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Beyond the Buyout: How The 20 Nurtures MSP Growth

Beyond the Buyout

How The 20 Nurtures MSP Growth While Respecting Ownership Boundaries

Chances are, you’ve caught wind of The 20’s M&A activities. We’ve certainly been busy, acquiring several MSPs each month as we pursue our mission of building the first premier MSP with coast-to-coast reach.

But with all the press surrounding our rapid expansion and unique consolidation strategy, it’s easy to lose sight of what The 20 is really all about: not acquiring MSPs, but helping them grow and find success in our hyper-competitive industry.

In this blog post, we want to clarify a few things about our M&A strategy, and address a question that’s been coming up: Do we recruit MSPs to join The 20 simply because we want to buy them?

The 20 MSP vs The 20 MSP Group

The first thing to make clear is that The 20 MSP and The 20 MSP Group are distinct entities – and not just legally speaking, but conceptually as well.

The 20 MSP is an individual MSP. We want The 20 MSP to become the first MSP with extensive, coast-to-coast reach and premier service delivery.

The 20 MSP Group (aka simply “The 20”) is, on the other hand, exactly what it sounds like: a group of MSPs, all of them independently owned and operated. When MSP owners become members of The 20 MSP Group, they sign on to our way of doing business, but retain complete ownership of their companies.

There is, however, a strong connection between The 20 MSP and The 20 MSP Group. While The 20 MSP has recently expanded its acquisition candidate pipeline to include non-member MSPs, consolidation efforts have been focused primarily on member roll-ups. MSPs join The 20 MSP Group to conquer their biggest pain points and achieve new growth. When these MSPs reach a certain level of operational maturity and revenue, we offer them a proven exit route – selling to The 20 MSP!

This strategy helps us circumvent problems associated with a more traditional approach. More specifically, acquiring MSPs that share our tools and processes helps us all but eliminate attrition and post-deal friction – two notorious impediments to a smooth integration. We’re not interested in bringing together MSPs with disparate business models and operations, as we firmly believe that alignment is the key to long-term growth, and that The 20 MSP’s success hinges on preserving a single standard of excellence across the board.

This raises an important question: Do we recruit MSPs to join The 20 MSP Group simply because we want, at some point, to acquire those MSPs and integrate them into The 20 MSP?

Let’s talk about that.

To Acquire or Not to Acquire? – That is the Question!

Let’s start with the short answer. Do we recruit MSPs to join The 20 MSP Group simply because we’re looking for acquisition targets?


A slightly longer answer: While the 34 acquisitions we’ve completed (at the time of this writing) might seem like a lot, the number pales in comparison to the 150+ MSPs that belong to The 20 MSP Group – and a good number of these businesses’ owners are interested in selling to us. In short, there’s no shortage of quality MSPs in our acquisition pipeline – especially now that we’re casting a wider net to include non-member MSPs.

To keep things clear, just remember that only the first of these two statements is true:

  • TRUE: The 20 MSP is particularly interested in acquiring MSPs that belong to The 20 MSP Group.
  • FALSE: The 20 MSP Group only accepts MSPs that want to be acquired by The 20 MSP.

The first sentence is one-hundred percent true. We’re definitely looking to acquire MSPs from our group for a very simple reason: We know these MSPs! They use The 20’s tool stack and business model, which makes integration relatively seamless and minimally disruptive for end clients. But, more importantly, we know the people at these MSPs. When we roll up a member, the question of cultural compatibility isn’t even a question.

Sentence #2 is, on the other hand, completely FALSE. In fact, when MSPs approach us about joining The 20 MSP Group, we’re not even thinking about M&A. For one thing, we have, as previously mentioned, plenty of MSPs ready to roll up.

Secondly, when an MSP first joins The 20, we often have no way of knowing if they will grow into an MSP worth acquiring.

And thirdly – and most importantly – creating acquisition targets just isn’t the point of The 20 MSP Group. The purpose of The 20 MSP Group is to help small and mid-sized MSPs grow, scale, and get to that next level – faster and more easily than they could on their own. We’ve worked extremely hard to create a formidable ‘MSP blueprint’ – a suite of tools and proven processes that reliably help small and medium-sized MSPs supercharge their growth and scalability. We don’t want to undermine years of effort by abandoning that core purpose.

OK, but what if an MSP becomes a member of The 20 MSP Group, and, as a result, achieves remarkable growth? Once an MSP gets big, do we start applying pressure and pushing them to sell?

Let’s talk about that.

Your MSP, Your Call

MSPs that become members of The 20 MSP Group tend to find success. That’s not a boast, just a fact. Our industry-leading tool stack, battle-tested business model, and above all else, our awesome community of supportive MSP owners – these things all feed into our members’ growth.

So, what happens when an MSP joins The 20 MSP Group and grows into a large and profitable company? Do we start hassling the owner about selling?

In a word – well, two words – H*LL NO!

In fact, it’s the opposite. We let MSP owners come to us. We keep our members in the loop about our M&A activities and intentions, because we want to know that selling to us is an option – if they’re interested in going that route.

But the most important word in the above sentence is if. We’re not interested in pressuring our members to sell – nor is it worth our time. Again, we have no shortage of acquisition targets, and if an MSP wants to remain a part of The 20 MSP Group without ever selling and joining forces with The 20 MSP, that’s A-OK.

In fact, we wouldn’t want to acquire all of our members as that would mean the end of the The 20 MSP Group! We’re incredibly proud of what the group has become – a genuine community of peers who actively support and help each other win.

Do we want to build a premier national MSP? Yes. Do we also want to keep growing The 20 MSP Group and providing small and mid-sized MSPs with the tools and resources they need to succeed? Yes! We aim to keep both projects going, and have no interest in sacrificing one for the other.

The Bottom Line

If you become a member of The 20 MSP Group, you’ll get an awesome tool stack, powerful processes for everything from sales to service delivery, and the warmest and most supportive community in the MSP space. What you won’t get is pressure to sell.

If you decide you want to sell your MSP, we have a proven process in place to acquire and integrate your company. But if you decide you don’t want to sell, we won’t try to change your mind. It’s your business, your call.

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