connectwisecapitalInvestment money is starting to flow into the hardware as a service (HaaS) market. A prime example: ConnectWise Capital today announced a "joint venture" with CharTec -- which specializes in hardware as a service. Financial details of the relationship were not disclosed. But here are some perspectives.

According to a joint press release, the:
"CharTec HaaS program enables IT Service companies to offer computer hardware and software to end users with no upfront capital investment."
The release also states:
"CharTec is the first recipient of funding from ConnectWise Capital which will incubate innovative solutions to be sold exclusively through the IT channel."
CharTec, launched by the founders of ARRC Technology, has about 160 partners that promote HaaS to their end-customers.

Rumors about a ConnectWise-CharTec surfaced in late 2009. By January 2010, ConnectWise had unveiled ConnectWise Capital, a $20 million fund to incubate channel-centric technology companies. Some readers took me to task for our coverage, pushing for more details about how ConnectWise Capital would be funded. ConnectWise COO Santo Cannone filled in some of the blanks, but some questions remain.

Specifically, how much money will ConnectWise Capital pump into each company? What are the terms of each investment? What time horizons are involved? And what are the exit strategies? As a privately held company, ConnectWise doesn't have to disclose such extensive details. But I'm still curious about all of those questions.

Next Moves

More moves are coming for both ConnectWise Capital and CharTec.

Later this week, MSPmentor expects CharTec and Level Platforms to announce a strategic relationship with one another.

The timing certainly seems right: Interest in Hardware as a Service (HaaS) is surging. Roughly 47 percent of MSPmentor 100 survey participants say they are embracing HaaS as a recurring revenue opportunity. (Complete survey results for our third annual survey will be unveiled February 10.)

Still, mastering HaaS can be tricky, since MSPs want (A) the benefits of recurring hardware revenue without (B) the risks associated with owning hardware or holding debt on behalf of a customer. CharTec's strategy apparently mitigates those risks.

Meanwhile, I suspect ConnectWise Capital may make one or two more investments within the next couple of weeks.