Sparkplug Inc. Secures $22.5 Million Funding Round to Drive Expansion of Wireless Broadband Networks
Prominent telecommunications, wireless veterans join board of directors
CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sparkplug Inc. (www.sparkplug.net), a leading provider of wireless business broadband services, today announced it has received $22.5 million in funding to drive expansion of the company’s service areas throughout the Midwest and Southwestern United States, and added prominent telecommunications veterans to the company’s board of directors.
“We are excited to have people of the caliber of Steve Hooper, Gary O’Malley and Mikal Thomsen as investors and active members of our board as they are some of the most innovative and influential leaders in the wireless industry.”
The financing, a combination of equity and debt, was led by Ignition Partners, a venture capital firm based in Bellevue, Wash.; The Greenspun Corp. of Henderson, Nev.; and Trilogy Equity Partners, a venture capital firm also based in Bellevue, Wash. Other prominent investors include Allen & Co. and Square 1 Bank. Gary O’Malley of Greenspun and Mikal Thomsen, a partner and co-founder of Trilogy, have joined the Sparkplug board, with Steve Hooper of Ignition Partners continuing as chairman.
Sparkplug Inc. was formed last year as the result of the merger of three established companies: Sparkplug in Chicago, Prairie iNet in Des Moines, Iowa; and Telespectra in Phoenix. Sparkplug Inc. has operations and networks across eight states, making it one of the largest service providers in the emerging wireless business broadband market.
“The merger of the three companies brought together a great team and operating strength that has already enabled Sparkplug to grow and better serve our business customer’s broadband needs. This additional capital provides us with a tremendous opportunity to address the needs of more businesses in more locations,” said Bill Malloy, CEO of Sparkplug. “We are excited to have people of the caliber of Steve Hooper, Gary O’Malley and Mikal Thomsen as investors and active members of our board as they are some of the most innovative and influential leaders in the wireless industry.”
Compared to traditional wired networks, Sparkplug’s wireless networks offer customers significant advantages including lower costs, higher symmetrical speeds, improved reliability and much greater flexibility. For example, customers can cost- effectively scale their bandwidth from 2 Mbps to 200 Mbps. For many customers, Sparkplug’s wireless broadband supplements existing telecom services to provide extra capacity, redundancy and reliability for services such as Internet access, VOIP, video and other advanced IP services. Large business and government customers also turn to Sparkplug to install and manage the data connection from one location to another.
“The customers Sparkplug serves live by their data and broadband connections, and their transport and bandwidth needs are growing rapidly given all of the IP applications they are deploying,” said Hooper. “Advances in fixed wireless technology let Sparkplug design, build and manage a network direct to the customer and in turn offer great service at a great value along with a diverse path from the wired network. It’s a winning proposition for business customers.”
“What really impressed me about Sparkplug is how enthusiastic their business customers are for the broadband services they provide,” said Trilogy’s Thomsen. “Whether it’s a small or mid-sized business needing a scalable broadband connection or a large enterprise or government agency with transport needs, Sparkplug provides the speed, reliability and affordability these data-driven customers want.”
“Sparkplug brings together an experienced, proven management team and a strong customer base in a growth market,” said O’Malley of Greenspun. “We believe this company is well-positioned both operationally and in terms of market opportunity for sustained growth.”
About Ignition Partners
Ignition Partners, headquartered in Bellevue, Wash., is a venture capital firm dedicated to helping the best entrepreneurs seize opportunity — from turning their early stage idea into a business, to hiring the right team, providing the right industry and functional insight and connections, and growing their business strategically, globally and financially to realize the best ultimate outcome. Ignition invests in emerging and future leaders in communications, Internet, software and services across business and consumer targets. Ignition brings together an unparalleled combination of domain focus, technical expertise and global operational experience. Ignition’s partners are proven business leaders who have built some of the world’s most successful businesses of the last two decades, including Microsoft Windows and Office, McCaw Cellular Communications, AT&T Wireless and Starbucks. More information is available at www.ignitionpartners.com.
About Trilogy Equity Partners
Trilogy Equity Partners was founded by successful veterans of the wireless industry, including the executive team that founded Western Wireless and VoiceStream. Trilogy’s partners have started new companies in emerging industries and have built enduring businesses across four continents. Trilogy’s portfolio companies benefit from its operational expertise and its global network of relationships in addition to its financial investment. Trilogy Equity Partners is located in Bellevue, Wash. For any questions, please call Trilogy at 425-458-5900.
About The Greenspun Corp.
The Greenspun Corp. is a privately-owned company that manages and oversees the financial interests of the Greenspun Family of Companies. Headquartered in Henderson, Nev., TGC holds a strong regional presence in real estate, media, communications, travel and tourism, gaming and technology. Well-positioned to sustain a competitive advantage, TGC has partnered with shareholders, associates and the community to build an innovative portfolio of market leaders including American Nevada Company, SkyMall, various gaming partnerships, as well as the Greenspun Media Group whose primary businesses include weekly newspapers, magazine publications and travel Web sites VEGAS.com and LasVegas.com.
About Square 1 Bank
Square 1 Bank first opened its doors Aug. 8, 2005, as a full service commercial bank providing financial services to venture capital firms and entrepreneurs in all stages of growth and expansion. Square 1’s expertise, focus and strong capital base provide solid support for its clients’ needs. The bank offers tailored products and solutions aided by the latest technological innovations. To serve its relationships, Square 1 has offices coast to coast in Austin, Boston, New York metro, Reston, San Diego, Seattle, and the Silicon Valley. The bank is headquartered in Durham, N.C. More information is available at www.square1bank.com.
About Sparkplug Inc.
With wireless networks across eight states, including Illinois, Iowa, Arizona, Tennessee, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and California, Sparkplug Inc. ranks among the nation’s leading providers of wireless business broadband services. Wireless networks built and managed by the company provide enterprise customers with a diverse connection from traditional wired networks. In addition to offering scaleable high-speed point to multi-point broadband access, the company offers a range of specialized point-to-point data transport services to connect businesses, government and carrier customers across metro areas or across states. For more information, please visit www.sparkplug.net.