Canalys predicts that global sales of third-party vendor software and services through cloud marketplaces will hit US$45 billion by 2025, up 84% CAGR over five years.

There are some real secrets to how your B2B company can leverage Cloud Marketplaces within your GTM strategy. 

Kelly Schwedland is the CEO of Torchlite, a cutting-edge partner relationship management platform. 

Kelly is an expert when it comes to scaling startups, having worked on over 30 companies. Two angel backed companies, three companies with exits, and has grown another company to over $3 million in Monthly recurring revenue. At OpenInsights, Kelly helped build a relationship with Google Cloud that helped that startup go to market and scale. 

Be sure to check out these great clips from the show:

  • 00:23 Understanding the Growth of SaaS Software
  • 00:57 Deep Dive into Cloud Marketplaces
  • 01:32 Kelly Schwedland’s Journey with Torchlite
  • 02:26 The Role of Partnerships in Scaling Startups
  • 04:35 Understanding Hyperscalers
  • 05:15 Masterclass on Cloud Marketplaces
  • 05:43 The Importance of Partnerships in the Current Market
  • 06:08 Understanding Cloud Marketplaces
  • 10:38 The Future of Cloud Marketplaces
  • 15:22 Leveraging Cloud Data to Identify Buyers
  • 18:09 Building Valuable Partnerships
  • 19:16 The Power of Belief and Success Stories
  • 19:51 Exploring Transaction Management in the Cloud
  • 20:19 Understanding the Impact of Software Types and Company Relationships
  • 20:52 The Role of Personal Interests and Compute Cycles
  • 21:13 Case Study: Open Insights and Data Management
  • 23:09 The Power of Private Offers and CRM Integration
  • 24:24 The Importance of Partnership Management
  • 27:25 The Role of Services in Cloud Marketplaces
  • 29:39 The Future of Cloud Marketplace Management
  • 31:49 Wrapping Up: The Impact of Strategic Partnerships
  • 32:22 Indiana’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem and Hidden Gems

Get IN. is the show focused on the unfolding stories and most extraordinary innovations happening in the heartland today. Get IN. is brought to you by Powderkeg and Elevate Ventures.

In our conversation with Susan, you will learn about:

  • 🚀 Leveraging Cloud Marketplaces for Growth Kelly, with his vast experience in scaling startups and building successful partnerships, like the one with Google Cloud, shed light on how cloud marketplaces can be a game-changer for companies looking to scale quickly. We explored the strategies and steps necessary to tap into these platforms, which are not just growing—they’re booming!
  • 🤝 Building Strategic Partnerships We also discussed the art of using signal and intent data to build relationships with cloud providers and how these partnerships can lead to co-selling opportunities that are beneficial for all parties involved. Kelly shared his firsthand experience on how aligning interests with cloud sales reps can lead to significant growth in compute cycles and, ultimately, revenue.
  • 🌐 The Future of Cloud Marketplaces The future looks bright for cloud marketplaces, and we’re just scratching the surface. Kelly’s insights into the rapid growth and opportunities for software companies to tap into this space are invaluable for anyone looking to make their mark.

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Episode Transcript

Matt: From the crossroads of America in the Hoosier state of Indiana, this is Get IN. The podcast focused on the unfolding stories and extraordinary innovations happening right now in the heartland. I’m Matt Hunckler, CEO at Powderkeg, and I will be one of your hosts for today’s conversation. I’m joined in studio by co host Nate Spangle, head of community at Powderkeg, and on the show today is Kelly Schwedland, CEO of Torchlite.

Kelly Schwedland is the CEO of Torchlite, a cutting edge partner relationship management platform. Kelly is an expert when it comes to scaling startups, having worked on over 30 companies. Two angel back companies, three companies with exits and has grown another company to over 3 million in monthly recurring revenue.

At Open Insights Kelly helped build a relationship with google cloud that helped that startup go to market and scale very quickly So today we are going to deep dive into cloud marketplaces One of the fastest growing channels for software sales We’re going to cover topics like developing your marketplace strategy to grow faster with your company getting help from companies like google AWS, Amazon, and Microsoft to reach more customers.

And of course using partner relationships to sell bigger deals, more efficiently. Kelly, I’m really excited to talk about this. Welcome to the show. Thanks. Good to be here. Can you tell us a little bit about your experience and how you ended up going deep on cloud marketplaces with what you’re currently doing at Torchlite?

Kelly: Yeah. So I won’t say it was completely by accident, but it was it was a little bit unexpected in some ways because at the point at which I was asked if I would be interested in taking over Torchlite it was a already a partner management software, right? They’d already made the pivot into the space into partner management.

And as I came in and started looking at it, I’m like, this is really close to what we had been doing. And Over the course of the last six months or so, what we realized is no, actually everything that we did over there like that’s applicable. Everything we did at the last company at open insights was really applicable in the marketplace and there’s no tools to do it.

And so that began the process of adapting what we already had at Torchlite for the part partnership management and adding to that in order to be. Capable of working with marketplaces.

Matt: Tell me what that meant to you and the founder at Open Insights. How that changed the business, that partnership with Google.

Kelly: Yeah, I, it’s interesting because and, Angel, so it won’t surprise you, but Friend of the show for sure. Yeah, but he he had that vision from the very beginning. Yeah. In fact, I think the way that he said it’s that someday they’re going to call us and say, Hey, can you come help you?

Can you come work with us? And and so it, it literally happened that way is it was one of our clients, there’s their sales rep basically called up the guys there and said, Hey, you guys are using an awful lot of compute, things. And he says, did you leave something on or something running, like whatever.

And they’re like no. We got this guy’s over here. And that sort of was the first intro into the Google ecosystem. Despite the fact that we knew we wanted to go there, they started the process. And then after that, he’s okay you guys can need to go over here and do all these other things to, become partners and so on and so forth.

Matt: And so that’s where we where we ended up then progressing down through the process of their partnership program.

What did that mean to you while you were there? Once you’re in the partnership program, what kinds of signs of growth did you start to see after that?

Kelly: Yeah, I think one of the things that was helpful is, and I don’t want to be unrealistic about a relationship with them when you’re, especially when you’re a small company.

We were what is called the trifecta because we were a software that’s, Open Insights was a software that sits inside the platform. And as we look at that means that, It would raise their computes, if they’re running the Open Insight AI product inside of a company. And so that really set the stage for having conversations with them.

It didn’t help, it did help that it was a software that also improves marketing relevance. And so that also now, has now gotten them into having conversations with the other side of Google, which is Google advertising, because it means that people are willing to spend more on their Google ads if they’re more effective.

And so it was, it’s the perfect storm, if you will in their case different people that we’ve now talked to have leveraged both the marketplace and the partnerships with these hyperscalers in order to to do it, even though they may not have the same You know the same effect

Nate: When you say hyperscalers.

Can you can you define that for us non marketplace experts?

Kelly: Yeah This is a term that I think the industry analysts came up with i’m not actually sure where it came from But it really refers to the the three big cloud, marketplaces amazon google cloud And and Microsoft’s Azure platforms and that those guys have the ability to basically scale infinitely.

There’s just no, and they do. So they allow you to hyperscale. And I think that’s how the term came about.

Matt: That makes sense.

I would love to dive in because I know you’ve gone deep on this at open insights, Kelly. And now obviously with Torchlite, you’re helping other companies take advantage of this opportunity. We’re hoping you’d give us a masterclass on cloud marketplaces and how to grow companies faster.

It seems like maybe the startups of the future that are going to grow the fastest. Might be the ones that sort of take advantage of these opportunities.

Kelly: Yeah. And I think what we’re seeing and I, we’ve talked about this a little bit before, but in the world now that we have of AI and its ability to change the way that email works and the way that, sending phone calls and everything else happens, we’re being inundated.

So partnerships have become really a much more effective way to get connected to people. And and there’s a lot of different slices to that. But I’ll stick to for the moment on how the marketplace and partnering with these hyperscalers actually does. Because for the most part, they’re.

Their customers, everybody who’s a software company out there, is a customer of one of these three, for the most part, right?

Matt: Can we talk a little bit about the context of that? Just understanding cloud marketplaces in general. How did we get to this space where we have these three big cloud marketplaces?

Kelly: Yeah, so I think the easiest way to say that is that, and I’ll just use an example. AWS. And if you’re using AWS and you say, okay we want to have a search functionality inside of our product, right? You can go into the marketplace and you can download elastic, let’s say, and pull elastic in, and then you buy it by the compute cycle, right?

And so there’s a number of companies over the years that have added their products into that. And, there’s some security software that they’re doing have. Indicated that they will do a billion dollars this year. Wow. In the marketplace. CrowdStrike in particular. Wow. And a few others that I’m aware of that are in that range right now.

A billion dollars worth of revenue through the marketplace. Wow. And so what transpired though was, is that it was not only about them, transacting through the marketplace, but what began to happen that’s really changed the world is two things. One is that. Internally these guys have decided that they’re also going to help their SaaS companies and anybody that’s built on their platform They’re going to help them find buyers and the marketplaces will allow you to Use their commits so the companies that are in their mark in their place can use their commits to buy their software and so what happens is that it’s like It’s like you’ve got these companies that say we’re gonna spend a million dollars this year.

We don’t know exactly how much money we’re gonna spend this year, but let’s say it’s gonna be a million dollars. And we say that because it buys down our compute. Numbers by half. Let’s say, okay.

Matt: Meaning like you’re buying in bulk. So you get a discount.

Kelly: Exactly. Yep. Okay. But you’ve committed to spending a million dollars this year, either way.

Yeah. And you working your way through the year, but at the end of the year, you’ve got all these compute, all this extra budget. It’s like having a prepaid debit card. If I don’t use this by the end of the year, it’s gone. I can take that and I can apply that to software that I’d like to have, right?

And so now all of a sudden, as a SaaS company, I can take, leverage the fact that it’s sitting there. And it’s essentially what they’ve done. The second part of that was, is that they brought the cost of that down to the equivalent of a credit card. Processing fee. It’s like one to one and a half to 3 percent depending on, the size of the transaction.

Okay. And so it’s literally made it like AWS. Now we’ll take collect your money for you. That’s great.

Matt: They already have and right and you’re just

Kelly: Right. They’ll collect the money and then they’ll send it back to you, less their fee.

Matt: And so the major players are Amazon, AWS, Google, and Microsoft Azure.

What are the kind of key distinctions between those three?

Kelly: Um, really it’s more of the platform. If you think about it, each one of those has their own. I guess the cloud platform itself that people decide to buy, build on at Open Insights, we ended up a little bit more on the Google side because we were dealing with retailers had a, didn’t necessarily want to deal with AWS.

So it was a little bit of a, of a piece there. And so that was that Azure is its own beast, if you will. It’s got its own sort of. Market isco system as well. And it’s a little bit harder to crack into but it’s really valuable because they have a lot of people in that space, that are using Azure.

It’s certainly not AWS is clear leader though. If you think about the size of the amount of money being spent on these platforms, AWS is a clear leader. And then you’ve got Google coming in and Azure kind of coming in. Both of them are growing around the same rate against AWS right now.

Yeah. But it’s still and

Matt: Is there any kind of cross pollination between those three universes?

, It’s interesting that, you come down that road, but, you think about a software like Elastic or CrowdStrike that we talked about earlier, right? And these guys are somewhat agnostic.

Kelly: Yes, they’re built on a platform, but they’re agnostic in that they’re selling in everybody’s platform. And they’re doing that because it’s a nice software to add on. And the real opportunity in the long run is to slowly work your place into multiple marketplaces. And in fact, If you’re really good, you begin to use something that we’ve looked at, which is identifying which company has that opportunity or the potential for having what we call the potential for having a commit.

And so you begin looking at how deep does a prospect go into a specific. Technology and say maybe I want to move this towards AWS, or maybe I want to move this towards my partnership with Google because that they have a lot of activity going on in that cloud. And so that’s where we’re going to try and move this to that marketplace and have a conversation with them, but you really need to be in all marketplaces in order to do that.

Matt: Yep. What’s the future outlook based on current trends? What are these cloud marketplaces look like? And. Two, three, 10.

Kelly: Yeah, so this is the fastest growing space. You think about the downturn of SaaS software over the course of the last, this is the fastest growing space on the planet.

As far as growth in the space. There was a, an article out last spring that basically said, they’re 50 billion worth of spend in the space. Not for SaaS. Yeah, for SaaS. Companies coming along by 2025 and now the analysts are basically saying, as it’s actually likely that could happen by the end of 2024.

Wow. And part of that is this 303 billion of that’s commit that’s already on the table between those three clouds, like people have already committed to spend 303 billion over the course of the next 12 months as we stand here today. Wow. Yeah, that’s incredible. And that growth has been the growth in the sass has been somewhere in the 84 percent range so that’s like it’s like holy smokes like that’s a completely new beast. Yeah Now, of course, you know as people have now identified that there’s more people getting in there. So in addition just putting your marquee out there, which It’s like everything else, like building a website, and nobody knows it’s there.

You still need to figure out a way to get the relationships built, the partnerships built how to identify and have conversations with those folks. And we built a lot of that stuff based on our experience with Open Insights. into our platform.

Matt: And now we’re getting into strategy developing that, that marketplace strategy.

Nate: I’m fascinated by this. I shifted into the listener mode as I was sitting here Oh, this is super fascinating. So when you’re thinking about launching and starting to sell through a marketplace like this.

What are like the first three steps companies doing to actually like activate on this, 303 billion are already committed to these platforms. How do I start tapping into that for my software company?

Kelly: Yeah. There’s a couple of different sides to it. One, one part of it is you actually need to be listed in the marketplace.

So if you’re Built on AWS or if you’re built on Google the easiest thing to do is just to go over and say, we want to be listed on your marketplace, right? They have you go through some hoops. You have to actually get the technical review and some other things to make sure that it’s viable.

Not quite as hard as Apple’s iOS platform, but they still, they want, if you’re going to buy through them, they want to, Verify that, the product is their product works etc. So there’s some technical

Nate: If you were choosing one of those three to start on, what one’s going to be the easiest to get your listing up and running

Kelly: The one you’re in.

Okay. If you’re a software company, you’re built in something that’s

Matt: We’re built on AWS, so that would be the first one that we want to start with.

Kelly: Yeah. And so that kind of is the first step, right? And then the other part of that isn’t beginning to build out your partner network. And so in AWS, for example, they have APN, which is their Amazon partner network.

And you have the ability then to then begin the process of working deals with them. And so you can now. Submit deals into their system. Their system says, we’re interested in pushing this deal through the marketplace We already have a conversation going with this customer so how you do that really begins to set the stage right because You can imagine if you’re a partner and you’ve got a company that’s sitting there That’s got a million dollar commit this year, right?

They’re doing an awful lot of stuff through there and Everybody and their mother of their thousands of companies that are partners are saying, Hey, we want to sell to them, right? And so they are selective in who they have a conversation with, right? So just because you’re a partner doesn’t mean you’re going to get an introduction.

And so the question becomes, how do you leverage yourself into those conversations? The first one is have a customer, right? If you’ve got a prospect that you’re working. Oftentimes, you’ll find that the field sales rep for those clouds is interested in knowing more about the business side. Like their introduction, their side of the business is they’re really in the IT side, but for them to grow their footprint, they need to understand more of the business problems.

And so if you’re having conversations with say the marketing department or you’re having conversations with their, their accounting department whatever area it is that you’re helping them work on. Those high level conversations are great opportunities to reach out to them because they want to understand those problems to help for them to grow their base, but also, to be able to help, especially if you’ve already gotten through that SQL side stage, stage of things.

Matt: So from a strategy standpoint, if you’re starting with just one, um, it’s start with one and really work that relationship. First, make sure your rep understands your business, how you’re helping your customers. Yes. And then from there, how do you get to the point where they’re actually like helping you sell your product?

Like you’re listed now. You’ve gone through the process of listing in the, in our case, AWS marketplace, which we’re not currently. But could be. Yeah. Now, how do you like leverage that relationship and maybe even some of the cloud data to identify buyers?

Kelly: Yeah. So what we’ve identified is it in the outset when you’re sitting out here and you’re looking at prospects and it’s we can use intent data as an ABM world we’ve all known about.

You can use account based marketing for those not indoctrinated. But you can use intent data to identify who’s in market and in market signals. And so then you go through the process of using that as the front end of your outbound. That then gets you into some cone calls and you end up with a conversation with a prospect.

Now we take that and we go over into, okay, how do I leverage, this looks like it’s a deal in our platform. We now can look at that and go, Hey, that prospect. That prospect is really heavy, like they’re doing a they’re doing redshift in AWS like there’s a likelihood that they already have a commit in that scenario, right?

So let’s try and use that partnership that might already be there with AWS to help leverage us for a close. And possibly if there is a commit there, we could possibly leverage that pre existing commit to help pay for the software. So instead of going through the budgeting process, which may be very.

Sure. As they try and find, they’ve already got a budget sitting there. Yep. As

Matt: An enterprise customer, exactly. Who’s committed X dollars to spend in this space, maybe isn’t using all of it. Yes. And is it even possible to identify things like that without a platform like Torchlite?

Kelly: it’s tough.Yeah. Cause we’re using a lot of signal data in order to try to determine. What that looks and it’s not a perfect science. It’s still, like intent data. It’s still it’s still evolving, but we’re using that to help us get a feel for the likelihood.

We call it the likelihood of a commit. And so then from that, then we also then have the intent data. So we’re taking a look at this customer’s intent data against our customer, our customers, Stack, but then we’re also looking at the intent data of the cloud. So now what it’s telling us is in the, we can now look across that and have a conversation with that rep.

This is the part about building a relationship where we can say, Hey, look, I know we’ve had this conversation with this client and this client, but these guys are actively looking at, say, Google right now. Like there, there’s a whole lot of intent data signals for Google. If you’re an AWS rep, you want to know that, right?

Because it’s I don’t want to get them too far down. I don’t want them into whatever or vice versa. And so that gives us a leveraged conversation to have with that person or to understand too, that they’re actively looking at going deeper.

Matt: Key to partnerships is you’re bringing value too, right?

Kelly: And so that’s part of the conversation that we’ve found to be super helpful. That’s what, that was the leverage piece that we had with Google cloud was to bring that to the field sales rep and say, And actually look at all of their accounts and say let’s see where all your accounts are. And so now we’ve built a relationship where there are more willing to invite us into their other accounts.

Yeah. Not just the one that we brought to the table. And so that’s the long term, leverage. And we see that, paying fruit. We did at Open Insights, as part of the, as part of the strategy of moving forward. And we’ve now built that into Torchlite. As part of how we help you leverage those relationships.

Matt: Can you talk to me about how you could actually work with that sales rep or other relationships at that company, at that cloud platform to actually close those deals? What does that look like? Is that just an introduction or will they actually come in alongside you and have those conversations?

Kelly: It, I will say it just depends. In most cases, if it’s, they’ll never do an introduction without going along, right? There’s they’re not they very rarely would do that, right? But they will, if it’s something that they see the numbers, they see the pieces moving and they believe in you.

I think that’s the other part of that too, is you have to have the stories to back up your successes and, case studies and some other things to go along with it. But once you’ve got that and you can show them and they can understand it they’re liable to be the person that’s willing to introduce you into that company, but they’re going to go along with you at that point.

It’s your co selling the deal. Yeah.

Matt: I love that. I’m getting excited and I’m like, let’s get listed in the AWS marketplace. I got excited. I jumped in Nate. I’m gonna let you take over transaction management in the cloud because I think this is an important topic. Yeah.

Nate: And we hinted at that earlier, right?

Where you’re talking about this. Already are already preset spending amount, basically like that, that a prepaid debit card is what you set it up. How do you see the best practices for streamlining that transaction process? So getting it from committed to in your account as a marketplace provider.

Kelly: Yeah. This is a, it depends time in advance, right? Because it depends on the type of software you are, the type of company that you do, the impact that you have on the company that you’re dealing with.

Not the, not your prospect, but the partner you have. , the AWS, whatever. And so it will impact, the best way I like to say it is that aligning interests.

So what extent does your relationship with this prospect have with the impact that’s going to have on the sales rep? on their commission. Let’s just be honest, right? There’s a lot of folks that do things for the right reasons. We know that, but it helps if it’s for the right reasons and it lands their pockets at the same time.

Everybody has personal interests. And so the highest and best is if we’ve got a product that is going to actually increase compute cycles, right? So if we’ve got a product that’s going to be pushed into the platform, that’s going to increase compute cycles or increase the amount of data they need to store or whatever that looks like that tends to be a little bit more interesting.

Right now, what are examples of that? Open insights was an example because it’s an AI product for retailers. And in the process of putting that in, what we needed was we needed when we were there, we needed all the data from that retailer, right? So yeah. That’s a lot of data, right? So what we did is we, the company that was our client, but would basically set up a Google environment and which they’re paying for, right?

And then we would migrate all of their data, all of their transaction data into that space that would then feed our a models. And so from the From the Google Cloud Rep, it’s oh, you just went from a few thousand dollars in spend to thousands of dollars in spend. That’s fantastic, right? We love that.

That makes your career kind of things, right? Yeah, absolutely. And especially to do that in, for us it was, at Open Insights, it was like a 90 day window, right? Because we would, we’d dump it in. A lot of expert expertise on their team to model the data, get it in place the way it needed to go and to leverage that going forward.

And once that was in place, they started making money. Open Insights never got to the stage or has yet to get to the stage where they’re actually in the marketplace because they were so good at leveraging the partnership. That it was like we haven’t figured out how to leverage them. We haven’t gotten over to getting to that yet.

And so that’s still on the roadmap for them. Because now we can double dip because now that we get, help them increase compute cycles, but the cost of the software can now go through Google Cloud as well. They would collect the money on that and then remit it back to Open Insights. And so that, that whole model.

is fantastic, especially when you think about the cost of that product. Cost of collecting to write, which is, it takes money, right? And there have been a couple of those where the opportunity has presented itself where those proof of concepts, at least the other piece that I’ll make into the mix of this is it?

We think about things when we’ve bought stuff in these clouds, and usually it’s a fixed price. You can see it went on the website whatever sass doesn’t usually work that way. Sass usually has a, a flat fee per month, and then usually it’s involved a sales guy to figure it out. And what these clouds have done is they said, Oh, we recognize that you guys need the flexibility, so we’ll create these private offer.

Opportunities where we can now say we can push over to the cloud to say, we’ve got data that says we’re going to do a deal. It looks like X and it’s going to be, so much a month and then so much for utilization or whatever that ends up looking and and as a result of that um, that becomes the price that they may collect.

So that instead of just being, list price.

Matt: So this is great for like enterprise software companies that maybe don’t have prices listed on their website. Yeah. A private offer is literally, Hey company. We would offer you this price for our product. Yeah. And none of that gets published anywhere.

It’s just a private transaction. It transaction.

Kelly: This goes between you, the prospect and in AWS or Google or whoever your platform is.

Nate: I think there was something super interesting you said earlier about the CRM integration, right? Between our, as a software company, right? You talked about CrowdStrike in our current CRM and then you threw Torchlite 2. The instance.

Can you talk more about that and how that’s a key differentiator in partnership management?

Kelly: Um, yeah. So I, in the grand scheme of things um, I’m not sure that anybody really likes partnership management software to be quite honest with you. And I’m just being honest because at the end of the day, salespeople like to work in CRM to the extent that they like to work.

Anywhere. They don’t want to have 10 things they’re working, right? They want to work in their CRM. That’s where the deals are happening. That’s, that’s where they keep track of stuff. And so that’s really the point of truth. And so from a sales guy to try and do a co sell, it’s I don’t want to go to another software, right?

And so one of the things that we found is the necessity to integrate that into the platform so that is now available to their partner that information is available to partner. So that was already built when I came on board. What we’ve been working on is actually the other side of that, which is now connecting that over to the cloud marketplace.

So using their API instance in order to push this data into the AWS and then AWS. Yes. It’s a part of that pushes that straight into their Salesforce instance. And so their sales rep over there gets that information straight away. That’s incredible. And so we just push the information across. The distinction is that we’ve built a spot in the middle where there’s information that can be put in there that helps get their attention.

And so those notes are what kind of becomes the key part. What is it in, what’s in it for my customer? The sales rep at AWS says what’s in it for my customer. And so you can articulate that. And you can also articulate what’s in it for AWS. And you can put all that stuff in a place that you can either reuse it or whatever and push that information into each time you have a new meeting with a new sales rep.

Matt: So when you have a Salesforce or a HubSpot integrated with a cloud marketplace you’re getting that extra layer of data where you’ve got a prospect or a lead that you’re working with and it’s pulling the data from the cloud marketplace saying, Hey this event just happened. This amount of utilization just occurred or this amount.

Or this customer just purchased this piece of software. What kinds of data do you actually, are you able to pull out of that marketplace into your CRM that’s actually enriching the

Kelly: And I won’t over, overstress this enough, but when people go to the marketplace they basically fill out a form and say, I’m interested in X, Y, and Z software, right?

And so when they do that information gets emailed to the company, right? But the company’s on the hook to update AWS on any of those leads on an ongoing monthly basis. Okay, so now all of a sudden you start seeing if I get any amount of leads, like that’s a lot of. Legwork. Yeah. And so what we’ve done is we built the integration into the API that it automatically takes a look at your CRM.

It tracks where that deal is in the pipeline and it updates AWS. So you don’t have to do it automatically, right? So it really, part of that obviously is just plain automation, but some of it is let’s make it easier. Let’s not make it harder to deal with these folks.

Let’s make it easier to make this relationship work. Yep.

Matt: That makes sense. Talk to me about services. How does services play into taking advantage of cloud marketplaces?

Kelly: yeah. So there’s probably a couple different aspects of this. And I want to stress this in a really unique way.

The challenge with clouds today. Okay. And I’m just, I’ll just go down the road of the clouds, depending on the type of software somebody has. The challenge with clouds today is it people who understand how to build in them? Have built in them. And so what I mean by that is, and part of this is because we spend a lot of time in the AI world, and so that’s some of the people, the prospects that we have conversations with.

And one of the things that I came to realize was is that they’re they’re like for somebody to use our AI product, most of them don’t have the sophistication in order to put that product into place properly and run it. And so now it comes into the issue is, so what I really need is I need managed services to go along with that.

I need somebody to service that for me. In an Open Insights we did that. We basically said, okay, fine. We’ll, I know you’ve never been in Google before. We’ll come in. We’ll manage the platform for you. We’ll manage all of it for you. But it also opens the door and our software helps help this is.

Creating those partnerships. So we don’t necessarily need that. Track 10 does a great job of managing our friends up in South Bend. They do a great job of managing a platform in AWS, right? So why don’t we partner with them and they can handle the services side of it and the managed services side of it.

We three way partner put that together as a a cooperative opportunity into the private offering and AWS collects the money and spurts it to both of us. And so these are the kinds of things when you start getting into some really unique ways of of utilizing partnerships in order to get more customers.

Matt: That’s wonderful cause now you’re turning that one strategic partnership with AWS into. Maybe now Trek 10 is starting to bring some deals your way or whoever your managed service provider is that you’re partnering with, it starts to be this kind of a love fest. The more partners you get involved.

That’s awesome.

Kelly: Yes, considering that I’m in the partnership space.

Matt: Well, yeah. So talk to us a little bit more about cloud marketplace management. This is where Torchlite operates. It’s a category. Is this a big category? Are there other big players?

Kelly: There’s at least one other one out there that’s relatively large.

They got their start by helping people get into the cloud. Okay. And they’re, they have some software to help people manage, but it’s very limited. Yeah. Whereas, With Open Insights, I mean with excuse me, with Torchlite, Torchlite actually came from the partner management space to begin with, and so we’re already pre built to manage multiple partnership relationships into this, right?

So we’re coming into it with that. What we’ve done is we’ve taken all of that partner management, PRM stuff, and we basically said, let’s leverage that by adding in the ability to connect the API with, the cloud, and then let’s add in on top of that. This robust data set we have this intent data around what we think the cloud that’s going to be using this, what the intent of your prospect is for different clouds and what the, what the intent is around your particular your particular product, we actually bring all of that together inside the platform.

Matt: That’s really cool. What are you most excited about on the roadmap right now?

Kelly: Um. That’s a great question. I think the pieces that are this leveraging this piece. The next step of that is actually how the workflows that can come out of that. Because we’ve been really focused on getting the pieces in place for people to see.

So they can, it’s like a discovery. And I think the next step along the way is automating more of those workflows behind the scenes. Yeah. We have a bunch of them already in place from the existing system, but it’s adding to that those abilities to create partnerships.

Matt: That’s a it’s a really cool it’s a really cool space that you’re in.

It’s a really exciting space. 300 billion of spend this year is crazy. That’s a huge amount of money. And I’m really excited with how you’ve reposition Torchlite in the marketplace to specifically help. What isn’t really a niche, it’s a pretty huge opportunity. And so I’m excited to track where this goes, maybe even make some plays ourselves into the AWS Marketplace this year with the Powderkeg platform.

I know I dominate a lot of this conversation, Nate, because as a marketer, recovering marketer and, just a fan of strategic partnerships, this is my jam but I know you have some questions. Oh, absolutely. This is Nate’s favorite part of every show.

Nate: Yeah, this is, we’re gonna get, we’re gonna get 10, 000 feet above the cloud marketplace discussion because that was a master class.

Truthfully, that was maybe the most technical like master class that we’ve had so far on the show. So Kelly, great work there. We’re going to come out of the clouds a little bit there.

Matt: Oh, I see what you did there,

Nate: Well done. Come on First, Kelly, this is more Indiana questions, right? Outside of the amazing entrepreneurial ecosystem, what is Indiana known for?

Kelly: Yeah, that’s a great question. Yeah, if you asked me that ten years ago, I would say corn. And in part, because while I grew up here, I spent most of my life working outside of Chicago. And northwest Indiana, outside of Gary is just full of farm fields.

And that’s what we knew. We had fresh corn every year from all those, farm stands. But of course, growing up here, I’m also very familiar about the Indianapolis 500. And having moved back here when I was at Elevate Ventures, one of the things that I came across was to say I would not have guessed when I left here, years ago, I would never have guessed the entrepreneurial ecosystem as it relates to software that has grown up in Indianapolis since I graduated high school.

Like I don’t think there was anything like that. I mean you had insurance companies and you had a telco that was it right? That was yeah, and so Quite honestly at the time I was like I couldn’t wait to get out of here and now it’s like I can’t imagine why more People aren’t moving here that really, if you think about it, compared to Chicago, we were up there.

It’s like the price of housing down here is cheaper. We live in the city here even the taxes here are significantly lower than Chicago. It’s just like all the way across the board and and we have really enjoyed it. We live in broad ripple area, so it’s a small town, feel to it.

And so it’s all walkable for us and so we’ve just, we’ve really enjoyed being back here.

Nate: All right. On that note, what is a hidden gem in Indiana?

Kelly: Oof. That’s a good question. I gotta go with the Vogue. I just there’s a, there’s some other ones melody Inn and some other ones.

But Vogue is one of those. It’s pretty

Matt: Amazing music venue. Yeah. Live performance venue. We’ve had some big events there.

Kelly: And it’s just amazing to see the quality of the acts that come through there. Living there, I see them all, we have the notices and we see them all the time on the marquees and everything else.

And it’s just amazing to see stuff. Yeah. Continue and it’s good to see them continuing. I know it’s changed ownership in the last five years and they have continued to grow, grow their footprint. So it’s cool. The

Nate: Vogue’s a great answer. And final question, who is someone we need to keep on our radar?

Someone who is doing big things.

Kelly: That’s a great question. And the reason I say that it’s just man, my time in the venture world, it’s like there were so many, it’s uh,

Matt: No wrong answers. First one that comes to mind.

Kelly: I’m forgetting his name too, so I’m, um, it’s not coming. How about Kelly Schwedland? Kelly Schwedland, yes. No, it’s, the hard part is that it’s been, Five years now since I was at Elevate. Yeah. Yeah. And so I’ve been living in my own little bubble and it’s ah, those people I knew five years ago, it’s hundreds of CEOs that I met along the way.

And it’s I haven’t spent time with hardly any of them. So yeah. yeah. This This is a great show.

Matt: I agree masterclass, cloud marketplaces. Thanks for doing this, Kelly.

Kelly: I appreciate it.