Cbeyond isn't looking past the millions of small businesses in the US to find customers. The company offers local, long-distance, and cellular telephone and broadband Internet services, as well as a host of network and cloud-based services (data center, Web hosting, security, application migration, administration management) to more than 60,000 small and midsized businesses. It targets businesses in more than a dozen large metropolitan areas, divided between established (Atlanta, Dallas, Denver) and emerging (Boston, Seattle, Washington, DC) markets. Typical customers include law firms, physicians' offices, real estate companies, and accounting firms.
Cbeyond's service areas include Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, DC.
Sales and Marketing
The company markets its services primarily through a direct sales force, but also via partnerships with value-added resellers and IT and communications consultants. Its largest customer segment is professional services (medical offices, law firms, insurance agencies, consulting firms).
Cbeyond has a history of strong revenue growth, with sales almost doubling over the past five years. In 2011 it reported revenue of $485 million, up about 7%. Although average revenue per user declined in 2011 as customers opted for lower-priced packages, the company added enough new customers to offset the decline. Its established markets segment grew 3% year-over-year while its emerging markets segment more than doubled. Cbeyond also benefitted from its first full year of offering cloud services.
The company recorded a net loss of nearly $8 million in 2011, down from a loss of $1.7 million in 2010. It was hit with an income tax expense of more than $5 million that year related to the valuation of vested restricted shares.
The company is a strong player in a niche market, and its primary means of growth revolves around its small business-centric approach. It attempts to sidestep stiff competition from incumbent carriers (who frequently target large businesses and residential customers) by focusing on the traditionally underserved small businesses that don't have their own in-house IT department. Cbeyond intends to maintain its focus on this core group of customers by adding three new markets per year until it reaches all of the largest 25 cities in the US.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In late 2010 the company acquired MaximumASP and Aretta Communications as part of an effort to build its cloud-based data services for small and midsized business clients and expand into new geographic areas. Louisville, Kentucky-based MaximumASP specializes in managed virtual servers and dedicated servers, while Roswell, Georgia-based Aretta mainly offers hosted telephone systems and Internet protocol network trunking for businesses. The combined total cost of both transactions was about $33 million with provisions for further payments depending on future sales performance. Upon completion of the acquisitions, Cbeyond established a new cloud services segment.
Asset management firm BlackRock owns about 21% of Cbeyond. – less