TalkingHeadz Podcast with Bill Wignall, CEO of Sangoma
Earlier this month, Sangoma closed on its acquisition of Star2Star Communications. Sangoma (Ontario, Canada) acquired the Florida UCaaS provider for $437M. The merger marks Sangoma’s largest acquisition, which was likely its 8-10th company it bought (no one seems to know for sure). The transaction brings to Sangoma products, services, customers, employees, and channels that complement and expand its existing businesses. Combined, the two companies have an approximate global revenue of more than $245M. The company is now poised as a major, global communications provider.
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Dave Michels 3:07
It’s exciting to have you here. sangoma is really been in the news a lot lately. But we’ll get to where he gets all that. Before we get to the present, though. Let’s talk a little bit about your past. You’ve got some important history. Tell us. You were one of the few that worked at Nortel. I mean, tell tell us what it was like in those days?
Bill Wignall 3:25
Oh, well, it wasn’t a few actually. I may be one of the few that admits it now all those years later, but I grew up in the Toronto area. And if you were a computer engineer in Canada at the time, Nortel was the place to go. It was booming. It was the shift away from old stuffy PSTN to the world of the internet and IP and packet switch networks. And Nortel was spectacular at the time.
Dave Michels 3:52
There was a Canadian success story. It was amazing.
Bill Wignall 3:56
It was a big success story. And you know, a little bit like rim or blackberry later, it was a wonderful training ground. I did almost all of the functional disciplines I, you know, started as a young engineer writing software and designing hardware and architecting networks. And I lived all over the world. I was probably in 25 countries in five or six or eight years. When I thought I’d be there forever until one of our customers was looking for someone to go and leave that business. It’s a different story altogether. But this was long before Nortel had any of the speed bumps. It was not just a great Canadian success story went from 5 billion to 20 plus billion at a real global company as the industry deregulated
Evan Kirstel 4:38
Yeah, it feels like a different time and that’s Nortel, Northern telecom for you millennials who were talking about so you went to 25 countries. We’d love to hear where but what stands out from looking back at your time there.
Bill Wignall 4:51
What stands out was the thing that really made Nortel takeoff was The comment I alluded to I haven’t talked about this in a very long time. deregulation, right? It’s 1984, your department of justice passes the modified Final Judgment at a green button. Judge green. That’s right. at&t splits. And all you see, all of a sudden you see companies like MCI and sprint t merge, and eventually, in the local business gets broken up and baby bells in our box develop as well. And for Nortel, that was the start of something big.
Dave Michels 5:30
You know, it’s interesting to hear you talk about because I’m well versed Well, well, but seeing whatever I’m well versed at the messenger era. But I always think of that as a US story. I don’t I never really thought about the impacts to Nortel. And what’s going on north of the border. I think that’s a different perspective.
Bill Wignall 5:45
Well, you know, I have to say I was born in Canada, and I’m back here now living here, but I worked in live lots of places outside of Canada, and although someone in the US or whatever, Germany or India might have thought of Nortel as Canadian, it wasn’t that Canadian once it got big. Its Genesis was here, of course. But it was a global enterprise. And the headquarters wasn’t here. headquarters was in Washington and then Dallas Richardson. And my point about the deregulation and your comment that it affected a Canadian company really had nothing to do with it being Canadian.
Dave Michels 6:18
Okay, that makes more sense. I want to go back to what Evan was asking. You said, You said you traveled in 25 countries. You’ve lived all over the place. You said you were living in the US during divestiture. Where are some of the more interesting places you lived?
Bill Wignall 6:30
While some of these were very short periods of time, right? Go over there, figure out what we should do or hire a team wasn’t all for Nortel, other companies later on. Gosh, Dave, I lived or worked in the UK, France, Holland, Germany, Italy, Japan, Hong Kong, India, Australia, South Paulo, like I lived everywhere, right? Sometimes only for three months. What’s interesting, I don’t know, I think different people have different views of what’s interesting. It depends how adventurous you are and how tied to the way you grew up. As a 10 year old girl or boy, you feel when you’re 30. You know, if you’re the kind of guy that thinks, oh, wouldn’t it be exciting to see that? I don’t know, culture of India spectacular. Some people couldn’t stand it. Right? We’d be hiring teams. And some people would say, oh, like move to Riyadh and build a network in Saudi Arabia. That’s not for me. But other people thought it was amazing to see the world and learn how different economies work. And I was in that group, I found that very, very intellectually stimulating. It certainly helped me a lot in the latter parts of my career.
Dave Michels 7:40
When I approach travel, from a culinary perspective, we always try to sample the local fare. And it’s, it’s amazing how different different cultures cook and we just we just love that. Yeah. Well, I
Bill Wignall 7:52
have to say that as a guy who’s six foot four, and 245 pounds. Yeah, I understand.
Evan Kirstel 7:58
I have you beat by well over 50 pounds. But in any case, Bill, you’re obviously quite successful and worldly. And, but I do have to ask, I’m here on Google. I’m googling you. I’m looking for LinkedIn and Twitter, the sangoma website, who are you? We really can’t find much info on bill
Dave Michels 8:17
Bill Wignall 8:18
Yeah, well, one of the things you probably figured out was Bill is not a social media guy. Right? No at all. No, Facebook, no LinkedIn, no Pinterest, none of that. But as you’ve now found out, I’m here and I’m prominent, just not in the put my life up on Facebook so that everybody in the world can see vacation with me and my daughter. You’re influential in our book,
Evan Kirstel 8:42
but I was gonna complain to your cmo, but I don’t even see her on your website. What’s going on there?
Bill Wignall 8:51
Yeah. Well, Jim Mackey runs marketing for us. And he for sure is the one that connected me to you guys. So you know him and he certainly knows you guys pretty well.
Dave Michels 9:02
Well, I it says something alone, but not having a CMO listed on your executive leadership page. But you do list. A VP of m&a. That’s, that says all we need to know. Right
Bill Wignall 9:12
there. All right. So we’ll get there. We’ll get there. Yeah.
Evan Kirstel 9:16
Yeah, I think when you join sangoma, it was had something like a market cap of 20 million. What is it today?
Bill Wignall 9:23
That’s quite right. It’s it’s not exact. I think when I joined, it was 7 million. Oh, we had sales of around 10 million bucks. Heaven always inflates everything. Yeah, so it was around $7 million. It’s now depending upon whether you look at the number of shares as the number that are outstanding now or the number that will come out as part of the star to star transaction. You know, that will lead to about 220 million shares, you know, it’s between four and $5 a share. So 800 million to a billion dollars from 7 million. It’s pretty good.
Evan Kirstel 9:57
All of that without being on our podcast. That is just,
Dave Michels 10:01
that’s hard. That’s a
Evan Kirstel 10:02
hard one to explain. But But in all seriousness, how did you pull that off? If you could share?
Bill Wignall 10:07
That’s nine plus years of work to boil down into two minutes and stuff. So we’ll see how we do together here? Well, I think the most important part of that answer is acknowledging that we got there by taking the company as a starting point and turning it into something completely different. The company that you asked me about, when I came in to take over the reins, you asked me about the size and the market cap, but maybe more importantly, for your listeners is what that did the company do. Now? How do you make it grow like that? It’s not by doing what it did then better sangoma was, I’d have to think about this and make sure I get it all right for you. And it’s been so long, we’re a hardware company only. We had a single product line. Those were cards that fit into the slots in the server, to allow a server to plug into the PSTN. Right? It was all one times revenue. We had no software engineers. There were, I don’t even know now 25 people, they were all in Toronto, all the customers were little customers, they’re all around here. And my view of it when talking to the board at the time was that business that sangoma was in had a Tam had a total addressable market of I don’t know it’s not, it’s not important to be precise here. Let’s say it was 50,000,005 0 million, you know, in sangoma was around 10 million of it. And there was a couple of other companies that made those kinds of cards, and the pie was shrinking. And the view at the time was we need to steal market share faster than the pie shrinks. And that didn’t seem like a very good idea to me. We thought about sangoma as a launching point. And what did we want to turn it into while you think about what skill sets you have? And what could it become? I would acknowledge to you that most outside folks looking in and certainly most investors did not think this would work. But our view was, we were going to go from hardware to software from one times revenue to recurring revenue from SMB, to midsize businesses and enterprise and carriers from, you know, a little tiny Canadian company to a global business. And that’s hard, right? It’s really, really hard. The DNA or ethos of the company has to change. But but it did work. As you pointed out, there’s now a sangoma staff and I don’t know 25 or 30 countries around the world, more than half the US states, the customers are in 150 countries, we do a quarter billion dollars of revenue now. So the company looks nothing like it used to. That’s how we did it. You know, it wasn’t fight against the tide that’s pushing against you. It’s identify strategically where the industry is going and which markets are going to grow and move in that direction. You know, it sounds easy to say it in hindsight, of course, it’s never as you know, honestly, guys linear or choreographed. as it sounds, looking backwards, so it didn’t do everything right. We did most things, right, with a few missteps that you kind of move on from quickly. But that’s what worked, you know, build a cloud business. Understand how compounding revenue works over time, you have to become an MRR based enterprise, which we are, you know, there’s now I don’t know, 250 engineers, and 245 of them are software engineers. Well, from zero. So that’s how it worked. Impressive.
Evan Kirstel 13:29
So you’ve acquired all these companies? I think eight? Is that the right number?
Bill Wignall 13:34
Yeah, I think nine but plus or minus? That’s right. Yeah.
Dave Michels 13:37
Plus a mile. Yeah.
Evan Kirstel 13:40
So what was the most fun company? What was the hardest company to acquire?
Bill Wignall 13:45
To be honest, the hardest one was probably the first one. The most recent one was the most work. But as companies mature and become more sophisticated, with the right set of skills and people, more sophisticated stuff becomes possible. At the beginning, we had no money, and very few people. And the first acquisition we did was a little Canadian company buying a bankrupt company in the UK. And that was hard. What company was that? That was a company called Vega stream. They made okay gateways. Remember, I was years ago? Yeah.
Dave Michels 14:16
I don’t remember that. I remember some of your acquisitions. Let’s go through the ones let’s go through some of these. Let’s see. I remember smooze smooth was actually they were they were way ahead of their time. They had a great election campaign out that ran on the phone. I was really impressed with
Evan Kirstel 14:29
the best name in the industry.
Dave Michels 14:33
So that was actually free PBX for people that don’t know smooth, but free PBX you possibly called rockbox. I
Bill Wignall 14:38
don’t think I know that one. Yeah, that was around the same time as schmooze. That’s right. Yes, it was exactly. For free PBX. sangoma has some history in the open source world. And you build that up even more than you acquired voice supply. I
Dave Michels 14:53
remember them. They were the pioneer in the.com era with the voice equipment. They were a lot cheaper than some of the distributors back in. The day so,
Bill Wignall 15:01
yeah, that’s why we were interested, you know, some people scratch their head about that one. And my view was, it was not quite clear at the time, what kind of go to market strategies would stick and become more important. As the industry evolved, we had built up a very traditional outside Salesforce, right the Salesforce sold to large customers direct and to SMB customers indirect channels. And I was very interested in understanding and exploring you know, different paths the market and wave supply had perfected ecommerce was all website driven, an inside sales team to respond a lower cost of customer acquisition a different way of selling. And you know, we’ve we’ve learned a lot from that. Well, just like we learned a lot from the free PBX product and how that fits in with asterisk and sangoma has grown, you know, quite large and open sources a smaller part of what we do now. But it’s still strategically important. And that’s where schmooze fitting
Dave Michels 16:01
for void supply. I’ve got digium and I know digium. Well, and I remember mark and Danny over there that I’ve got the astrophotos comm domain if you’re interested. Okay, okay, wipe innovations. I don’t know them as well, you acquired e4, and I know Michael white, and that was a nice acquisition. And then of course, this month, start a star, which is, I guess, just closed like weeks ago, weeks ago, or just just recently recently, Michelle and David over there. I’ve been on their podcast. So it’s all comes around. So that’s an amazing history of acquisitions.
Bill Wignall 16:37
Yeah, I don’t know which of those you want me to talk about? I’ll start and then you guide me. For example, you asked about digium digium was one of the companies that was directly competing with sangoma very early on, in the business of telephony interface cards that we talked about when you asked it was
Dave Michels 16:53
supposed to take over the entire industry.
Bill Wignall 16:55
Yeah. And so very early in my tenure, after having joined sangoma, Danny would tell you this funny story of me saying, I need to come down and see you, you know, I think this structure of two or three companies, all little businesses, killing each other to split a $50 million pie is stupid. In an industry, that’s hundreds of billions of dollars. We all feel like it’s important, but nobody else is paying attention. The day that I went there, they were having the worst hurricanes or sorry, tornadoes in, I don’t know, 40 years. And so everybody included out of the digium offices except Danny. And here’s this crazy Canadian coming down from Toronto driving from Nashville airport to Huntsville, through Tornado Alley, and I got there and it was him and I alone in the office and you know, that made an impression we got to know each other well. And over the years, we talked about what should we do and sangoma had grown quite large and surpassed digium by them. And, yeah, it made good sense to put those companies together that prod asterisk and free PBX together gave us a really solid premise PBX product and the start of some of our eucast offerings. So that’s the digium story.
Dave Michels 18:05
Then in Windham at digium, he should have should have inspired you to get a CMO. I mean, he he went off with one I mean, that’s that’s
Bill Wignall 18:14
no comments at all. I like Leslie Savoy innovations was another step along the way, as we were thinking about how to build out the full suite of cloud communication services, you know, our, our view now and one of our you know, differentiating factors and USPS is from sangomas perspective, most companies, of course, I would acknowledge that for I don’t know, the fortune 100 businesses, you know, if you’re Siemens, right, or the US federal government, you have hundreds of 1000s employees, it might be fine to buy a video tool from zoom and, you know, a C pass tool from Twilio and trunking from bandwidth and collaboration from slack and voice from ring. But, but that’s not what most companies want. In my view. In my view, most normal companies want a suite that’s well integrated with a consistent UI and UX and single sign on from the vendor who knows that they want that together. And voice innovations was a way to add into our trunking portfolio both trunking as a service and seapass business it’s a company based in Pittsburgh about 40 employees very well run it was about $25 million in revenue at the time, larger now profitable growing that’s the story behind the VI acquisition
Evan Kirstel 19:39
and so let’s let’s flash forward to start a star as it’s so recent, big fan of the company and I I’ve been on Michelle and David’s podcast to have you got everyone on their podcasts
Unknown Speaker 19:49
Evan Kirstel 19:50
just the best of the best okay how to start a store transformational is as part of the family now what what are the high level benefits to customers? Two partners.
Bill Wignall 20:01
Yeah. Well, it’s definitely transformational. That That’s right. You know, my view is it adds really important scale at a time in our industries evolution, when companies are consolidating, right, this is what happens as industries demonstrate a very large Tam, you know, depends which Industry analysts you talk to, but most people would say cloud communications, I don’t know 100 billion $200 billion. And there’s a few companies that have started to get scale. Now. I do sometimes joke you asked me about my earlier career, I’ll hear you know, a research analysts say, Oh, look, there’s some really big companies now there’s one or two or three over a billion dollars in sales. And I would say, you know, it’s, it’s kind of bizarre to be in the communications industry, which is hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars. And hear that someone thinks a $1 billion revenue company is a big company, it speaks to how new these cloud businesses are within this industry. And so, you know, I think getting scale. Now, putting sangoma into that top tier or upper echelon really, really does matter. You know, when we do acquisitions, you’ve asked me a lot about acquisitions. It’s it’s part of the growth story. It’s meant to augment the organic growth from building good products and servicing customers well, but, you know, we look for four strategic things. And that’s why we bought star to star because they checked all four boxes, right? We were looking for products that complement what we already do, and round out that cloud communication suite. We’re looking for customers are looking for channels or paths to market to get those customers. And we’re looking for people, you know, the dirty little secret in our industry is one of the biggest impediments to growth is finding the right talent. I don’t know guys, it’s not a railway business where the value depends upon how many miles or railway tracks you have as an asset, or, you know, where you dug a hole in the ground to dig out gold or diamonds or, you know, any of the big factory businesses that that make things it’s, it’s an intellectual property business, and we have people anywhere in the world, we want the best people, we don’t really care where they’re located. And so star to star touched all four of those. And that’s why we did it. So speaking of star to star, this connects
Dave Michels 22:23
that two DGM. For those of you that aren’t familiar with DGM, they’re the makers of asterisk. So you’ve got free PBX and asterisk to the biggest open source solutions and in enterprise communications, but asterisk had owned or acquired a company called switchvox. I know switchvox very well. And switchbox evolved into switchvox Cloud, which is a UCAS offer. So my question is, what’s going to happen between switch flux cloud and start a star? You can so these going to converge? Or what do you think about that?
Bill Wignall 22:56
Yeah, over time, likely, yes. Here’s my view of it today, six days into the acquisition, you know, switchvox plays two roles at sangoma. It supports our customers, they use it in an on premise deployment model. And in the cloud, as you’ve just said, Dave, one of the things we talk about the differentiates sangoma from our competitors. And by the way, this links back to your question about the first acquisition in Vegas stream, if you give me 30 seconds to talk about that. You know, I remember the story of why would you want to buy a gateway company, we make cards and cards go and servers? And my answer to that was, yeah, we make cards to go and servers, but lots of people seem to buy gateways, too. And why do you want to fight with your customer, that’s kind of how we feel about switch box and switch box Prem. So you don’t think I was going off on a tangent here. You know, depending upon who you listen to something like 30 or 40% of new adoptions in North America, For you see, bi in the cloud, and different industry analysts or research analysts quote, different figures. But my point here is not to get hung up on whether it’s 30 or 40. The point is, whether it’s 30, or 45, or 33, it sounds like more than half the customers are still buying Prem. And from sangomas perspective, we don’t want to argue with customers. If a customer says we’re not ready for cloud, yet, we want an on premise solution, I want the customer because eventually they’re going to be on the cloud, whether it’s in a year or seven years, right. And if the customer says we’re ready for cloud, I want the customer. And if the customer says, We’ve got three offices and we want our corporate headquarters on prem and I want her to satellite offices in the cloud, I want the customer. Right and so switchbox plays both roles. That’s where it fits in. The switchvox Cloud Service is extremely successful, just like the sweet spots Prem business, which by the way continues to grow. And my view of how switchvox Cloud and start to start a business voice fit together is Yeah, they continue to exist. They serve two different sets of customers with two large installed base says, We’re not going to go to a switchvox Cloud customer base and tell them, you have to switch over to the other platform. You know, that does nothing but increased churn. We’re very good at your
Dave Michels 25:09
customers love that.
Bill Wignall 25:11
Oh, they love it, don’t they? Yeah, they serve markets, which are slightly different, but complementary. The switch was cloud service tends to appeal more to the small and medium customers. And it’s the natural evolution for a switchvox Prime customer. And the star to star service has tended more recently to appeal to the midsize and enterprise customer. And for sure, we just had a product management meeting yesterday, in fact about how to bring the two UI and UX is together, so they don’t look like two different products in the future. So that’s what I think happens. Well, you’ll keep David Michaels happy gifts to keep his fax machine and phones and everything else goes in the cloud. So it’s right, it’s perfect for him.
Evan Kirstel 25:52
We’ve painted a great picture here of what went into sangoma, and the various history and acquisitions, but I’m not certain I know, sangoma? Are you a holder of brands? or How would you describe this new company or vision?
Bill Wignall 26:07
Yeah, so I’d say we’re not a holder of brands, there are a couple of companies that have pursued that strategy. And it’s almost like a portfolio management business right with a bunch of operating entities under it. sangoma does acquisitions. For the opposite reason, we’re not interested in being a holding company with a bunch of operating entities under that, that’s, that’s what private equity firms do. We’re an operating company, right. And so we buy companies if they can augment the strategic vision and what we operate today, and then they get integrated in. And so there’s no separate set of brands that sit there as kind of what I call portfolio companies under a management or holding company. These are ways to do something, either add a product faster or more cost effectively than we could do by throwing engineering resources at it, or add a customer base more quickly than we could acquire it on our own or get a channel to market that’s hard to build and takes multiple years to do. So that’s why we use m&a. It’s not because sangoma wants to be this P e
Evan Kirstel 27:14
want to be, if you like, Yeah, that’s good to know. And it’s good to get that explanation. And you’re still a little under the radar kind of quiet. Giant, I didn’t even realize how big and diverse you’d become. Would you say that’s part of your appeal being operationally and an engineering driven? Or is that something you want to change over time?
Bill Wignall 27:34
Well, I think what happens is companies become known in different ways to different degrees by different people as they evolve, right? And we have to accept that. The sangoma of 2021 doesn’t look very much like the sangoma of 2015. And so it’s it’s natural that we’re a little bit under the radar screen. Still. It’s not that we want to be under the radar screen evidence, you know, doesn’t help us in any way, as a public company. We’re looking to become more well known as more and more customers use us. We’ve now got I don’t know, certainly well over 2 million seats of UC out there. It’s a big sizable company. We’re probably if you think about which companies have the biggest revenue in cloud communicate think I don’t know, zoom, Twilio ring record, probably fifth or sixth on that list now, maybe seventh? I don’t know.
Evan Kirstel 28:25
Yeah. That’s impressive.
Bill Wignall 28:26
Evan Kirstel 28:27
at it that way. You’re like a 37 year old overnight sensation.
Bill Wignall 28:32
Yeah, well, I sometimes joke about that when people say, Oh, it’s really impressive that, you know, I listened to some, I don’t know, quarterly call that public companies have to do with shareholders, and they find out Oh, you’re a $250 million revenue company, or 40 or $50 million of EBIT, da. And I say, yeah, that is a good story. And being in that position in the industry, being a cloud communications business, all this Mr. 75% gross margin 75%. Recurring is good. But I think the thing that I’m most proud of the team for here is is not where we’ve gotten to today. But how we got there from where we began, right? It was a really suspicious beginning. Right, guys, there are not many companies that are seven or $10 million, and all hardware in a small industry that managed to make that transformation into a cloud business that way, we raised almost no outside capital to do it. We did not dilute shareholders. It was just a lot of good organic blocking and tackling build new products, open up new channels. Okay, it’s working in the US now make it work in Europe. Okay, it’s working in Europe now open up Asia. So it’s a little bit below the radar screen, but it’s a lot less this year than it was last year. And it was a lot less below the radar screen last year than it was in 2015. And I think most people acknowledge it’s a damn good story.
Evan Kirstel 29:58
It is and this podcast Gonna put you in the global spotlight here. So we’re really excited to help.
Dave Michels 30:04
You know, this is a very international podcast, we’ve already mentioned more countries in this in this podcast and the rest of them combined. But what countries do you operate in? Because most of those acquisitions are North American. But you’ve mentioned one UK acquisition. And I know digium was global. So are you you consider yourself a global company, or mostly North American or what help us understand that
Bill Wignall 30:27
it’s highly global. And, you know, the definition of global here is worth talking a little bit about as we peel back the layers of the onion, we went global early, for a very strategic reason, and then built it up knowing it was going to play a very different second strategic reason layer later, you know, when you’re trying to do the turnaround that I described. And, you know, when I came in, there were no investment banks interested in talking to little $10 million sangoma already public, you know, no one was going to invest in that the existing shareholders didn’t really want us to raise a bunch of capital, and they lived them out. And so what do you need to do, you need to find ways to generate cash flow, to invest back in the business to build the next product, or hire the next person, or open up the next market. And that’s what we did, we opened up those markets as a way to extend the product lifecycle of our early products. Because the fact is that second and third world economies move away from older technology more slowly. And so when fewer and fewer people were interested in buying things that connected to the PSTN in North America, people were still buying lots of PSTN stuff in Eastern Europe, or Latin America, or India or Southeast Asia. And so it was a way to generate revenue from a mature product line that we would use to fund the engineering and marketing of gateways, and then session border controllers, and then premise PBX is and then our own line of desk phones, and then our first clouds, you know, that’s how it worked, right? And my view was, if we can build up that international business, and have staff and channels and customers in Europe, Asia and Kalla, then we’ll be able to use that as a launching point when we take cloud internationally, right? Because you cloud takes a long time to build, right? It’s all recurring revenue. And so having people there, and channel partners in the network and customers to upgrade. That’s all very, very attractive. And it’s one of the benefits of doing the star to star deal as it gives us this, this robust platform to take internationally.
Dave Michels 32:40
So now it’s time for the TechCrunch Disrupt question, how does sound go and make the world a better place? Or if that’s a tough one? The easier version of that is? How’s it going? The different? Yeah, when
Bill Wignall 32:53
we talk about Boston, I think sangoma makes the world a better place. Because we we try to provide value, we know that we can’t be the cheapest, right? And most of our customers would say, it’s nice to be able to get everything from one place. I talked earlier about the idea of getting five different cloud tools from five different vendors. But it’s not just that, right? We legitimately got the broadest product portfolio in the industry, no exaggeration, whether it’s eucast, or trunking, as a service or video meetings as a service, or C pass or collaboration as a service, or contact center as a service, or own line of desk phones and headsets, and mobile and desktop soft clients and, you know, gateways in sbcs, and open source software and on premise, you see, so customers see sangoma as, okay, I don’t have to deal with four different vendors. Right? It’s one throat to choke, if something breaks, I don’t have to worry about do I call the guy that I got the software from? Or do I call the guy that provided the server that installed the software on? And then secondly, we know, you know, by the way, this comes up every month and every quarter in some sales funnel review, in some part of the world, one of our very talented sales, engineers will say, you got an opportunity to win this big customer and we’ll spend whatever $300,000 with us, if only we cut our price by 80%. The answer is there were so many customers out there. And almost all of the runway is still in front of us that we don’t need that one. Let a company that sells on price have them. Because if you start, you know, maybe, but maybe not. And my point is, if you take a product that you sell for $10,000, or a service to sell for $1,000 a month, and the market starts to know what’s available not for 1000. But for 200. Then all of a sudden you destroy your positioning in the market, right and we just don’t need to do that. So that that’s how I see us contributing. It’s become more and more important with COVID and work from home. You know, we had 1000s and 1000s of customers around the world call us and say it’s amazing. Using, we took our 113 employees and said take your phones home and just plug them into the ethernet jack on the wall. They don’t know what Ethernet means. They don’t know what an rG 45. jack is. They just plug it in. And all of a sudden, they’re doing the same thing at home that they didn’t work the day before. Right? Yeah. So that’s how I’d answer it, I guess.
Evan Kirstel 35:19
Yeah, that’s that’s a great story. By the way. Simplicity’s is fantastic.
Bill Wignall 35:25
The land and expand model.
Dave Michels 35:28
Alright, Bill, we’re gonna we’re running out of time here. So I’m gonna wrap this up with one more question. You’ve obviously reached for the stars now with your latest acquisition. So what’s next? More acquisitions? More? What’s driving your roadmap right now?
Bill Wignall 35:42
Well, yeah, I think more of the same with creative new ideas to expand around what we do encourage in this business of cloud communication. So yes, I think, you know, it’d be pretty weird for a company that’s done nine or 10 acquisitions, or nine or 10 years to then say, we’re never gonna buy another company again.
Dave Michels 36:02
Well, my broker that did that they were they were
Bill Wignall 36:05
turned off. That’s what happens when the private equity firm buys you. That’s right. So I think there will be more acquisitions, there’ll be more organic growth, there’ll be expanded product suites. But I also see sangoma, trying a few really creative, innovative ideas. One of the things that we built into the ethos early on was, you got to try some stuff, if you’re going to be innovative, and not everything is going to work. You know, we we tried crazy things we built a I don’t know, voice to Facebook connector. Right? When Facebook was having trouble penetrating India, it’s not because people don’t want to use social networking in India, or, you know, it’s not that they didn’t have a computer. So they didn’t have a good bandwidth, right? And so everybody went on to do it from their phone. But what mobile phone Do you have there, you have a 2g phone with feature buttons. So we built but but it didn’t work. Right, technology was great, but not enough people bought it. And there’s all these different dialects. And so I see us continuing to try those kinds of things we’re launching next quarter, and access control as a service product, which is something nobody else in our industry does. I don’t know if it’ll ever grow into anything really big, but I’m super excited about it. Because you know, there’s a chance to be disruptive there, right, you got these crazy white swipe cards or key chain fobs, that you wave in front of this little black rectangle screwed into the wall to open the door. But every one of our customers now has a soft phone client installed on their mobile device. So they can now walk around with their mobile device, there’s no more weights by parents, that opens the doors for you, we already know who you are, you’re already in our eucast database, right. And if that takes off, we call that SMART Office access. We’re going to add alarms and monitoring will add environmental. And these are all IoT based technologies, right wireless, ZigBee and z wave, I see us being able to leverage the customer base and the channel and do other things, that the same decision makers in those same companies need from people they buy technology from today.
Dave Michels 38:09
Well, you and Evan are gonna get along just fine. Evans always recommending these innovative new ideas. Like I keep telling him there’s nothing wrong with the way it is. But it actually sounds really exciting.
Bill Wignall 38:21
We want it both ways.
Dave Michels 38:22
Yeah. Cuz I thought I thought you and I were on the same boat with, you know, you have a very engineering focused mindset. But so you’re you’re playing you’re playing both of us here. You’re, you’re a chameleon. So I just want to thank you very much for joining us on this. I’m sure the world has learned. Finally, who who bill bill is we’ll be making fun of you on social media because we know you won’t see it.
Bill Wignall 38:44
I look forward to it.
Dave Michels 38:46
But thank you so much. And I wish you so much. Congratulations with Star Destroyer. That’s a fantastic acquisition great company. And so can’t wait to see what you’re going to do.
Bill Wignall 38:55
Okay, thank you Dave. Nice to see you.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai