To be always transparent, unlike many in the tech reporting or analyst world, I'm a shareholder in Dialpad and have in the past consulted on various projects and programs to the company. That means, I'm openly biased to see the company succeed. But then again, I'm supportive of the telecom industry, and never hide my affiliations or who I work with or advise.
That's why when I learned this morning about the Dialpad acquisition of HighFive, I couldn't have been more ecstatic as it shows a steady path forward for the company that is really one of the few born in the cloud, and buyers of born in the cloud technology, out there.
Often you hear of some company being acquired. Usually its for gap filling, market position, revenue or a team of people to make the business look better. This purchase does all that and more because as growth oriented as Dialpad has been since their start, they have done it with a very lean team, and a core group of people who keep it going, growing and more. The Talk IQ acquisition two years back set them on a smart path around AI, and while companies like Chorus.AI or Grain, sell similar add-on services, they are plug ins, not a core part of the business. At Dialpad, the TalkIQ integration is woven inside the entire service--phone, conferencing and obviously soon in video. (i.e. Martin Geddes-HyperVoice hat tip circa 2012).
But why buy High Five? Beyond what has been reported already there's a lot more here:
- Google lineage of staff
- Understanding of Cloud Native technology
- Deepening of the team-Vincent, Brian and John plus Craig all have been the product, ops and management team. The Talk IQ team added significant smarts and depth, this adds even more skill sets and greater depth. As a former sports team executive who learned all about TEAM building from the great Flyers GM, Keith Allen, having depth and talent who can all play together is never easy. This group can and does.
- Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) is cheaper to buy than to give up equity to investors. As a shareholder who sees that Video is clearly where the market is going, this adds customers who already like the video service. Add in UberConference and Dialpad to those customers and its a multiple win for Dialpad and the shareholders as it increases value of the business. Customers, and revenue per seat are how businesses are bought. IP value is added in, so is team but value comes from what money is coming in the door.
- Doing Voice right isn't easy. Doing video right, is even harder. Dialpad picks up a video team that's proven.
- If video is hard. Getting hardware right is even more complicated. I remember working with the Skype team on their video hardware debut. HighFive has proven they can design, source and supply gear that works WITH THEIR SERVICE.
- This means people can't say "you don't offer..." vs, Zoom or Cisco.
Long time VoIP and Cloud exec Jeff Bonforte, while at Yahoo Voice, once remarked he would never be in the hardware business. Well for video to be done right, hardware with cameras and speakerphones is a necessary part of the game. So for Dialpad, HighFive brings them all types of hardware smarts, that integrates into the service natively, not as an add on.
As someone who has been using UberConference video from about the time it was an internal idea, and recalling a video call one fall night while in San Francisco with CEO, Craig Walker who was in Singapore on a local SIM card, and I was on my way to an upscale pizza place, I remember how video at Dialpad started. To say, "you've come along way, baby" is an understatement. With HighFive in the house, you've just moved from a having a "we too" product, to a being serious player to Zoom, WebEx and Teams, as a top flight provider who has cloud, customers, convenience and a cool offering.
Yes, I'm biased, but having been around telecom now for 20 years, this deal rings like money in the bank.