Sometime in 2007, the founders of Wayne-based Evolve IP sat down for a brainstorming session to name their new company. They thought that the name should play off of the concept that business communication services should evolve to the next generation. They believed that business IP services were scattered amongst companies, when most businesses would prefer a single solution.
A few glasses of Cabernet later, someone scribbled “evolve” on a cocktail napkin that now hangs framed in the company’s lobby.
Evolve burst on to the scene in 2007, raising an unheard of $15.4 million in financing from private entities. According to Pricewaterhouse Coopers, it was the largest information technology investment in Philadelphia since 2001.
The company, which has over 50 employees on its payroll, has lived up to that original brainstorming session. It now offers a one stop shop for business communications such as hosted applications and telephony. Now, small-to-medium businesses can avoid spreading their resources over a handful of small companies.
“You can get a patchwork quilt of five or six different vendors …[but] if you come to Evolve IP you have that single point of contact,” said Bill Jefferis, the company’s Vice President of Marketing & Business Development. “The secret sauce is integrating them all together, writing easy to use user interfaces, having a support center of people and scaling to make the price point compelling and attractive.”
Because of its everything-under-one-roof philosophy, Evolve IP has been growing steadily. Currently, the company offers business communications services to 200 businesses with over 9,000 users and it has its eyes on expansion. After the jump, find out how Evolve makes sure it provides uninterrupted service to customers and how the homegrown company plans to take over the rest of the East coast’s IP needs.
The company has two active/active data centers, one at 401 North Broad Street, and another at its headquarters in Wayne. The Philly data center is also conveniently cohabited by some of the vendors that Evolve IP offers, including Cisco, IBM, Aastra and Broadsoft. The duel data center setup allows the company to have a backup in case something like the zombie apocalypse should happen.
“If, for some reason, the 401 North. Broad street platform was to go down, we have an automatic fail over to the platform [in Wayne],” said Jefferis. Although, so far, that hasn’t been necessary. Even if it did, the company has support people on staff around the clock.
The reliability, as well has the ability to offer numerous services under one roof, has the company planning to expand outside of its current footprint, which Jefferis loosely describes as a “60-mile radius” outside of Wayne.
“After we saturate this region, we will build out,” he said being careful to note that were the company to expand and outsource, it would be abandon its core principles. Soon, Evolve IP plans on opening sales offices up and down the East coast, although that doesn’t mean that it will be packing up anytime soon.
“We have been using the term ‘Silicon Valley of the East’ — that never quite happened, obviously — but there are quite a few high tech companies out of these suburbs,” said the West Chester-native. If Evolve IP’s growth continues, Philly would have a major player in the IP services field located in our backyard, something that Jefferis is fine with.
Just don’t ask him to actually drive into the city.
“I’m a West Chester born-and-bred guy … I just know how to put things in my GPS and get there,” he said with a laugh.
Every Wednesday, Shop Talk shows you what goes into a tech product, organization or business in the Philadelphia region. See others here.
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