John Street of Pax8

An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with John Street (founder and CEO) of Pax8, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of Pax8 – what problem were you trying to solve and why?

Pax8 simplifies the way organizations buy, sell, and manage cloud solutions. The company was born out of a gap we saw in the market to cloud-enable SMBs through the IT channel ecosystem. The previous company I founded, MX Logic, a global leader in email and web security services for businesses, revealed the cloud distribution strategy gap. When we tried to work through a traditional distribution model, the value we needed to scale as a vendor was provided, and there was a lot left to be desired.

In 2012, we wrote our first line of code for Pax8. We offer consolidated billing, automated provisioning, and industry-leading PSA integrations through the technology platform and marketplace to modernize the cloud journey for businesses. We paired that with 24/7 technical support, education programs, and a team of trained experts to enable business growth with the cloud.

What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?

We were early entrants in the market, and that presented a challenge around building mass awareness and adoption of the emerging technology. Across our ecosystem, we work with vendors, business advisors, managed services providers, and IT professionals to enable the go-to-market motion for cloud technology. Early on, we had a chicken and the egg problem – if you don’t have any vendor partners and products to sell, the model doesn’t work. Likewise, if you don’t have any clients or business partners, it is hard to get products to sell. With scale, we have overcome that problem, but it wasn’t easy.

We have definitely hit our stride with more than 20,000 partners selling into 200,000+ businesses and 350+ products sold through the Pax8 cloud marketplace. However, we believe the opportunity is still massive and that the best has yet to come.

What does the future hold for Pax8?

We are continuing to expand into new geographies. In January 2020, we opened our first office in Bristol, UK. Now we are working with businesses across EMEA. In the coming months, we are seeking to expand to Australia, New Zealand, and across Asia markets.

Pax8 is also continuing to innovate. We are dedicating more resources than ever to R&D and have a robust technology roadmap that we will reveal in 2022.

What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Greenwood Village?

As a Colorado native, I am the proud founder of five different startup businesses that were all at one time based in Colorado. We have committed to keeping the Pax8 headquarters in Denver and look forward to continued expansion.

What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Start with your eyes wide open about the challenge you are about to take on. Starting a business isn’t for the faint of heart. Make sure you have a real business, not just a clever idea. Make sure you are realistic about the cost to start a company, and make sure you truly have access to the working capital you need to get the company not just to launch, but to real viability. Be sure to understand that the cost of selling is very real – do not assume it to be trivial.

 

For more exclusive interviews, see our full Profile of a Founder series
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