NaaS Specialist Meter Launches First Partner Program, Nabs Cisco Meraki Sales Leader As Program Head: Exclusive

Alongside the introduction of its first formal partner program, Meter has also nabbed former Cisco Meraki executive Adam Ulfers as its new VP of sales, overseeing partner program efforts.

Network-as-a-service specialist Meter believes that now is the time to officially bring in the channel.

The nine-year old company is launching its first partner program for VARs, consultants, MSPs, distributors and ISPs. The company’s NaaS offering powers tens of millions of square feet in more than 125 cities, making the new partner program the next step in the company’s ambitious plans to have channel involvement on 100 percent of its business opportunities, Meter’s executives told CRN exclusively.

“Our product is so mature now we feel objectively and subjectively very confident that we have the best product on the market. We believe now’s a great time to really go and scale our partner [efforts],” Anil Varanasi, CEO and co-founder of Meter, told CRN.

Alongside the new partner program, Meter is making investments in channel headcount, starting by bringing on Adam Ulfers as the company’s new vice president of sales. Ulfers in his new role will lead Meter’s partner program and expand the company’s sales team.

Ulfers hails from Cisco Systems where he spent more than a decade in a variety of roles in both the company’s cloud networking and Meraki business units. He most recently served as Cisco’s vice president of sales, GVSE Americas.

“[Cisco] has a long, storied history of channel partnerships. What we’re doing today is launching [our] large-scale partner program and we’re officially leaning in [with partners],” said Varanasi.

[Related: NaaS Player Meter Teams With Cloudflare To Bake DNS Security In Network Infrastructure]

Meter plans on bringing in a channel chief and a full channel team at a later date, executives told CRN.

San Francisco-based Meter has been working with partners on an informal basis that came to the company organically, at times, through existing customers. The new partner program will help to formalize the company’s efforts in working alongside channel partners. This will include identifying sales leads and bringing in partners, while providing an easy sales process and partner collateral inside the soon-to-be-launched partner portal, while Meter handles the network infrastructure.

Meter is initially offering both a sell-through and referral-based models for partners, Ulfers said.

“We’re focused on delivering on the long-term goal of delighting customers now and building partnerships that will last for many years and in the future,” he said.

NaaS is a great fit for a partner’s portfolio because the offering is a fit for customers of all sizes, Ulfers said.

“I think it’s the perfect time. The market is very used to a channel motion and we think that a NaaS product is really differentiated in the market. As we introduce [NaaS] to the partner community, they’ll notice that it’s ready from an architecture, hardware, software and operations standpoint, and that there’s also some very favorable economics to the program as well,” he said.

Channel partners today interested in offering NaaS often must put forward the capital for the networking hardware, software, the installation, service, maintenance, monitoring, and upgrades of that network. Meters eliminates the heavy upfront investment for VARs and MSPs, Ulfers (pictured above) said.

“Meter has taken its time to develop a product that can provide that reliable, simple, scalable experience for customers … and get the product in a place that’s ready for mass adoption, and that translates directly to partners,” he said. “We’re going to be offering something disruptive to our partners in a way that they can construct offers and consumption models [for] their customers.”