Earlier this week, we broke the news that N-able announced its intent to be acquired by SolarWinds for $120 million in cool cash by the end of the month. The news item also noted that N-able’s CEO, Gavin Garbutt, will be retiring, and JP Jauvin, the company’s GM will take the reins once Garbutt hangs his hat for the last time at N-able’s Ottawa, Canada, headquarters.
Of course, since my curiosity always gets the best of me, I wanted to know more about the acquisition…Several questions went through my mind, mainly: “Why acquire now?” “Will N-able remain channel-focused?” “How will partners react,” and most importantly, “What can partners expect going forward?”
To answer these questions, and to shed light on the announcement as a whole, we went straight to the source, and Harrybbb and I spoke with the man himself, N-able CEO Gavin Garbutt for a bit yesterday. Garbutt, who is ever as chipper and upbeat as he always is when he and I have spoken, emphasized the fact that even though N-able will be now owned by SolarWinds, nothing really will change; even the N-able name will be retained. “We are going to remain a channel company, and channel-focused,” Garbutt told us. “We believe the most efficient way to gain SMB customers are via channel, and by enabling the channel. That’s why SolarWinds was attracted to us, and that’s what we are going to continue to do.”
I also wanted to dig further, so I asked Garbutt why SolarWinds made the cut, when according to him, others wanted a piece of the N-able pie as well. “I have always viewed SolarWinds as a mentoring company,” he said. “Going back to 2008 and when the market was terrible, and it was less shiny days, SolarWinds was a company that I met with, and despite the market, they were still doing well…it’s actually interesting that 5 years later, here we are, and we are very pleased with the decision.”
As noted in the announcement issued earlier this week, Garbutt will retire his CEO post at N-able, but will also remain as an advisor. Garbutt’s last day with N-able is tomorrow, and as of Monday, JP Jauvin, will be running the show as General Manager; he will be accompanied by Mike Cullen, VP of Sales, and Derik Belair, VP of Marketing & Business Development, who will remain in their current positions.
Garbutt says he is confident that in his retirement, he will be leaving the company in very good hands. “My goal has always been to build the company and build a management team and bring in appropriate talent,” he said. “I am a strong believer in wanting to be surrounded by smarter people than myself. I have a management team that has been here a long time, and one of the key players I brought on four years ago, is JP Jauvin.”
Garbutt added that Jauvin was going to take over his new position at N-able, “whether the transaction happened or not,” further dispelling any rumors that he is retiring as a result of the acquisition.
And on the subject of Garbutt’s retirement, I asked if he will be spending most of his days partaking in his passion of sailing the high seas, or, rather he will continue a solid work/life balance. He joked that if I were to ask his wife that question, I’d get a very different answer than what he told Harrybbb and me! Even though Garbutt enjoys his free time and relaxation when sailing, he says he still considers himself a serial entrepreneur...he has always been passionate about his work, and what he does for a living.
In fact, the entrepreneur gene does not fall from the tree in the Garbutt family; one of the projects that Garbutt plans to work on post-retirement is helping his eldest daughter with her food agency business, The Hot Plate, in which he is a shareholder. “I will be supporting her business, as it grows and develops, and that’s what I really enjoy doing,” he said. “There is always something to do, and I enjoy what I do, and that’s growing companies and turning them into something significant, and I feel we have done a great job of that here at N-able.”