two or three years.’

The answers already there, is generally our thesis, and Crushbank is allowing you to unlock that to leverage what you‘ve already done so that you’re not just sitting there starting over again.

And the last point is that turnover is real, and costs are real. So if people are leaving routinely and they‘re leaving with those anecdotes and those nuggets, you just can’t start over every single time. Now if someone leaves, I‘ve got their experiences from before and I can leverage them. It’s my intellectual property now as opposed to me just being the caretaker of a bunch of people who happen to be solving my customers problems it at a particular point in time.

Where has Crushbank seen the most revenue growth this year?

It’s been within the merger and acquisition trend within the MSP world, MSPs buying MSPs. Some of our customers are buying other customers so they’re just passively tucking those users in and extending the growth. They see the value of taking that company and making their data searchable and leverageable by using Crushbank. It’s easy for them to justify that this is the platform that’s going to let me scale. That’s a real easy way for us to have like non-sales driven revenue, or creative revenue.

What is your biggest challenge right now?

Teaching people how to leverage the system that’s right in front of them. What I’ve learned and what we‘ve learned over the last three-plus years is that old habits die hard. It doesn’t matter how easy we make it. The first thing we did was go through an extensive effort to put Crushbank where people weren‘t. We used to have a webpage but that was just one extra step and people don’t move screens. So we put it in ServiceNow, in ConnectWise so it’s right in line. We built an extension in Chrome to make it similarly usable. The second thing we did was we built it in, so when you click on a ticket it automatically brought back all the answers. You don‘t even need to do anything. We thought that was enough, the answer is it’s not enough. There is a consistent management process, training process, user process where we have to identify successes. We have to go and look at tickets that our customer spent over an hour on and say, ‘Let’s look at these 20 tickets.’ Let’s [look at] what Crushbank would have passively brought up for them and look at how much time it would have saved them.

So there‘s a lot of coaching and resources out into this. In terms of where we put our money, this is also where we’re putting our money, extending that team to make sure the results are good and to make sure that the customer support and onboarding is complete so that people understand.

So where are you placing your bets in terms of revenue growth for Crushbank in 2023?

Heavily on the consistent or extended trend of private equity investments in these platform companies. Every one of these tends to buy somewhere between two and 10 MSPs below them. Every one of them needs a better strategy for turning that unstructured data from multiple systems into a broad asset that’s worth the money they just spent on the MSP. That’s one, two and three. Behind that, we’re building an easier method for people to categorize data.