I don't need to tell you this is a challenging time for any person or company to get a loan, financing or credit. Some very good companies will likely not make it through this economic environment - not because their products aren't great or customers don't want them but because their timing wasn't good and they didn't have the cash reserves to tide them over when business slowed.
It is for this reason the world takes notice when a company gets funded. There have been a few in telecom and tech that have raised money recently but compared to last year it is obviously much more quiet on the funding horizon.
I for one remain bullish on IP communications as a whole while realizing there are sectors which are doing better than others.
At the last ITEXPO in Miami, service provider attendance was 33%, higher than the previous event and this tells me that more carriers are looking to go to IP communications as fast as they can to save money and to be able to add new services.
Being the inquisitive person I am I decided to ask some questions on behalf of my readers to learn how exactly the company got funded, why they go the funds and what they will do with the money. Here is the result of the interview with CEO Matt Phillips and I hope you find it useful.
1. What was the Most important reason that we were able to secure funding?
SinglePipe Communications has an exceptionally strong customer base that is consistently performing - and growing - at or above our original expectations. We work with several operators that are interested in our company's unique ability to support all (or at least significant) portions of their respective voice service. Combined, these factors have solidified our ability to execute/implement a very scalable, financial model.
2. How is your company helping customers?
SinglePipe provides its customers with a Digital Voice solution that is both cost-effective and easy to bundle with a broadband or cable operator's existing product suite. Our back office system makes delivering Digital Voice simple, and eliminates the "swivel chair" provisioning through its ability to seamlessly integrate with current provisioning and billing systems. In addition, we also provide managed solutions to support our customers who may want to own or manage a part of process. SinglePipe is willing and able to separate the components required to deliver quality Digital Voice and to provide those components that larger operators do not want to bring in house because of the inherent complexity and cost. We can leverage our network and systems, and scale to deliver the components that do not make sense for our cable customers to self-manage.
3. Is the multiplay service one the main drivers of your growth?
Absolutely. Our unique ability to bundle products that leverage our customers' existing infrastructure is great for both them and for the consumer. SinglePipe will continue to bring additional services to its customers that they can subsequently bundle to both their residential and business customers. Simply put, SinglePipe provides a platform to deliver applications and services that can be seamlessly integrated and packaged to residential and business customers.
4. Length of contract signings?
Reflective of the economy, we are seeing some slow down in contract signings, but we are also seeing an increase in opportunities opening up. More often than not, companies are interested in adding Digital Voice ahead of their original schedule, and others are looking at solutions that may be more cost-effective than what they currently have in place. In today's market, customers need to be 100% certain that they have chosen the right partner to help them grow.
5. How do you play in the wireless space?
In time, we hope to be a leader in the wireless marketplace. One of our larger customers is a wireless operator that is preparing to deploy their network. Whether the broadband connection is wired or wireless, SinglePipe will be able to support this aforementioned customer with a cost-effective, feature-rich Digital Voice solution.
6. What is the most challenging technology issue you face?
The most challenging technical issue has been developing a flexible back-office system that can handle the inherent complexities in delivering a Digital Voice service, while at the same time, making it simple and easy to add additional applications and services that can be delivered across an IP network.
7. What is the most challenging marketing issue you face?
The most challenging marketing issue we face is being able to separate the "wheat from the chaff". Obviously, there are several players in the Digital Voice market. Technology has made it very easy for small companies to enter the market, but providing a carrier-grade, scalable and flexible platform is much easier said than done. Making sure that our customers can see that difference is the biggest challenge we face today.
8. Do you have an exit strategy?
Our exit strategy is to build a financially sound managed voice services company that is a true industry leader and that provides quality, cost-effective products and services to its customers. If we can achieve these goals, then our exit will take care of itself.
9. What is the main competition to your company's solutions?
In such an emerging market, it is not surprising that we face "competition" from other companies that try and replicate our business. However, without question, our biggest competition will continue to be the large phone companies. These organizations are our customers' biggest competition, which by extension, makes them our competitors as well. We must ensure that SinglePipe continues to stay ahead of the phone companies with the quality and functionality our services empower our customers to not only compete, but to win.
10. Where do you want the company to be in three and five years?
We have specific financial milestones that we measure internally, but in general, we want SinglePipe to consistently increase revenue, profit margins, and to be thought of as legitimate leader in delivering applications and services to broadband and cable operators.