CO company prospers despite telecom downturn

Filed under: economy,high tech,online,telecommunications |

Just 18 months ago, the Colorado Springs market was flush with telecommunications providers, but something went awry. The fledgling companies started falling by the webside. One of the survivors is Vanion Corp.
Why did Vanion succeed when so many others did not? And now, even as other technology companies announce cutbacks, Vanion has announced plans for expansion, and a new investor has given it additional funding for continued expansion.
The company claims about 7,000 customers in Colorado, with branch offices in Denver, Pueblo, and several other smaller communities. Most of the subscribers are internet-only subscribers.
Vanion’s executive vice president, Joel Sparber, recently announced a substantial financing commitment from its lead investor. Sparber refused to identify the investor, but said the investment is in the “tens of millions of dollars.”
Sparber said the cash infusion would allow the company to expand, adding up to 25 new employees, upgrade its network, and “explore acquisition opportunities.”
The investor reportedly purchased Koch Ventures’ $10 million interest in Vanion.
Executives said the company has successfully acquired new customers and increased business by providing small and medium-sized businesses a technology bundling local and long distance telephone service with high-speed Internet access.
“The company’s innovative telecommunication services offer Colorado businesses simplicity, local support and savings – nearly 20 percent less than a similar bundle of competing services,” said Sparber. “We are the only telecommunications company headquartered in Colorado Springs that has sustained the economic challenges of the past 18 months.”
“Many of our competitors are no longer in business. Our continued focus on efficiently managing operations and expanding our technology infrastructure are strong indicators to our customers and prospects that Vanion is positioned well to offer Colorado businesses the latest in broadband voice and data solutions,” said Vanion CEO Kevin Loud.
Some of Vanion’s former employees and vendors offered criticism of Vanion, but none felt strongly enough about their complaints to go on the record.
However, several satisfied business subscribers did speak on the record. Based on their community standing, high quality telephone and internet service is critical.
Colorado Springs Sports Corporation President Dave Ogrean is highly complimentary of Vanion’s service.
“The service has been very good,” Ogrean said. “Since we’ve been with Vanion we’ve had far fewer problems than before, our Internet speed is faster, and Vanion’s response time is terrific.”
Another subscriber is Pikes Peak International Raceway. PPIR network administrator Mary Briscoe likes how Vanion treats her – and is happy with her service.
“I’ve been very pleased,” Briscoe said. PPIR’s Internet service before Vanion was a Vanion dialup service such as one might use at home to log on to America Online.
Vanion recommended a “T-1” line, which Briscoe likened to “going like crayons and a Big Chief tablet to the Space Station.”
Vanion said its “UniCall” family of services provides businesses with flat rate bundles of local and long distance phone service combined with broadband Internet and a host of other features including custom calling capabilities, website hosting, Virtual Private Networks (VPN) and hardware firewall protection.
Despite the market downturn, Vanion said it has continued to invest in its future by enhancing its complete communication package with local and long distance telephone service combined with broadband Internet connectivity.
Vanion was founded in 1998 by Chris Phillips. He founded Rocky Mountain Internet in 1993, and previously founded Thunderbird Engineering, a business communications service.
Vanion’s services are currently available across the state of Colorado in rural areas as well as in key metropolitan cities including Colorado Springs, Denver, Boulder, Pueblo, Canon City, Alamosa and Aspen. More than 7,000 customers are signed up for Vanion’s services including Pikes Peak International Raceway, Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and Colorado Springs Sports Corporation.