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Unitrends Gets New CEO, Says Will No Longer Remain Quietest $100M Vendor

Joseph F. Kovar
Kevin Weiss

A former top McAfee exec has returned to the IT industry as the new president and CEO of data protection software vendor Unitrends.

Kevin Weiss, who served as president of security vendor McAfee until 2006 and has since worked in venture capital and consumer-facing companies, is taking over the top spot at Unitrends with a mandate to increase channel investment and boost its brand awareness.

Weiss replaces Mike Coney as Unitrends' top executive. Coney left the company in December to pursue other ventures, a Unitrends spokesperson told CRN.

[Related: All-In-One Backup Provider Unitrends Acquired By Insight Venture Partners]

Weiss told CRN his move to join Unitrends was spurred by the opportunity to work in the fast-growing storage market with a vendor that has done very well but has not been fully rewarded for its efforts, despite its late-2013 acquisition by investment firm Insight Venture Partners.

"Unitrends is in a space that's not going to slow down any time soon," he said. "The growth in data is ridiculous. It's not going to stop. We're also seeing growth from new regulations and requirements for protecting data. Also, Insight Venture is known for being willing to aggressively invest in growing its business."

Weiss said Unitrends has had impressive growth in the U.S. and plans to aggressively grow internationally. However, he said, it has been way too quiet about its success, a situation he plans to change.

"Unitrends' revenue is nearing $100 million annually, but no one knows it," he said. "A lot of technology companies never hit $100 million. There's a big opportunity for us to put wood behind the arrow and get people to know who we are."

For 2015, Unitrends plans to invest heavily in the channel, with a focus on recruitment, education and certifications, Weiss said. This will include investment in more self-service capabilities for partners including deal registration. "We will make sure channel partners see increased opportunities," he said.

The company also plans to invest in branding, Weiss said. "So when we cross the $100 million mark in a couple of months, we won't be the quietest $100 million company," he said.

NEXT: Unitrends Plans Channel Investment, More Acquisitions


Unitrends also plans to explore opportunities for new acquisitions, Weiss said. "We want to give our sales team and channel partners more solutions to sell," he said. "I've learned in the past that it's easy to sell new solutions to satisfied customers. We'll look to build our MSP solutions, and expand our cloud-based backup and disaster recovery solutions. We have these today, but could leverage new technology developed by us or by others."

Unitrends has in the past year shown it is not shy about potential acquisitions. Unitrends in May acquired Australia-based Yuruware, a developer of technology for running virtual machines and virtual networks in nearly any public cloud.

Unitrends in December 2013 acquired PHD Virtual, which developed backup and disaster recovery virtual appliances for VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix virtualized environments.

Unitrends already has a good cloud-based data protection solution, and its channel program has become much better compared to a year ago, said Todd O’Bert, president and CEO of Productive, a Minneapolis-based solution provider and Unitrends channel partner.

"When we first started with Unitrends a couple years ago, it had more of a direct sales mentality," O'Bert told CRN.

Productive has used Unitrends to compete successfully against a variety of vendors from Symantec to Veeam, O'Bert said. "The products work," he said. "People like it. And Unitrends has a real hit with its dedicated data backup appliances."

The one thing Unitrends needs most of all is more formalization of its channel programs, including market development funds and joint marketing, O'Bert said.

"I'd like to see them better say how we can better partner with them," he said. "I want them to help us continue to trust that we can work better with them. But then, that last part is something I could say about every manufacturer."

PUBLISHED JAN. 8, 2015

Joseph F. Kovar

Joseph F. Kovar is a senior editor and reporter for the storage and the non-tech-focused channel beats for CRN. He keeps readers abreast of the latest issues related to such areas as data life-cycle, business continuity and disaster recovery, and data centers, along with related services and software, while highlighting some of the key trends that impact the IT channel overall. He can be reached at jkovar@thechannelcompany.com.

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