Mastermind behind the masterstroke: Joe Wang
Joe joined Impartner in 2015, when he, along with $700Mgrowth equity firm Kennet Partners, acquired a majority ownership of the company, then known as TreeHouse Interactive. Mr. Wang’s record includes 25 years of growing high-tech businesses and generating tremendous returns for his investors. Wang holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Peking University, a master’s degree in managed information systems from Renmin University of China, and a master’s degree in communications management from the University of Southern California.
As CEO at WatchGuard Technologies, Wang successfully turned around the declining business. Prior to WatchGuard, Wang made his mark as CEO of local software powerhouse LANDesk Software; an Intel spin-off, where he grew the company by 150% in four years. He successfully sold LANDesk Software for over $400M, generating 11x returns for share- holders. Before LANDesk, Wang was vice president and general manager of Symantec’s Enterprise Administration Division. Wang joined Symantec by selling them 20/20 Software, a company he founded and of which he was the CEO. He built 20/20 Software from conception to a growing and profitable business.
In colloquy with Mr. Wang
Why was the company set up? How did you select the vertical and decide to be a part of the global platform?
After clearly realizing that the Partner Relationship Management industry was a greenfield market, on the cusp of catching fire, and after more than a decade of incremental growth, I made the acquisition with Kennet Partners in 2015. This spike in market demand comes as more and more companies struggle to find enterprise sales talent, making the indirect channel hotter than ever as a scale pedal for revenue. Companies without a contemporary PRM solution to automate operational basics and create a friction- less partner experience are falling behind those that do, causing corporations worldwide to upgrade their channel tech solutions to make sure they stay on the edge.
Tell us about your first product that was launched?
While Impartner’s PRM solutions are not new, nearly immediately after acquisition, we refactored its core solution to be scalable, repeat- able and adoptable by main street corporations and not just early tech adopters. Our PRM’s highly engineered, yet simple to implement 3-step Velocity process can have companies up and running with a new PRM solution in as few as 30 days.
Can you discuss the company’s growth rate?
The results have been extraordinary. In the past year, we have grown our new customer base by 156% per- cent, grown the number of partners signing into partner portals from 2 to nearly 3 million, reduced our customer churn by 42 percent to an industry low, and added world leading corporations in a host of verticals from Splunk to Ingersoll Rand.
What kind of responses have you received from your consumers over the years? How have they motivated you?
PRM is not new but what is new for us is the refactoring and product innovation of our SaaS-based solution, that can have companies up and running, out of the box, in as few as 30 days. In addition, as part of our channel first philosophy as a company, we’ve continually introduced a stream of innovations that make it easier and simpler for channel teams to update their portals in real time, without having to work through IT—making them more nimble and more profitable.
What challenges do you face as a company? What can your peers learn from it?
The demand for channel technology solutions is long standing, but the challenge has always been balancing the need to provide customers with the instant product and security updates they want, with the customization that they need to meet the specific needs of their channel. Our hybrid tenancy model lets us provide that combination of speed and security plus flexibility to our customers. Our counsel to any SaaS company would be finding a way to provide that balance that still allows you to have a scalable, repeatable business model.
What is a typical day in your office like?
Intense but exciting. Our leads are up 3,900 percent. We’re busy working to refine the sales process and get new customers up and running. It’s the best challenge to have.
How big is your organization today?
We’re up to about 90 employees from 25 at the acquisition about two years ago.
To what do you attribute the consistent growth of the organization?
Credit goes to my team. No matter how good your technology is, building a company and building an industry is step-by-step hard work and requires extraordinary focus and effort.
What do you feel freshers and peers need to keep in mind to figure out a place for themselves in today’s marketplace?
You cannot underestimate the power of nimbleness, and your ability to continually shift and refine your strategy. If it takes your company three to six months to make a meaningful pivot in response a major change in your market’s dynamic, you’re at risk of falling behind.
Where do you see you and your company a couple of years from now?
With the growth trajectory we’re on, and the team and technology we’re building; the sky’s the limit.