Jason Beal, AvePoint‘s first-ever channel chief, has quietly exited the company. The software provider on Wednesday said it’s hiring Heather Murray to replace him, with the title of chief channel officer.
Murray is expected to expand AvePoint’s relationships with partners, including MSPs, solution providers and systems integrators, according to the announcement. Murray joined AvePoint after nearly 25 years at TD Synnex (Tech Data before last year’s merger with Synnex).
In her most recent role at Synnex, Murray was VP of vendor marketing. Murray announced her move to AvePoint on LinkedIn: “We will grow the channel business to new heights,” she noted. AvePoint declined to make her available to discuss the move.
Besides adding more channel partners, AvePoint said Murray would expand its distribution networks and cloud marketplace. In addition to Murray, AvePoint said it hired Angela Choo as VP of Channel, Asia. Choo joined AvePoint from BitTitan, where she managed strategic partnerships.
“Elevating our indirect sales business and prioritizing it across our entire company is one of our key areas of growth,” said AvePoint founder and CEO Tianyi Jiang.
“Elevating our indirect sales business and prioritizing it across our entire company is one of our key areas of growth,” said AvePoint founder and CEO Tianyi Jiang. “And with Heather and Angela’s leadership, we will continue to invest in a world-class channel program.”
According to a company spokesman, Murray’s predecessor, Beal, left AvePoint in late June and said he is pursuing other opportunities. Beal declined to discuss his departure at this time. AvePoint tapped Beal in late 2020 to build a channel program as the company prepared for its IPO last year. Until last year, AvePoint primarily sold its data protection, governance and cloud migration software direct to enterprise customers.
Built from Scratch
Looking to expand its addressable market, Beal said he built AvePoint’s channel program from scratch. He had the background, having helped launch Ingram Micro Cloud over a decade ago. Before joining AvePoint, Beal was a senior channel executive at Palo Alto Networks.
He quickly ramped up AvePoint’s partner program, which went live last summer. AvePoint launched the program with roughly 1,800 partners last summer and added about 1,000 in the previous 12 months.
During the recent Channel Partners Conference and Expo in Las Vegas, Beal discussed the program’s progress.
“Three-quarters are active MSPs, meaning that they have active seats under management projects, but they’re doing backup, migration and data governance,” he said at the time.
Beal said the goal was to add another 1,000 partners this year. AvePoint now says it has 3,500 partners, over 100 distributors, and cloud marketplaces.
During AvePoint’s 2021 fiscal year, ended Dec. 31, SaaS revenues of $85.6 million grew 65% year-over-year, Beal noted. Total annual recurring revenues of $159.2 million increased 34% year-over-year.
Beal was one of Channel Futures’ 50 Channel Influencers for 2022, having “arrived at AvePoint with a sense of urgency.” Besides building the partner program from scratch, Beal helped expand AvePoint’s presence beyond its historical focus on the Microsoft ecosystem. AvePoint aligned with the Google Workplace and Salesforce partner base.
One of Beal’s initiatives before departing was to build up a certification program for AvePoint partners. The company on Wednesday officially launched its Certified AvePoint Professional Services (CAPS) program. AvePoint said CAPS expands on its new AvePoint Certification Program. So far, 1,100 partners are certified after completing more than 3,000 hours of training.
Cloud Platform Enhancements
The channel management change comes just one day after AvePoint said it had enhanced its cloud platform. AvePoint improved the SaaS application resilience and security of its platform. Among the additions to the platform are expanded Microsoft Azure workload backup capabilities for MSPs through its Elements portal. It gives MSPs multitenant management.
AvePoint also introduced additional Salesforce backup functionality, such as ensuring sandbox data is updated with accurate and anonymized data. AvePoint said the release also offers compliance risk reports and incident auditing for Microsoft 365, among other enhancements.