MARKHAM – On Thursday evening, Datto officially celebrated the opening of their expanded office facilities in Markham, Ontario, with newly appointed CEO Tim Weller and transplanted Canadian Rob Rae, Datto’s VP of Business Development, having flown in for the occasion. They were joined by Billy Pang, the MPP for Markham-Unionville, Alan Ho, the local Markham Councillor for Ward 2, and a full house of Datto staff and reseller partners.
Those partners included Steve Weeks, President of North Vancouver-based Datto partner Netcetera, who took part in the ribbon cutting with Weller. Netcetera was Datto’s first Canadian based partner.
“We joined up with them in the early days, back in 2009, long before they had any direct presence in Canada, and when they were a very small company, working out of the basement,” Weeks told ChannelBuzz. Datto founder Austin McChord started the company from his parents’ basement.
Early in 2012, Datto expanded its presence in Canada, by beginning to work with Saskatoon-based Modest Mycyk and Nova-Tek Innovations, which served as a master reseller for the Canadian market. Demand was so strong, that Datto decided to set up shop in Canada with their own physical presence later in 2012. It was a far cry from the present facility, said Rob Rae, Datto’s VP of Business Development, who had just recently been recruited to the company himself back then.
“Our first office was down in Scarborough, and if you ever saw it, I apologize if you did,” Rae told the attendees at the ribbon-cutting. There was a strong chemical smell, and some other people who were at the facility were wearing masks. I wondered if we should be wearing them as well. It was quite some time before the smell went away.”
Rae noted that that original location met Datto’s main need at that time, however.
“It was cheap,” he said.
Their most recent digs before the new ones in Markham were in Scarborough.
“Our new offices here are at least double the size of those,” Rae said. “It’s also a much nicer space.” It contains amenities like a room to do demos, which they didn’t have before.
The company now has 22 employees in the Markham office.
“The growth in Canadian staff has all been organic,” Rae said. “We acquired Autotask in late 2017, but they didn’t have any employees in Canada.”
Datto also has around 1100 Canadian partners, a healthy chunk of Datto’s worldwide number of close to 14,000 partners. Partners outnumbered Datto staff at the ribbon cutting, and while most were from the Greater Toronto area, some had flown in for the occasion.
Billy Pang, the local MPP, attended the ceremony, thanking Datto for coming to Markham with their expanded presence. He began his presentation by singing a short jingle that Ontario was again open for business – a tagline of the recently-elected provincial government. It was a theme he then emphasized again in his prepared remarks, which to the apparent delight of the audience, were quite brief.
“We are pumped about this,” Weller said of the new offices. He also noted they have another new office opening up in their Albany N.Y location. “Our head office in Norwalk is starting to look relatively old and tired,” he joked.
Datto’s growth potential in Canada remains a serious matter, however. From its modest origins, it has become one of Datto’s core international markets, and the company still sees major growth potential here.
“97 per cent of the businesses in Canada are SMB, which is our target market,” Rae said. “We still look on all of Canada as green fields. We started doing well in the big metros and are now seeing significant growth in the suburbs as well as other cities like Calgary, Kelowna and Banff. We go out to more distant places like Halifax and St. John, New Brunswick as well.”
“We have a very broad presence in Canada, including selling north of the Arctic Circle,” Weller said.
Alain Lefebvre, Chief Operating Officer of Great White North, a Datto partner based in Timmins, in northern Ontario, attended the event.
“About half of our clients are based in the north, and we specialize in aboriginal groups, with First Nations, Metis and Inuit clients,” he told ChannelBuzz. “In these markets, they are used to people coming in with technology projects, taking the money, and never going back. We specialize in providing that ongoing support. All of our tools are hyperspecialized for these more remote markets.”
Weller noted that while he had sent a message to partners assuring them of continuity after becoming CEO, his transition from the COO position to the CEO role when McChord decided to step down from leadership after selling the company when Autotask was acquired has been a pretty seamless one.
“Austin is one of those very self-aware founders, without an ego, which is not the case with many tech founders,” he said. “Many have their lives rooted in their job and will kick and scream not to leave. Austin just has a lot of interests, and decided that he could do them without being Datto CEO. Last week we announced that we found him a job! He’s now a full-time VC with General Catalyst in Boston, working as a venture partner, looking for the new Dattos. Austin was happy to endorse me right away and the rest of the team and the culture is intact.”
Weller said that Datto would continue to strive for openness in the industry.
“When we acquired Autotask, we knew that everyone else would be forced to react, and that has been the case,” he said. “Our plan that was we would be entirely open – not ‘Bill Gates at Microsoft-open’ but ‘Linux-open’.”
“We want to lead by example in an open ecosystem, and that’s what we are going to do,” Rae said. “At our events, all our competitors can come and get a booth, with no limits on what they can show.”
Weller commented on the recently-announced Kaseya acquisition of IT Glue, which was consummated two years before it was formally announced.
“We knew they were close, although not that IT Glue had been acquired,” he said. “When we were doing an IT Glue deal, we were negotiating with Kaseya. I can tell you we won’t do that. If we buy something, we won’t hide it. Integrations are difficult enough without trying to act as more than one company. We have put millions of dollars into our own integration. In that respect, we look on ourselves as more of a slow and steady company in some ways. We know that in this business, you are only as good as your last support ticket.”