Pax8 has transacted with thousands of managed service providers across the Asia-Pacific since launching in 2022 and is now offering 30 products into the Australian and New Zealand market. APAC Chief Executive Officer, Chris Sharp, says its cloud-only model is already “shaking up the distribution chain.”

With 180 employees in the region, Sharp tells TechRepublic that the Asia-Pacific could rise to become one of Pax8’s biggest global regions. If so, it will do this by helping MSPs disrupt their own markets by more efficiently accessing and managing software-as-a-service products to grow their businesses.

What is Pax8’s software distribution business model?

Pax8 is a cloud SaaS marketplace for MSPs, both large and small. It helps them buy, sell and manage cloud products, with a platform that combines automated provisioning and consolidated billing and also integrates with the professional services automation tools used by MSPs.

Chris Sharp, senior vice president at Pax8.
Chris Sharp, Chief Executive Officer — Asia Pacific at Pax8

Sharp says it’s enabling the enterprise software equivalent of an app store download.

“In the old world, you would buy a piece of software, it would get delivered in a physical package and you would implement it,” Sharp said. “Nowadays, just like on your smartphone: You go to the app store and download it, and you make it work. We’re just doing that at the enterprise level.”

Support and education

Pax8 offers in-house support for the products it distributes, rather than directing MSPs back to a vendor. The products made available to a market also work together, so MSPs using the marketplace don’t end up providing what Sharp calls a “technology soup” for customers.

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Pax8 even offers MSPs education and training and professional services support, from one-on-one coaching to helping them build a business and achieve self-sufficiency. This all comes down to helping MSPs “make money, save money and reduce risk,” Sharp said.

How is it seeking to disrupt the traditional MSP market?

The main change Pax8’s business model brings to the MSP market is the offering of cloud SaaS products with instant availability through an online marketplace model. For MSPs, this could make the process of accessing and provisioning products much easier and more efficient.

Immediate distribution through a marketplace challenges traditional distribution models through MSPs, which contain inefficiencies throughout the procurement transaction. Pax8 seeks to streamline the process and offer a technology platform to make managing it easier.

“What we enable is our partners to get the right products and services at the right time for where they are in their growth cycle,” said Sharp. “We have to help them disrupt some of the markets they are into, help them find new customers and help them find new services that they might bring to market.”

Smaller MSPs and businesses stand to benefit

This could empower challenger MSPs, particularly those who service small and midsize businesses, to tap into Pax8’s products. In addition to billing efficiencies, the support and education could help them grow their business into new markets, shaking up more established players.

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Sharp hopes this could see a higher level of service for MSPs and customers at the SMB level.

“Think about all the businesses in Australia that are SMBs,” said Sharp. “We are enabling our partners to deal with the coffee shops, the hairdresser, the gyms, in the same way as our biggest businesses.”

How has Pax8’s launch gone in Australia and Asia-Pacific?

Pax8 launched into Australia and New Zealand in April 2022 with seven products. As of October 2023, it has already grown to 180 employees in the Asia-Pacific region and is operating in seven countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Since launching, Pax8 has expanded its distribution to 30 products in Australasia, with a focus on security. For example, in 2022, Todyl’s cybersecurity products were added to the Pax8 marketplace, while in 2023, it announced that email security provider Valimail as well as cybersecurity products from both CrowdStrike and Blackpoint Cyber would be made available.

Sharp said its launch into the local Australia and New Zealand market had gone “incredibly well.” As well as expanding its regional headquarters in Brisbane, initiatives have included holding quarterly partner advisory councils, including large and small MSPs.

What growth prospects does Pax8 have into the future?

Pax8’s has an addressable market of about 6,500 MSPs in Australia and much larger numbers in markets such as Southeast Asia, India, China and Japan. The global enterprise cloud market is also predicted to experience significant growth, with a sizable chunk in the security market.

With a growing regional marketplace portfolio, particularly in the security area, Sharp said he was confident “there is a massive change coming and a really big opportunity for partners” in the region. He expects the regional business will grow headcount significantly year-on-year.

Globally, Pax8 collaborates with over 90 vendors (and growing) around the world, so Asia-Pacific MSPs could expect a larger number of products to become available in the region. Pax8’s global business also currently works with a total of approximately 30,000 MSPs.

SMB technology needs will drive some of Pax8’s growth

Some future regional growth will be driven by smaller MSPs. Sharp said many businesses and side-hustles that started during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic were turning into something real now, meaning there were “more companies that need to be serviced by partners.”

“We’re here to help those partners,” Sharp said. “So we think the transactions (through the cloud marketplace) aren’t going to slow down — they will continue to increase. Our partners will also grow up into larger customers, and there will be a whole pile more who will come through beneath that.

“We are an Australian-headquartered Asian team, so we are here in Australia, and we will be investing a lot in the market around people and technology and other things. How big could we be? I don’t know, but I don’t see a cap at the moment, and that’s what really excites me.”

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This is your go-to resource for the latest news and tips on the following topics and more, XaaS, AWS, Microsoft Azure, DevOps, virtualization, the hybrid cloud, and cloud security. Delivered Mondays and Wednesdays