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CounterPath Solutions, a leading provider of SIP based
applications, is executing on its strategy to assist service providers and OEMs worldwide transition
from legacy-based telephony to IP allowing them take advantage of the growing
opportunities in the VoIP, Video and Communications over IP space
(CTPS - OTC.BB)
CounterPath Solutions, Inc.
Suite 300, One Bentall Centre
Vancouver, BC, Canada V7X 1M3
Donovan Jones, MBA
President and COO
Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor
Published - February 15, 2007
Donovan Jones, MBA, President and COO
Donovan leads global Sales, Marketing, Development and Operations activities and is
responsible for strategic and financial initiatives to drive CounterPath's overall growth.
Donovan comes to us from a boutique Investment Banking firm where he was responsible for
sourcing and executing transactions for mid-market private companies. Prior to this during
eight years with TELUS Communications, Canada's second largest Telecommunications company
with over CDN$7 billion in revenue and 24,000 employees, Donovan held increasingly senior
positions in Corporate Development and Client Solutions, which had him involved in
planning and executing a series of merger, acquisition and divestiture activities in the
Telecommunications, Application Development and Data Network Integration space.
Additionally, Donovan was involved the strategic planning process for businesses focused
on Application and Web Development, Hosting, Human Resources, Supply Operations and Sales
Efficiency; Donovans efforts with TELUS culminated in his position of Director/COO
Marketing with P&L responsibility for a CDN$200 million business unit focused on the
selling, implementing and management of Enterprise voice, data and IP infrastructure.
Previous to this Donovan has consulted on strategy, process improvement, human resource
strategy, and funding for several software and high technology companies. Donovan holds a
Masters in Business Administration from the University of Calgary and an Economics degree
from the University of Alberta
CounterPath Solutions, Inc., formerly Xten Networks, Inc., is a developer of
award-winning, carrier-grade VoIP and Video over IP SIP softphones for telecom and
Internet telephony service providers, cable operators, IP-PBX manufacturers and
infrastructure manufacturers. CounterPath's SIP softphones and softphone SDKs (Software
Development Kits), which provide VoIP, Video over IP, IM (Instant Messaging) and Presence
functionality and can be preconfigured to our customer's VoIP service, are predominantly
licensed on a per-seat or per-subscriber basis either co-branded or private labeled.
CounterPath's technology is deployed by over 210 customers in more than 49 countries.
CEOCFO: Mr. Jones, what
attracted you to the company?
Mr. Jones: I was with a small investment banking firm
in Vancouver when I ran into this little company focused on building VoIP applications. I
did some research on the company and met the founder and the co-founder. I was interested
in the story, the technology and the tremendous opportunity in front of the company. Less
than a month later, I joined the team. We changed the strategy somewhat and have continued
building SIP based applications for service providers and OEMs.
CEOCFO: How do you do
that and how are you doing it that is perhaps different from others?
Mr. Jones: We first had products in the market more
than 3 years ago, focused around the SIP protocol, which means Session Initiation
Protocol. This protocol has now been widely adopted by companies like Cisco Systems
(NASDAQ: CSCO), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT). We
have 60 people focused on delivering the technology. Our adherence to standards allows us
to deploy quickly and to have a very strong interoperability story. What this basically
means is that out of the box our Softphone will work with many of the network elements and
devices that you would find in a VoIP network using SIP. Other companies have adopted a
more proprietary approach, which means that there is a lot of rework involved when you
involve different network elements, such as a PBX with a Gateway with something as simple
as a USB headset. They will operate slightly different in different ways, whereas from a
standards approach there is minimal rework. The second differentiator comes down to
strategy; we focus on working with very large carriers, large OEMs (Original Equipment
Manufactures), and large ITSPs and we have a unique approach to working with them. We have
a customer-engineering group that gets very engaged in the deployment, our application is
very flexible and we work many of the service providers value proposition into the
application, customizable to unique characteristics of how they are going to deploy a
CEOCFO: Tell us more
about how your product fits into the grand scheme.
Mr. Jones: Our application is what the end user would
use to communicate using either voice, video or instant messaging. A softphone would
either replace a traditional desktop phone or act as another medium for communicating in
parallel for example, using say a camera to have a video call while having a call on the
desktop phone. You could do both with our software but you might feel more comfortable
with your desktop phone.
CEOCFO: You have over
200 customers in over 49 countries; will you give us a sense of the market opportunity?
Mr. Jones: The market opportunity is significant.
Household broadband adoption is growing at more than 50% per year in the US. As broadband
adoption becomes more prevalent, the ability to have a high quality of voice and video
experience over the internet, as you communicate, becomes more possible. All of the large
service providers are migrating from TDM to IP. We are focused on delivering our solution
to global carriers and OEMs. As we build upon the success we have achieved by
deploying with leading brands like British Telecom, Deutsche Telekom and AT&T, we will
continue to ramp up our deployments. In our last quarter, 50% of our revenue came from
Europe and we generally see Europe as two to three years ahead of the US. The market for
our solution is just now taking off in significant fashion and we are prepared to take
advantage of this growth.
CEOCFO: What is the
Mr. Jones: Our year-end is April 30th, we
had $4.6 million in revenue. We have recently disclosed our first quarter 2007 results of
just under $1.8 million. We have had slightly more than 20% revenue growth consecutive
quarter-over-quarter for five quarters. We work with customers in three basic ways; a
perpetual license typical in software, with support and upgrades being an extra charge. An
annual support or a subscription model, which is a user fee per year, which includes
support and upgrades. We also do revenue shares.
CEOCFO: Do you need to
Mr. Jones: We have more than doubled the size of our
team in the last 5 quarters. We have kept the complexion of the people of the team in
similar fashion, predominantly focused on R&D and engineering. We are going to be
slowing the acquisition of additional headcount as we continue to grow and accelerate our
revenue. We will still be increasing on the R&D on side and the reason we do this is
because we need to stay at pace or ahead of the market in terms of innovation but we also
have a tremendous amount of opportunities internally that we are looking at
CEOCFO: Why is this a
good time for potential investors to be interested and what do people often miss about the
company that they should focus on?
Mr. Jones: I think investors see us as a very small
company. When you think about the kinds of relationships we have, the question that often
gets asked is how come this hasnt translated into hundreds of millions of dollars in
revenue, because these are the largest names in the world. The answer is that the
relationships that we are developing are not short-term relationships and as a result we
do not ask for tremendous amounts of money upfront; we are starting with our customers on
an evolution into VoIP. We are building relationships by putting substantial qualified
engineering resources deep into these accounts to help develop opportunities and to help
work with our targeted customer set to take their customers which would be the end users
like you and me into this new space which is VoIP and Video over IP and Communications
over IP. Our customers havent deployed in big numbers yet, for a few reasons;
customers are not necessarily ready to embrace the technology, but they will once the
feature sets, the quality and ability to have it change life really takes hold, which it
will over the next few years. As well, they are in the middle of legacy infrastructure
change out where they have existing infrastructure that they need to replace with IP. This
is the beginning of something large in terms of the market. It is not a question of if,
but when from a market perspective. We are well positioned in the market because we picked
SIP very early and built a practice area around it. As a result of picking SIP early, we
are very much ahead of competition from the very small competitors to the very large ones.
We are attracting some very high-quality engineering resources who believe in what we are
doing. Sixty people are a reasonable large software company particularly focused on this
space. The next thing I think they might miss from an investment perspective is the
ability of our existing management to execute on what we say we are going to do. Five
quarters ago, we said we were going to focus on developing relationships with service
providers and OEMs; we since announced some of the largest brands in the world. It is the
result of a targeted focus, and knowing what these kinds of customers want and need, and
then executing relentlessly on meeting and achieving these results. When prospective
customers ask for referrals, any of our customers that we are working with are glad to
give referrals to these customers. It is a testament to work that the whole team does; it
certainly has less to do with one individual than the whole team. We are very committed to
delivering on the vision we have which is to help take customers and our customers,
customers into VoIP.
someday we can expect CounterPath to be standard in all voice over applications!
Mr. Jones: You nailed a lot of what we see as our
mission statement. Our whole team is commited to designing, building, deploying and
supporting robust carrier grade SIP applications globally. To evidence how far we are
along that path, several members of the Counterpath team were just at a fairly large
industry trade show and AT&T was actually in our booth launching their softphone.
Walking around the tradeshow floor, there were more than 18 booths demonstrating their
technology using our Softphone. These would be some of the largest brands in this space,
demonstrating the capabilities of their technology using our Softphone. The fact they use
our phone, is a testament to our team, the strength of the product, and the quality of the
relationships we have both on the partner side and sales side.
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