The Channel

Hosted VoIP Provider IP5280 Seeks Channel Partners

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, IP Communications Magazines  |  August 17, 2010

IP5280 (News - Alert) Communications is a five-year-old hosted VoIP and unified communications service provider that was founded and is managed by two 20-year telecom veterans, Jeffrey Pearl and John Scarborough. They met at Qwest (News - Alert), where they were heads of marketing and sales.

But it was while he was at ICG that Pearl saw the early decline of traditional telephony and the growth of VoIP. As that transition took place, customers needed a place to go, Pearl says, adding that’s what prompted him to join forces with Scarborough to launch IP5280.

Like many hosted VoIP/UC providers, IP5280 targets small and medium businesses. And, like many other hosted VoIP/UC providers, it initially based its services on the BroadSoft (News - Alert) platform. However, unlike many other providers in this space, IP5280 has outpaced the market by at least twice the average revenue growth rate, according to Franklin Court Partners.

IP5280 last year grew revenue at about 40 percent, when around 4 percent was the norm in the business, the partners say. The company, which has 750 business customers, expects to have $10 million in revenues by the end of this year.

Today IP5280 garners about 98 percent of its revenue from customers in Colorado, where it is based. However, IP5280 – so named because Denver is at an altitude of 5,280 feet – now is expanding beyond its traditional stronghold with a new nationwide channel program, opening of branch offices, and launching new initiatives that expand its customer service and platform capabilities.

To head up the channel effort, IP5280 has welcomed aboard another former Qwest employee, Paul Mahn. Having also spent time as Level 3 and, most recently, Integra Telecom (News - Alert), Mahn is a veteran in the agent space, and is tasked with helping IP5280 create partnerships with agents.

To help with the channel effort, Scarborough says that IP5280 has been working for the past nine months to develop a Web portal, linked to its proprietary CRM tools, which will enable agents to enter and track orders, check commissions, and have visibility into the company’s trouble management system. The recently launched channel partner portal also gives agents access to dozens of presentations, collateral, quoting tools, customer service offerings and promotions.

IP5280 already has attracted 40 agents, mostly in the Midwest. The company’s goal is to have about 75 agents by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, IP5280 expects to open two branch offices this year. An office that will house a direct sales force in Albuquerque, N.M., is slated to open July 1. A third branch in a to-be-disclosed location is expected to open by the end of 2010.

The company also is expanding its customer service efforts. It now offers clients live, around-the-clock customer service. This relates to IP5280’s recently signed deal with LinkLogic, which will provide customers with a complete VoIP, LAN, WAN, application and infrastructure trouble-shooting solution.

“Because we’re delivering more sophisticated IP applications such as custom call routing, voice-to-e-mail and complex conferencing services, it became evident we needed to expand our channel and service options so our customers could continue to receive the white glove experience,” says Scarborough. “With 700 percent growth in our business, it is clear that VoIP has arrived as the sweet spot for the communications industry. Properly managing growth so that customers have uninterrupted, seamless solutions and contact with IP5280 is our focus.”

While IP5280 based its initial services on BroadSoft, and continues to support that platform, it’s also expanding services via its own cloud-based platform that it calls cloud over enterprise resources, or CLOVER. That leverages BroadSoft, Microsoft (News - Alert) OCS and open source feature servers. 

Scarborough says CLOVER will be able to support any IP-based applications imaginable, including voice, conferencing, fax, hosting and more. IP5280 decided to begin work on CLOVER after several customers ask for functionality, such as call recording, that couldn’t be supported by the current BroadSoft platform, he explains, adding that BroadSoft is one component of CLOVER.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi