Ex-Tandberg Execs Launch Collaboration Startup With Eye On The Channel


Acano, a collaboration startup and brainchild of former Cisco and Tandberg execs, has unveiled its flagship virtual conferencing platform that will sell 100 percent through the channel.

Acano coSpaces, which came to market this week, are virtual meeting rooms Acano says can bridge together different video, Web and audio technologies, allowing users to connect with one another regardless of the devices or collaboration solutions they already use.

"We have a differentiated solution because of our ability to take traditional technologies -- audio, video and Web -- and combine them into one unique user experience called the coSapce solution," said Larry Satterfield, Acano's global vice president of sales. "The coSpace solution really offers up to the marketplace an engaging way to change their workflow and group people into conferences inside their enterprise and outside their enterprise in a very simple way."

[Related: Partners Urge Cisco To 'Catch Up' In Wake Of VMware SDN Offensive]

According to Acano, coSpaces support all major video standards, along with third-party integration into Microsoft Lync 2010 and 2013 Server, Cisco Call Manager, Cisco VCS, SIP endpoints including those from Cisco, Polycom and LifeSize, and, eventually, Avaya SIP PBX.

Users can also tap into a coSpace meeting from a variety of Windows or iOS devices, ranging from desktops to smartphones, and can switch between those devices during a meeting without interruption.

"You can move meetings from device to device, meaning I can carry that meeting with me," Satterfield said. "I can start a meeting on my iPhone and then move it to my iPad if I move into an environment where that's a better way to meet, or I can move to a video endpoint without ever disrupting the call."

Acano already sells coSpaces 100 percent through the channel, and it has eight reseller partners out of the gate. Acano's partner focus likely stems from its management team; almost all of Acano's top executives came from Tandberg, the videoconferencing company acquired by channel mainstay Cisco in 2009.

Among the Acano team is CEO O.J. Winge, previously senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Collaboration Technology Group, and, before that, executive vice president of products at Tandberg.

Acano CTO Mark Blake and Vice President of Products Jan Nielsen also have roots at Cisco and Tandberg.

Michael Werch, president and CEO of Video Guidance, a Bloomington, Minn.-based solution provider and one of the first partners to sign on with Acano, said it was the strength of Acano's leadership team that first piqued his interest in the company.

"We knew that, with the team behind them, whatever they roll out is going to be phenomenal," said Werch, who was a former Tandberg partner prior to the Cisco acquisition. "And, conversely, they know how we go to market, they know how we sell value and they know what we bring to the table."

Satterfield said Acano hopes to scale its global partner base to roughly 50 reseller partners as it continues to push adoption of coSpaces. Satterfield said Acano is specifically targeting MSPs or solution providers that have a hosted UC practice and can offer the coSpace solution as a service.

"Our intent is only to sell through partners," Satterfield said.

Formal details of Acano's partner program are still in the works, but a deal registration program and partner training materials are already in place.

PUBLISHED AUG. 29, 2013