Managed services veteran Sean O’Connell likes working with start-up software companies. And this time, O'Connell -- a Kaseya veteran who also had a brief Nimsoft stint -- has an opportunity to work with a software start-up in his home country of Britain. In a Skype chat earlier today, O'Connell described why he invested in CentraStage and why he ultimately joined the cloud software company. Here are highlights from the conversation.

First, a little background: CentraStage offers a cloud-based remote management and monitoring tool. But O'Connell doesn't want CentraStage to be pigeonholed into the base RMM market. He explained why in our conversation...

MSPmentor: What attracted you to CentraStage?

O'Connell: "My background all my life has been working for small U.S. start-ups. When they grow and get big it's not as exciting. CentraStage was of interest because they're a British company and I'm a Brit. It was exciting to see someone outside of the U.S. introducing innovations to service providers. Originally I saw it as an investment opportunity but when I met with Christian [Nagele] and Ian [van Reenen] and some of the additional founders we clicked. I was in the right place at the right time, and it was an opportunity for me to have skin in the game with potential ROI for me in an industry I know. Plus, CentraStage was built for the cloud."

MSPmentor: How many employees do you have, and are you still planning to push into the U.S.?

O'Connell: "We're at about 20 people. Plans are still afoot for the U.S.; it's still in the cards. We'll probably do some type of [U.S.] soft launch in May [2011] then go full-out in the September [2011] time frame."

MSPmentor: We've heard about some MSP challenges in Europe. How do you see your local market and are you growing?

O'Connell: "I think Europe trailed the U.S. recession by about 18 months. Right now there's a huge amount of uncertainty in the European governments. When people are worried they tend to spend let. But if you get it right, people turn to technology to help ease [budget concerns]. But we're absolutely growing and we don't want to pigeonhole ourselves. We don't want to be known just as an RMM tool. We want to be a cloud-based platform for IT delivery."

Next Moves

I'm especially curious to see how CentraStage attempts to move into the U.S. market, where roughly a dozen RMM software providers have entrenched installed bases. O'Connell says U.S. success will depend on a range of factors, including delivering the right user experience in the cloud, marketing to the right audiences, and making sure CentraStage's software runs locally in a U.S.-based hosting center.

In the mentime, O'Connell seems to be studying the U.S. market closely, and he may make a trip to the Autotask Community Live conference (May 22-24, Miami, Fla.).