Steve Latham is a tech entrepreneur with over 20 years in the software industry. He founded Banyan Hills Technologies in 2013, now rebranded as Canopy, a leading platform for Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) in hardware sectors like kiosks and digital signage.
Under Steve’s guidance, Canopy has hit major milestones, including four appearances on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies. This year is particularly noteworthy as it marks Canopy’s 10th anniversary and its return to the Inc. 5,000, based on software revenue alone.
Prior to Canopy, Steve was the CTO for NCR’s Entertainment division and launched the Blockbuster Express kiosk business which was later acquired by RedBox for $125 million. He’s active in Atlanta’s tech scene and serves on various boards.
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
- About the Canopy platform and what its remote monitoring and management (RMM) software provides to customers
- The significance of Canopy’s return to the Inc. 5,000 list, highlighting that this is the first time based solely on software revenue growth
- The reasons behind the shift from Banyan Hills Technologies to Canopy and the significance of the new name
- How Canopy is different from other RMM products on the market? What kinds of solutions could benefit from Canopy vs. a traditional RMM
- Upcoming features in Canopy’s product pipeline and enhancements planned
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for Atlanta Business Radio. Brought to you by on pay. Atlanta’s New standard in payroll. Now, here’s your host.
Lee Kantor: Lee Kantor here another episode of Atlanta Business Radio, and this is going to be a good one. But before we get started, it’s important to recognize our sponsor, Onpay. Without them, we can’t be sharing these important stories. Today on Atlanta Business Radio, we have Steve Latham with Canopy. Welcome, Steve.
Steve Latham: Hey. Thank you, Lee. Great to be here.
Lee Kantor: I’m so excited to learn what you’re up to. Tell us a little bit about Canopy. How are you serving folks?
Steve Latham: Sure. So Canopy is a software solution, remote monitoring and management solution that we sell primarily to service providers that are responsible for managing uptime and availability for distributed large distributed networks of unattended solutions like device solutions that are out in the marketplace.
Lee Kantor: Now, you’ve been around for a while, but people might not know you as Canopy. Can you talk about the rebranding from Banyan Hills?
Steve Latham: Sure. Yeah. So the company was we just celebrated our 10th year anniversary in August and I started the business ten years ago under the Banner Technologies, which was at the time we always had a vision to go build a software platform that ultimately became Canopy. But the way that the business was started and funded, we first created a services business, consulting services, where we went out to the market and we did primarily technology consulting, customer facing solutions around where we built software, proprietary software products for customers, anything in exchange for revenue to ultimately fund the R&D necessary to build this software platform canopy. And so as I said, that started ten years ago and about three years in, we had enough of the product and the platform built to where we could take it to market. And then for a period of time we ran effectively two businesses. One was a consulting services and then we were really bonding the Canopy business, which was a software platform business. And then post pandemic, we made the decision to really focus in now that Canopy had gained some traction in the market, we really wanted to double down on canopy and really chase that. That part of the business, it’s highly attractive business that’s had a lot of success. So what we did is we shed the services part of the company and then probably did the most difficult thing that I think we’ve done in over the last decade, which is really transitioned out of the mindset of services and consulting into being a true software product company. And this latest rebrand that we announced here a couple of weeks ago, where Canopy is now the banner of the company and Banyan has sort of gone as has gone away was a really almost a final step to really realizing the full, complete vision of now we are everybody inside of the company is fully focused on canopy and serving our customers with that technology.
Lee Kantor: Now, can you talk about how you do these kind of monumental shifts, like when you started, you mentioned that, you know, being a service company was kind of a means to an end and then you have canopy up and running. But Banyan Hills was still such a well respected and thriving company. And then now you’re shifting gears to put all the chips on Canopy as a platform, which is a you know, it’s a different business than the service providing business in a lot of ways. So how what was kind of the like how did you come up with, number one, these kind of shifts? And like I’m sure you looked ahead in your crystal ball and said, this is where we have to be, but how do you bring everybody on board that have been so invested in the previous iteration of your venture and then get them kind of involved in belief in this new mission and this new you know, it might have, you know, the same cast, but it’s a different mission and a different objective.
Steve Latham: Yeah. Thank you for that question. I love that question for lots of different reasons. I think the truth is, is that Canopy has always been the overarching vision. Even before the company, Banyan was incorporated. I was as a part of our ten year anniversary, I went back and found all the the napkin sketches and the the roadmap for what the business was going to be. And this idea of a remote monitoring and management software platform was was the focus. And I think along the way, I was our team. My team and I were always very, very transparent about what our objective was. I can think of service companies that we did business with that was very strategic for them. And I was. I was up front with them about what my personal journey was for this business and what we were aiming to achieve. And so Canopy Canopy was always there in the forefront. And everybody that’s been a part of the company, both customers and employees, have always they’ve always understood that that was the goal. And but then I would say, you know, the other part of your question that I really like is it made me think for a second, you know, how did how did I manage these big, big turns? And truthfully, a lot of these the shifts that we had to make, I definitely underestimated the complexity.
Steve Latham: And there is a part of me that says, Boy, if I knew how complicated and what a significant investment of emotional and physical capital it would take to do some of these turns, would I have what I have chosen to do it? And so I think some blind optimism probably contributed to, you know, to the to the fact that I wasn’t nervous about doing it. I knew that through resilience and and keeping a focus on Canopy as the target that we could ultimately get there. And that probably gave me strength through some of those difficult turns. Um, I think the answer to the question, you know, if I were to ask my if I ask myself, would I do it again, the answer is probably yes, because I love the I love the journey and I don’t regret anything that we’ve gone through. But but definitely it’s if I was advising a young entrepreneur that had high aspirations like this, I would I would give them some insight as to some of the complexity and the maybe the the things around the corner that they might not be thinking about just to try to give them a better chance at success.
Lee Kantor: Well, I would think that like as a leader and the visionary, this probably is I don’t want to say simple, but in your head, mentally, it’s not that difficult to make that leap, right? You’re like, oh, this is the new path. This is how we’re going to do this. I get that. But your team and all these people who have invested, you know, months, years of their life with Banyan and have skills that maybe are uniquely Banyan skills, you know, they they don’t know how they fit into this. And maybe it’s a little harder for them to flip that switch and then, you know, say, okay, let’s go boldly forward. Canopy is the way we’re doing this and I’m going to have to relearn some stuff or I’m going to have to do some stuff differently or different things are going to be expected of me.
Steve Latham: That is so true. You know, and I think the the along the way, there were there were skill sets that were recalibrated. There’s no question that when we look at the relationships that we have with our with our customers or strategic partners today, that services consulting services is a is a big part of our value proposition because the software that is canopy, coupled with the expertise that our team has around remote monitoring and management and getting value out of an effective implementation requires some level of consulting service. So for those in the business that have been here for the entire ride, they they simply not simply don’t want to oversimplify it because it was a big shift for them, but they had to recalibrate their skills to be canopy related services instead of services that at times took the form of. We’re going to help advise you on how to build an enterprise data warehouse or a mobile platform to support a particular use case for your business. And, you know, I think if they were on this call, if they were participating, what they would tell you is they got a lot of relief out of narrowing their focus on the services front to be just focused on how to make Canopy successful for our customers as opposed to having to be spread so wide across multiple disciplines, multiple industries and solutions. So, um. Then I think the other thing is, is that there were moments and I’ve reflected on this quite a bit. There’s moments where the the mission and the objective, that is to get to canopy and to scale that business. There were there were moments where people did leave the company because part of their core value proposition themselves as an employee didn’t fit as well. And so I think that that did cause, you know, and those were those were moments that were clearly difficult. I’d like for everybody that had been on this ride to stay with us for the entire time. But I do think that those kind of big shifts force changes that that that can cause that kind of outcome.
Lee Kantor: Now, do you think it’s a competitive advantage as a platform to have this kind of foundational strength in being a service provider and and being kind of in the weeds of all these services and needs and desires from the customer, from that lens as you build out a platform that’s obviously trying to serve that community and solve their problems, where you you intimately know where a lot of the landmines and a lot of the problems and the friction is.
Steve Latham: Yeah, another great question. The that’s pretty insightful. I didn’t really have this perspective until probably a month or so ago. But the, you know, my my experience has been really strong consulting services having to shift and change into a product company and to really shift the identity and the way that we report on metrics within the business, the way that we think about our go to market strategy. And my focus has been in my reflection has been like, wow, that’s really much more difficult than I thought it was. And someone that I’m close to that advises the business about a month ago who was involved in a software product company that had a very, very successful ride. We all know the brand that this person was with had a very successful ride all the way through and what he was sharing with me was they had built a software product and they had taken it to market and they had scaled quickly and they ended up doing big enterprise deals and realizing in those enterprise deals they would sell the software. And then the buyer turned around and said, okay, now that we’ve purchased the software, how do we implement it? How do we make it? How do we make it create the value that you’ve sold us on? And they had this realization that they were missing a services component to their business that really is success oriented. You know, we pair up with you, we know our software really well. We know how to facilitate the change management inside of your business so that you can get the value out of the product. And so they almost had the reverse problem that we did. And he was making the observation, you guys are light years ahead because a lot of the services mentality that you’ll need as you scale up and do larger, more and more large enterprise deals, you’re going to walk in with a service mentality that will help differentiate you from some of the competitors that that maybe are less involved with that.
Lee Kantor: Right, because they’re getting the platform, but they have now the intelligence partner that can help them just wring the most juice out of it.
Steve Latham: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it’s, you know, software software is great. It’s a great business. But honestly, it’s it’s only really, really maximized when you pair it with great intellectual capital, you know, and experience to make it to make it effective for the customer, you need to understand their business problem. You need to understand how the product needs to be tuned or at least get them to the point to where they have that perspective. And and so I think services services is always going to be an important part of our important part of our focus. And I think more and more as we think about our roadmap and where we’re taking the product, we do have aspirations to make the product canopy, have some of that intellectual capital built in so that it’s easier for customers to take advantage of the technology without our human capital. But, you know, my perspective is and I think there’s lots of things and areas of opportunity within our product to do that, But I do think that that that portion services in our experience is always something that will that will carry forward with us.
Lee Kantor: Yeah, I mean, you’ve heard so many horror stories of, you know, big investments in software and then all of a sudden now you’ve got these services bills that are attached to that that you didn’t anticipate. You didn’t realize how much was involved. So the more you can add services to it, the more value you’re providing to your customer, the happier the customer, you know, in the longer they’ll be around.
Steve Latham: That’s right. Yeah. I think that the the. The truth is the business that we’re in is remote. Management is especially what I like to think of as next generation. Remote monitoring and management is really complicated. The because if you just think about an operator today that has a physical presence and the amount of technology that’s being introduced into their environments, whether it’s security and access control or new innovative products that are doing things like sensing environmentals about that space or traffic, you know, sensors and smart technology that’s being put into these places. If you think, think, just think back to the operator. In order for all of that technology to breathe, in order to get the value back to the business operator, it has to be functioning. And there’s so many things that can go wrong. You know, people interact with that technology and they can knock it out of service. Network connections can go up and down and be sporadic. And so as more and more of that technology gets into these environments, the technology that is responsible for monitoring and providing remote central visibility, but also the ability to remotely resurrect that technology is becoming increasingly important. And then to continue our conversation that we were just having, thinking about helping someone get their arms around the scope of that problem, and then to tune a product like Canopy to maximize uptime, that that oftentimes requires some some experience. You have to draw on some people that have been there, done that. And that’s and I think we have a lot of pride in that.
Lee Kantor: And I would imagine that your customers don’t have those subject matter experts on the team a lot of the times, or at least the number they need that you probably have, you know, all around your office.
Steve Latham: Right. I think that that’s true. We if you if you look around the the makeup of our team here at Canopy, these are people that have built some of the largest unattended solution networks in the world and operated them at scale. And so they have those life lessons to take back to customers that are beginning that journey. And what we see a lot of times is a customer will develop a solution that they can deploy and there’s high value in that solution. They will put it into into the market. And it’s it’s producing value for the market that they serve. And they do it once and then they scale it up to ten and they scale it up to 100. And every blip, every increase in the size of their deployment introduces new complexities. You start to have failures that you didn’t expect. And the way that they solve that initially typically is just through people. They throw more people through things like break fix field service by dispatching technicians to go fix those solutions, or they create massive contact centers that can take the calls that are coming in from, you know, from people trying to use that technology. And they get to the point to where they realize they’re scaling their their organizations to the point to where it’s becoming cost ineffective. And then they start looking for how do we tame this complexity. And that’s that’s really that intersection is typically where we come in and get involved to try to help rationalize some of that.
Lee Kantor: Now, is there a story you can share that maybe don’t name the name of the company, but maybe the the problem they were trying to solve. And were you able to kind of make a big difference for them?
Steve Latham: Yeah, there’s there’s lots and lots of fun stories that we have here along the way where where we’ve done that. Um, some of my more recent favorite, favorite stories, probably just because they’re more recent. We, we helped a, we helped a solution provider that sells into they, they, they have a really neat solution where they’re streaming they’re streaming high school sports and it’s all automated. So it’s like a it’s a broadcast of high school sports with, um, that’s on on on premise without human operators. And so it’s all technology based and they scaled very quickly because the demand around remote viewing of the high school sports across all sports really has gone up dramatically, particularly in through the pandemic. And then once that ability was there, it’s like, boy, this is great. So that we can we can view those sports. But. As we were talking about earlier, you scale that really quickly and you put it lay down a lot of technology, smart, really innovative, smart technology to facilitate that sort of operation. Stuff will go wrong naturally, whether it’s human induced or if it’s weather induced or if it’s just pure technology ages and breaks. And so the where as they scaled their operation and started to hit some of those breaking points, they really needed some something to you, no pun intended, a canopy to sit over the top of that large network of unattended solutions to start to look at and look for common points of failure so that they could identify them before the problem became fatal, where it created downtime and so that we could address it and keep the their solution up and running and they very, very successful in terms of, you know, there’s these moments along the journey with them that were so fun where the first the first big like maybe spiking the football in the end zone was just seeing all of their locations on a single pane of glass on a map.
Steve Latham: And then in a view where they could look at all of those locations and say, wow, okay, boy, our network really has grown to a significant scale. And more importantly, then to start to calculate the status around the those individual sites and their availability and readiness to go stream the sports. And once we started to paint those pictures, then they can really tune their operation to to go focus in on those locations that maybe are about to go into a streaming experience. And so they want to really give them a higher level of visibility and support to make sure that the experience happens as they intend to. And and the benefits just been it’s been dramatic. You know, I think now they are at a point where they see all those locations they tuned, they understand the status of the location relative to when it’s about to stream. And there are about and they have the remote management capabilities to if there’s a problem, then they can start to resolve it, which obviously increases efficiency of uptime. It decreases their ability, their their need to dispatch technicians to go on site, which can be expensive and it could be long. So lots of success metrics out of that example.
Lee Kantor: Wow, that’s amazing. So what do you need more of? How can we help you?
Steve Latham: You know, I think the things that when we look into the future and how we continue to grow, I feel like I’m I’m so just I’m so proud of the team’s ability to have made the shift that we made that we just discussed earlier. I’m so proud of the branding and the product and the and the product capabilities that it has. The results that we’re driving for our customers is, you know, I think it’s sort of undisputed and I think we just need more visibility, more at bats, you know, for those solution operators that are out there managing these large networks of, you know, complicated solutions that need and would like to have central visibility, we just like the opportunity to talk to them and have the chance to show them the impact that we could make through through the implementation of Canopy. So it’s really about, you know, getting increased visibility, helping the market understand that there is something out there to help them and facilitating a conversation with us so that we can help.
Lee Kantor: So if somebody wants to learn more, where should they go?
Steve Latham: Several places. So our website w-w-w go canopy.com. You’ll have a chance to do a review of the product. There’s a chance there to contact us through the site. I’m also fully accessible, as is my team. I’m Steve Latham at Go canopy.com. Linkedin is always a great way to get in touch with us. You can find my LinkedIn profile, you can find the company’s LinkedIn profile and contact us there as well.
Lee Kantor: Well, Steve, thank you so much for sharing your story today. You’re doing important work and we appreciate you.
Steve Latham: Thank you, Lee. Really appreciate the opportunity to talk.
Lee Kantor: All right. This Lee Kantor. We’ll see you all next time on Atlanta Business Radio.
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