M5 Networks Acquires Geckotech to Expand Hosted VOIP Reach

The combination of M5 Networks and Geckotech positions the company to handle business-grade hosted VOIP services in the Midwest and other regions.

Hosted VOIP provider M5 Networks announced on Nov. 3 that it has acquired Chicago-based Geckotech for $8 million.

The combined companies will handle what company officials describe as the "exploding demand" for business-grade hosted VOIP services.

Geckotech's CEO, Josh Robbins, will join M5 Networks as vice president of business development. Kerrin Parker, M5 Networks' current vice president, will relocate to Chicago to manage integration efforts, said M5 Networks.

Under the deal, M5 Networks will take over all of Geckotech's staff, customers and data centers, the company said. M5 Networks claims that with this acquisition it will become the largest specialized hosted VOIP provider in the United States.

"Together we can enable our customers to use advanced phone system technology to become more efficient and informed organizations," said Robbins.

With the poor economic climate and companies slashing IT budgets, demand has grown for hosted VOIP services. Organizations, whether they are large enterprises, midsized or small businesses, looked at hosted telephony to cut costs without giving up critical communications applications.

Geckotech offered customers a Cisco-powered hosted VOIP platform as well as additional services, including phone service installation, system management and in-house customer support. The company offered free maintenance, and unlimited system and feature upgrades.

Geckotech was evaluating ways to overhaul its technology to obtain an enhanced phone experience and robust applications "without the use of licensing arrangements," said M5 Networks. Geckotech did not specify its reasons for not wanting to license the technology.

Geckotech selected M5 Networks' Call Conductor platform and rolled it out to some existing customers, M5 Networks said. With the acquisition, the remaining Geckotech customers will be "seamlessly" integrated to M5 Networks' systems throughout the next year, said M5 Networks.

"We have built the best delivery system and back office in the business and are excited to offer it to another customer base," said Dan Hoffman, president and CEO of M5 Networks.

All customers will have immediate access to the Call Conductor platform using their existing phones, M5 Networks said. They will also get access to advanced call center, CRM integration, business intelligence and conferencing, said M5 Networks, making good on Gecko's promise of "free upgrades for life."

"Our customers are going to love this," said Randa Bradley, Geckotech's director of operations, regarding usage of M5 Networks' systems.

M5 has been broadening its partnerships with regional operators over the past few months, inking deals with New Jersey-based Entel Systems, Atlanta-based CorData and Southeastern provider Firm Tech to provide VOIP services.

M5 Networks competes in the IP Centrex space. IP Centrex (which stands for Central Exchange) is a feature-rich, interoperable, broadband IP telephony platform specifically designed for businesses. M5 Networks Smart Business Phone systems integrate flexible and reliable phone software with business critical applications to create a cloud-based voice service. The hosted M5 Connect platform also integrates with third-party applications, such as the CRM application JobDiva.

M5 Networks provides hosted VOIP services to more than 1,300 companies, including Amnesty International and Etsy.