SAN DIEGO – The 10-year anniversary of Synnex’s VARnex channel buying group sort of snuck up on the industry.
VARnex was launched a decade ago when a reseller named GroupMobile of Chandler, Ariz. signed up. And, the paperwork was sent over via fax machine. VARnex wasn’t even called VARnex. The name Synnex used was Optoma – not to be confused with the LA-based projector vendor.
VARnex second member was Lewis Lewis, a reseller based in Alaska. The charter members from the vendor community were Cables 2 Go – now C2G, HP, Xerox, Lenovo, Lexmark and Microsoft. (HP is now two companies HP Inc. and HPE)
Today, VARnex has more than 500 solution provider members of which 94 are Canadian. There are 40 Japanese solution providers who are part of VARnex.
Bob Stegner, Synnex vice president of marketing, has been there since day one of VARnex and he brings a unique perspective to the anniversary since he was also part of Ingram Micro’s VentureTech Network – now TrustXAlliance. This experience provided VARnex with a great start because Stegner had a vision and he also knew how to structure the customer community.
He also knew that VARnex needed to be different than VTN or Tech Data’s TechSelect. Stegner told CDN in an interview that he made sure there was a lot of executive touch in the creation of VARnex.
VARnex was positioned to be an SMB channel group. Stegner also wanted to build VARnex from the ground up and not include any solution provider from the other distributor groups.
“I think back at it and the biggest difference – and I learn a lot from the first community – is we activity broke up the sub-groups. With VARnex you did not get to pick the group you were in. I remember that first time in Canada; the Canadians wanted their own two tables and they put up their flags up and that only lasted one time. After that I moved them all together and it became a North American organization. I mixed them up,” he said.
A decade later VARnex has stuck to its SMB focus. Stegner added that the community is always going to be an SMB oriented group even though it includes larger solution providers. Some of these larger players have significant SMB businesses.
For Canada, VARnex will always hover around 100 members. It currently has 94 and picked up five new members during the Fall Conference.
- Fencecore Solutions;
- Hub TGI;
- IDS Systems Consultants Inc.;
- Modcom; and
- Triniti Technology Inc.
VARnex is adding more benefits such as rental car and travel company deals that will make it easier for solution providers to focus on its core instead of transport agreements.