Bluewave Technology Group Taps Curt Allen for Advisory Role
Channel Futures. By James Anderson. April 1, 2022
Columbia Capital-funded Bluewave Technology Group is enlisting the services of decorated channel sales leader Curt Allen.
Allen will work as strategic adviser with the technology advisory and life cycle management company. He’ll advise on corporate development strategy and execution. That includes go-to-market, vendor relationship and M&A strategy, Allen told Channel Futures. Meanwhile, Allen will continue working at the EagleTEQ Advisors consultancy he runs with his friends.
Bluewave has leveraged a $75 million investment from Columbia Capital for both organic growth and agent acquisitions. As of February, the company had acquired at least six firms. Bluewave CEO Seth Penland said his team continues to grow.
Former Cologix founder and CEO Grant Van Rooyen recently joined Bluewave as chairman of the board. In addition, former Windstream head of solution development Gabe Tuerk joined as chief information officer. Allen brings experience both as a channel chief at Vonage and Windstream, and president of technology solutions brokerage X4 Solutions.
“Curt has the right combination of channel industry experience coupled with a strategic vision of how the marketplace is evolving with a different business model to best serve the needs of the customer — the Bluewave approach,” Penland said. “Curt will work with us to continually expand our services that focus on optimizing client technology through the entire life cycle from purchase to management.”
Allen said Bluewave’s emphasis on life-cycle management attracted him to the company. Penland said in an interview with Channel Futures earlier this year that the company will do more than just technology sourcing and contracting. According to a blog, Bluewave’s eight-step process also includes procurement, implementation, billing, change management and reporting.
Allen said the agent channel has evolved from selling point products to holistic solutions.
“If someone needed UCaaS, we sold them UCaaS. If someone needed connectivity, we sold them connectivity. But now the interoperability of all these solutions makes it imperative that customers not only get provider-agnostic consulting, but that they get it to run the span of their stack. Because these things are all interconnected,” Allen said.
Moreover, Allen said customers are asking for their sourcing partner to do more in the technology life cycle for them.
“The reason I think it’s going to be really effective is because it’s not some magical idea that we came up with. It’s what the market’s starting to demand,” he said.
Allen said Bluewave is not rushing its approach to M&A. For one, he said the company needs to find the right fit. Allen said multiple financial options exist in the market for agents that are looking for a buyer, and none of these options is one-size-fits-all. In addition, Allen said Bluewave is committing to organic growth.
“We believe that if we don’t make another acquisition, we’re going to build a wildly profitable business. So we’re not going to acquire for financial arbitrage,” he said. “If we acquire companies, it’s because we want that leadership team, customer base, people and their skill sets to come join this thing and be part of the team.”
A Massive Turnaround
Sandler Partners bought X4 Solutions in 2016. However, at the time, outside investors had told Allen that businesses like X4 were “unsalable.” That was due in part to the fact that technology solutions brokerages (TSBs) didn’t own the customer. However, the tides have turned, and private equity is pouring into agents and TSBs alike.
Allen pointed to the ScanSource-Intelisys deal as a transaction that helped the channel grow its reputation in the investment world. Allen said investors in the last five years have seen more and more of the value agents provide to their customers.
“These are attractive businesses. For a generation now, we’ve been able to deliver evolving technology really efficiently to a wide swath of customers for a really large group of providers,” Allen said.
However, Allen said channel partners need to keep emphasizing execution and customer experience.
“If we lose track of that, then the music stops, and there aren’t a lot of chairs,” he said.
Bluewave helps companies purchase and manage cloud, network, and communications technologies in a better way. Our streamlined, customer-centric approach of evaluating, sourcing, managing, and supporting technology solutions simplifies the entire technology lifecycle across multiple service providers and partners. Learn more.