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CRN Exclusive: ProtectWise Expands Partner Program With New Channel Additions

Security startup Protectwise is making a big bet on the channel as it looks to stand out in a crowded market.

Protectwise is making a big bet on the channel as it looks to make a place for itself in a crowded market for security startups, revealing Wednesday that it has further expanded its partner program.

Denver-based Protectwise is 100 percent focused on the channel, said Mark Rotolo, vice president of sales, offering a network security solution that leverages the cloud for better visibility, detection and response capabilities.

Since joining the company last August, Rotolo has worked to build out the company's partner program and go-to-market approach through the channel, he told CRN exclusively.

[Related: 10 New Cloud Security Startups That Are Making Their Mark]

"What we're trying to do is feed the channel and get them excited," Rotolo said.

That escalation paid off Wednesday with the revelation of the company's first round of top-tier partners, a list that includes Optiv Security, GuidePoint Security, Critical Start, InnO4, Secuvant, Navilogics, Forsythe, FishTech, Tevora and OnX.

Changes to the Protectwise partner program since Rotolo came onboard include implementing a guaranteed margin percentage that starts at 15 percent to 18 percent, providing access to demo systems, and starting to build out deal registration. These enhancements are key, he said, as ProtectWise looks to distinguish itself in a noisy market for security startups.

"I'm always looking to enhance [the partner program] … to come up with new ideas that are innovative and get them excited about the channel program and differentiate us from what's out there," Rotolo said.

Bill Strub, co-founder of St. Paul, Minn.-based NaviLogic, partners with many security startups, including ProtectWise. He said a startup's focus on the channel is a critical factor he considers when adding it to his vendor portfolio.

"When we look at our partners, we focus on partners that have innovative products and high integrity, and we have really strong levels of engagement. Their commitment to the channel is pretty key for us," Strub said.

Strub praised the company's channel leadership, including Rotolo, for being "fantastic since Day 1" and listening to input from partners about how to improve the program going forward. NaviLogic closed its first deal with ProtectWise early in the first quarter, he said.

Rotolo said ProtectWise will continue to focus on its partners, investing in those that have already signed up and recruiting other "boutique" partners where it makes sense without oversaturating the market. A particular focus of that investment will be training, he said, to help the company's partners better understand the value of and sell its solutions.

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