Beyond the Buyout: How The 20 Nurtures MSP Growth While Respecting Ownership Boundaries

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 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 MSPs.

Now, here’s where the connection lies between The 20 MSP and The 20 MSP Group: We’re pursuing MSP acquisitions to facilitate the expansion of The 20 MSP, and, for the sake of seamless integration and cultural/operational compatibility, we’re only looking to acquire MSPs that belong to The 20 MSP Group.

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 20+ acquisitions we’ve completed (at the time this was written) might seem like a lot, the number pales in comparison to the 170+ MSPs that belong to The 20 MSP Group. And a good number of these 170+ MSPs are interested in selling to us – i.e., we have no shortage of quality MSPs in our acquisition pipeline.

In other words, we’re not feeling any pressure to find MSPs to acquire – in fact, we have more than enough ready to roll up, and if there’s any pressure, it’s to consolidate quickly enough to meet this demand!

We think there’s some confusion around this because the following two sentences do, admittedly, sound pretty similar:

  1. The 20 MSP only acquires MSPs that belong to The 20 MSP Group.
  2. The 20 MSP Group only accepts MSPs that want to be acquired by The 20 MSP.

Sentence #1 is one-hundred-percent TRUE. We’re looking to acquire MSPs from our group exclusively 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. The question of cultural compatibility isn’t a question for us, because by the time any deals are inked, cultural compatibility has long been established.

Sentence #2 is, on the other hand, one-hundred-percent 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 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. It never has been and never will be!

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.

That’s it?

Yep. That’s it.

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 20 MSP 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!

In short, we want 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.

We hope this clears some things up and dispels any rumors that we only want members so we can buy them.

Is Your MSP Coming to VISION ’23?

Stay tuned for more M&A news from The 20, and don’t forget to register for VISION ’23, our annual event for growth-minded MSPs. You don’t have to be a member of The 20 MSP Group to attend VISION, but you do need a ticket, so click the link below to register and get ready for a conference experience like nothing else in the channel.

Secure your spot at VISION ’23!