Ridgeland — When Network Streaming, LLC, a Ridgeland-based remote collaboration software development company, opened for business in August 2003, it was a good hunch that the founder, Joel Bomgaars, a new systems engineer for Business Communications, Inc. (BCI) and a recent Belhaven College graduate, was on to something big.
Last October, Network Streaming surpassed the $1 million sales mark during its first full year of operations. In 17 months, the company has amassed a client list of more than 850 customers in 46 states and 30 foreign countries.
“We had anticipated hitting $1 million in total revenue by the end of 2004, including sales in 2003, but we surpassed that goal early, and ended the calendar year with $1.1 million in gross revenue,” said Nathan McNeill, COO and marketing coordinator.
The trio that runs the shop — Bomgaars, McNeill and Patrick Norman — recently raised $1 million in capital from two local investment groups: Gulf South Capital, led by former U.S. Ambassador to Portugal John Palmer, and Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company (SFBLIC).
The capital infusion was the result of “a long process … and a fluke,” said McNeill. “We had a meeting with (Mississippi Development Authority executive director) Leland Speed, just to see if he might have some advice for us, and he pulled John Palmer into the room. We ended up giving him the quick take on what we were doing, and added, ‘by the way, we’re looking for venture capital.’ We had already met with (SFBLIC CEO) Joey Stroble, and it turned out that John and Joey had a connection, so within a month or so, we had the money in hand.”
Network Streaming, a subsidiary of BCI, recently moved from a 400-square-foot workspace in the back of the BCI building into 3,000 square feet of new office space in the Paragon Building on Highland Colony Parkway. The company will soon add software developers to the staff of 16 to meet the demand for the company’s newest remote product, PresentationDesk.
“As a whole, we’re really excited about the way things are going,” said McNeill.
On January 10, to meet the goal of aggressive growth planned for 2005, Network Streaming hired Stephen Payne, most recently the manager of a 30-person sales team for BMC Software Inc. of Houston, Texas, as vice president of sales.
“Ironically, we found Stephen through an article about our company that was published in the Mississippi Business Journal last summer,” said McNeill. “He was looking for an opportunity to come back home. His roots were here — he went to Ole Miss and grew up in the Jackson area — and he wanted to work in technology in the Jackson area. He contacted us, and we were certainly interested.”
Payne recalled reading about the company and thinking it “was an interesting concept.”
“The idea of a young company run by young people excited me, so after letting the article sit on my desk for a couple of weeks, I finally picked up the phone and called Joel,” he said. “I could tell he was serious about what he was doing, but their resources were thin. When the money came through, they got real serious about bringing me onboard.”
Payne’s first order of business: developing a marketing strategy and bringing on partners to assist with sales efforts of Network Streaming’s signature products.
On December 1, Network Streaming released its newest product, PresentationDesk, a follow-up of the company’s successful SupportDesk remote desktop technical support product. The product enables presenters to share their screen online with anyone in the world in a matter of seconds simply by inviting their audience to a secure website. Within the first six weeks of the product rollout, 22 licenses had been sold.
“PresentationDesk is a big next step toward the expansion of our vision of offering simple, cost effective solutions enabling remote collaboration over the Internet, whether collaboration for support, training or sales,” said McNeill.
The launch of PresentationDesk follows the release of Gateway hardware, which acts as the collaboration platform for PresentationDesk and other Network Streaming products.
“Online productivity tools — support and presentation — are really hot right now in the tech industry,” said Payne. “There’s such a significant growth opportunity. There are some big names in the space, but we’re going to compete well with them.”
Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne W. Jeter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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