MSP industry veteran James Lippie said today he’s selling the peer group portion of the business he launched two years ago to a trio of experienced IT service providers, including Thrive Networks co-founder Chris Merrill.

Lippie’s Clarity Channel Advisors (CCA) is selling its Clarity Channel Advisory Group (CCAG) unit, which facilitates advisory groups dedicated to helping MSPs.

CCAG has been acquired by Playground Partners, a joint venture between Merrill and corporate sales trainer John Barrows. Also part of the ownership group is Will Ominsky, who worked as director of channel at workspace-as-a-service (WaaS) provider Itopia, and will serve as managing director of CCAG.

Clarity Channel Advisors has partnered with MSPmentor since 2016 to produce the MSPmentor 501 Worldwide List and Rankings

“I can’t think of a better team of people to build on the CCAG foundation and to provide every MSP with the tools and guidance they need to be successful,” Lippie, who previously served as president and CEO of Thrive Networks, said in a statement. “Now, more than ever, MSPs need fresh ideas and new perspectives on how to evolve their businesses in the face of ever-present and emerging market challenges.”

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Lippie said he would continue to run the Clarity Channel Advisors consultancy.

Calvin Wilder, co-founder and CEO of managed accounting firm SmartBooks, will play a role in providing financial and operational expertise, according to a CCAG statement announcing the deal.

All five men trace their roots in the industry to Thrive Networks, a Boston-area MSP that was founded in 2000.

Since then, Thrive Networks has been sold three times, first to office supply retailer Staples in 2007, then to telecom MetTel in 2014, before landing in the portfolio of M/C Partners in December of 2016.

Barrows, who has provided sales training to firms like Salesforce.com, LinkedIn, Box and Dropbox, said the new operation is perfectly positioned to help today’s MSPs find a viable path to growth.

 “We have an unbelievable team of progressive, forward thinkers, with diverse backgrounds and experience in the MSP industry,” said Barrows, formerly vice president of sales and marketing at Thrive Networks. “This allows us to assist the MSPs in every aspect of their business.”

Clarity Channel Advisory Group will host an inaugural sales strategy webinar on March 14.

 

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