2010 Update - VOIPo State of the Union
This month, we’ll celebrate our 4th anniversary. In April 2006, I set out to build a VoIP service that provided reliable, high-quality service with a focus on the customer. I teamed up with HostGator and we spent nearly 3 years and over a million dollars to develop VOIPo and build our service. In December 2008, VOIPo launched and began selling service to the public.
The first year after fully launching is a defining time for most companies. While a lot of business plans look good on paper, unexpected obstacles crop up and statistically most companies fail in that first year. Since launch, we’ve certainly had our fair share of obstacles. We’ve always tried to deal with them with the most common-sense approach and that has paid off. The goal of any startup in the first year should be to hit profitability as quickly as possible and "stop the bleeding".
Some might think it's an impossible feat in the VoIP industry, but we achieved profitability in 2009 and have continued to see rapid growth since. In the first quarter of 2010, we saw revenue equal to over 1/2 of our total 2009 revenue. Our customer based has doubled in the last 3 months.
We now know that our business model works. We've made it through the "startup phase" and VOIPo has now reached cruising altitude. We're excited about the things we have in store in 2010. Whether you’re a new VOIPo customer or you’ve been with us since 2006 during BETA testing, we’d like to thank you for your business and your help in building VOIPo. We couldn't have done it without you.
We’d also like to share our plans for the year as we move into a new phase of VOIPo. We feel that we offer a very good service now, but there is definitely a lot of room for improvement. Our plans for 2010 mainly focus around "cleaning up" and "polishing up". We still have several exciting new additions planned for this year and will continue to develop and innovate with new features as always, but our big focus for 2010 is really on taking what we already have from "good to great" so that we don't end up with a lot of things that partially work or are mediocore. We are investing in infrastructure, redundancy, process improvement, and key employees to help lead us through this phase. We'll be focusing on redunancy, improving existing services, simplifying and documenting the use of VOIPo services, employee training, and making all existing features more usable and stable.
I want to share some of the specific things we are working on. You'll see many of these roll out over the next few months:
All documentation is going to be completely overhauled and rewritten. This included our knowledgebase, setup guides, welcome e-mails, etc.
New vPanel Design
We’re working on a vPanel redesign to make the control panel easier to use and nicer to look at. We’re also going to be to making it more obvious how to use the features in it and have clear instructions for all of them.
Nationwide Network Expansion
Our primary datacenter partner Softlayer is rolling out major network upgrades that will drastically improve connectivity to many locations. Among other things, they are adding connection POPs in San Jose, Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago, New York City, Atlanta, and Miami to supplement the ones already in Dallas, Seattle, and Washington DC. This means that for most customers, your connection to VOIPo will be routed more efficiently and issues with network latency will be greatly reduced.
In addition, we are adding an additional datacenter partner and will be duplicating the majority of our setup on the Peer1 network.
Enhanced Redundancy & Reliability
In addition to our network expansions, we're adding additional redunancy to nearly all aspects of our network to limit any possible service issues due to failures that occur. In some cases, this just means adding more hardware. In other cases, we're changing the way we route things so that we don't have single points of failure in our network.
Network connectivity issues and hardware failures will always happen. Our goal with the changes we're rolling out is to drastically reduce or eliminate the impact that they have on service.
Overall, these improvements should make service more reliable and more tolerant of internet congestion.
Lower International Rates
Our international calling rates are high and we know it. We are working on adding more international partner carriers so that we can offer lower international rates. Once this is complete, we expect to be able to offer lower international rates to nearly all destinations.
Finishing up BETA Features
We have a lot of features still in “BETA”. When a feature is in BETA, that just means that it still may have bugs and that we’ve made it available for users to use. These are found under the BETA tab in your vPanel. We will be going over each one of the BETA features one-by-one to resolve any of the bugs that have been reported, thoroughly test them internally, and then release them into production mode. This means that if you have been using any features under the BETA tab and have had issues with them, those issues should be resolved shortly.
VOIPo for International Users
We know that there are many people outside of the US that want VOIPo service. We have heard you loud and clear. We are working on a solution that will make VOIPo available to users outside of the US and expect to be able to offer service worldwide soon.
More Participation From Users
Many companies use social media tools such as blogs, Twitter and Facebook to make announcements. We do that too, but our goal is to get our customers involved and add more interactivity. This allows us to get to know more about you and what you want to see from VOIPo. We’ll be pushing a lot of social media initiatives this year and hope that you’ll be involved.
Since VOIPo is privately owned and profitable with no debt, we don’t answer to outside investors or banks and we don’t have a board of directors. This allows us to focus more on providing quality service and doing what our customers need and want while growing our business long-term rather than generating as much short-term profit as possible. To help us with our goals, we plan to form an organized “Board of Customers” that will help provide organized discussion and opinion for major VOIPo initiatives and changes.
Expanded Support Hours
Right now, our support center is open Monday – Friday from 9AM-7PM Central. When you need help, sometimes a quick phone call is better than playing e-mail tag and we know that some of you have problems fitting a call into your day with our current hours. Later this year, we’ll be expanding our support hours to make it easier to get help when you want it. As always, our support will remain in-house and in the United States.
Our reseller program is finally here. Within the coming weeks, we will be rolling out the industry’s first entry-level reseller program which allows users to buy phone numbers and minutes at wholesale rates from us and start their own VoIP company. All resold accounts will have access to a private-label version of our vPanel and run on the platform and network that VOIPo has spent nearly 4 years and over a million dollars building.
If you already have a VOIPo account, you’ll be able to move it into a reseller account. We’ll even credit your new reseller account for any unused time on your current VOIPo account. Full details and ordering will be available on our site within weeks.
If you ever do run into problems or need help with your service, contact us and let us know. Our support team is ready and willing to help you.
If you have already worked with our support team and still have issues that you are not able to get resolved, feel free to e-mail me personally at tim @ voipo.com. I love hearing from customers. While I won’t always be able to resolve your issues, I’ll try to find someone that can or at least give you a straight answer regarding your situation.
Once again, thank you for your business. While it’s hard to get excited over phone service, we hope that you’re as excited about 2010 and the race to 100K lines as we are.
Last edited by VOIPoTim; 04-13-2010 at 11:46 AM.
Re: 2010 Update - VOIPo State of the Union
We've created a thread in the Customer-Only forums for customers to discuss this post: http://forums.voipo.com/showthread.php?t=2348