Fonative welcomes Jim Thomasch as CFO

November 2018

Jim Thomasch has joined the Fonative team as Chief Financial Officer. He manages the finance, accounting, and treasury functions for the Company. 

With more than 25 years’ experience in corporate finance, operations and management consulting, Jim has guided private and public start-ups and higher-growth enterprises through all stages of business development. 

Jim began his career in public accounting with Arthur Andersen & Co. as an auditor and staff accountant. Over the years, he quickly progressed through the ranks across high-tech companies in the Greater Boston area, including Division President and COO, of XRE Corporation (formerly of Thermo Electron), Senior Vice President and CFO of PLC Systems, and CEO of Clinquest Inc. He most recently co-founded IMS, Inc., a technology start-up that develops and distributes innovative imaging devices. Jim remains active as a Director on its Board, and also serves as a part-time Managing Director at Dunn Rush & Co. LLC, a Boston-based investment bank providing Merger and Acquisition advisory services.

“We’re excited to bring onboard such a consummate professional,” said Stephen Smith, CEO of Fonative. “Having a strong finance arm is the final piece dropping into place, and we’re now poised for the next phase of our growth. Jim’s background and experience couldn’t be a better fit as we look to expand our team, customer base, and products.”

Fonative receives third U.S. patent for answering machine detection

September 2018

Fonative, Inc., a provider of secure, scalable enterprise-grade CPaaS solutions, announced it was awarded U.S. Patent No. 10,014,006 titled Method of Determining Whether a Phone Call is Answered by a Human or by an Automated Device. 

Fonative helps businesses connect with customers through voice and text. With Fonative's Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS), application providers integrate calls and messaging into their solutions without the need to maintain servers, infrastructure, network, and telecommunications carriers.  

This latest patent covers a novel, new approach to combining Fonative’s existing heuristic-based answering machine detection with sophisticated pattern recognition to detect known voicemail prompts and standard answering machines.  

“We're excited to bring our audio signal analysis technology forward and apply it to new areas; in this case, the domain of answering machine detection,” said Steve Smith, CEO of Fonative. “With the ability to detect known answering machine and voicemail messages, we can further improve accuracy and reduce false detection for our customers."

Fonative received two prior patent awards for its audio signal analysis technology in 2015 and 2017, respectively.

Ampersand, Inc. is now Fonative, Inc.

July 2018

Ampersand, Inc., an industry veteran in providing innovative enterprise-scale telecommunications solutions, has changed its name to Fonative, Inc. The new name reflects the company’s strengthened focus on linking enterprises with customers via the cloud through voice and text, as it continues its successful run of 25+ years in business. 

A telephony solution provider that nurtures its expertise through technology innovation and superb customer care, Fonative helped to pioneer the migration to VoIP for large-scale enterprise applications, launching the first extensive enterprise VoIP platform in North America.

Powering more than 60 U.S. call centers representing 5,000 agents and over 20 million minutes of calls per month, Fonative’s patented technology is trusted in highly regulated industries that include Accounts Receivable Management and Healthcare Revenue Cycle Management.

Key customer Ontario Systems weighed in on Fonative’s endurance in a market that is witnessing a proliferation of disruptive technologies and accelerated growth. “The Fonative CPaaS API is a trusted component of the enhanced capabilities we deliver through our contact management solutions,” noted Jason Harrington, President of Ontario Systems. “We appreciate our long-term partnership with the Fonative team; they know VoIP and are proven innovators in outbound communications.”  

“The enterprise contact center continues to be the focal point where consumers interact with brands,” said Stephen Smith, Fonative’s CEO. “The top companies in the world recognize this and are fueling innovation. It’s an exciting time to be in this industry.”

Nicholas Paine joins Board of Advisors

November 2017

Ampersand strengthened its Board of Advisors team with the addition of Nicholas Paine, Founder and CEO of Quinto Capital, a venture capital investor in high-growth tech and SaaS companies and real estate platforms. 

Nicholas began corporate life in Proctor and Gamble brand management and moved on to found, operate and chair several IT and internet companies located across the globe including Lavalife, a telephone dating service that evolved into an online and mobile dating site. Nick grew Lavalife from inception to $90 million in revenue before selling it to a public company in 2004.

“Nicholas brings solid expertise in growing teams and businesses and a focus on Software as a Service,” said Stephen Smith, CEO of Ampersand. “He’s a perfect fit for our Board of Advisors, and I’m delighted to continue our working relationship.”

Ampersand awarded U.S. patent for digitized audio signal identification

July 2017

Ampersand, Inc., a provider of secure, scalable enterprise-grade CPaaS solutions, announced it was awarded U.S. Patent No. No. 9,679,584 titled Method of Matching a Digitized Stream of Audio Signals to a known audio recording.

The patent covers a system and method of analyzing a digital audio stream to compute a digital audio print, identify a pattern, and compare and match the pattern to a library of known digital audio prints.

For call centers, having accurate call progress analysis greatly improves agent efficiency. According to a
customer study conducted at a large call center, over 5 percent of outbound unanswered calls don’t actually ring, but instead play early media that indicates that the dialed number is temporarily or permanently unavailable.

With its patented technology, Ampersand builds a database of telecommunication carrier early media messages, and detects when these messages are heard on outbound calls. This allows for reliable determination and disposition of permanently disconnected numbers, even when the carrier itself does not provide the correct SIP termination code.

“Over time, we’ve continued to invest in our intellectual property, specifically in the areas of outbound calls and call progress analysis,” said Stephen Smith, CEO of Ampersand, Inc. “With this technology, we're able to properly provide highly accurate call dispositions to indicate temporary or permanent failures, allowing our customers to update their campaign inventories and/or redial numbers within regulatory compliance guidelines,” he added.

This patent is a follow-on to U.S. Patent No. 9,053,711 awarded to Ampersand in 2015.

Ampersand adds Jay Rogers to its engineering group

May 2017

Ampersand is growing its team, with the latest addition of Jay Rogers to the engineering group.

Jay joins Ampersand from HERE Technologies, provider of the Open Location Platform. Prior to this, Jay developed software at leading technology firms including MITRE and EMC for web-based and SaaS cloud-based enterprise applications, data storage devices, virtual infrastructures, network switches, compilers, and aircraft navigation.

“I worked with Jay at Ampersand’s founding and am very pleased to have our paths cross again,” said Stephen Smith, CEO of Ampersand. “Throughout his career, Jay has fine-tuned an impressive range of programming expertise as well as interpersonal and mentornig skills which are ideally suited to Ampersand’s growth strategy in delivering secure, scalable enterprise-grade CPaaS solutions.”

Ampersand, Inc. joins the UMass Lowell Innovation Hub

February 2017

Ampersand, Inc., a provider of highly scalable VoIP telephony cloud solutions, announced the opening of a new office located at the UMass Lowell Innovation Hub.

With its spacious, state-of-the-art floor plan, the Innovation Hub provides 24-hour access to office amenities, support services and a prototyping lab. Its open structure offers a dynamic setting for technology companies and established manufacturing partners to explore synergies and collaborate. It is located at 110 Canal Street in the heart of Lowell’s newly named Hamilton Canal Innovation District.

“We’re pleased to welcome Ampersand to our growing community of technology-based startups here at the UMass Lowell Innovation Hub,” said iHub Director Tom O’Donnell. “Through their membership, the Ampersand team will have access to a comprehensive suite of services, programs, opportunities for collaboration and resources to nurture their entrepreneurial vision and support their technology commercialization efforts.”

Ampersand opened its iHub office in January and immediately began to reap the benefits of its new locale.

“The Innovation Hub offers a flexible environment for us to work in a central location,” said Stephen Smith, CEO of Ampersand, Inc. “With up-close access to a rich diversity of research as well as technical and business resources, we have tremendous opportunity to grow our team and our business.”

About the UMass Lowell Innovation Hub

Located in downtown Lowell's vibrant Hamilton Canal Innovation District, UMass Lowell's Innovation Hub provides access to private and coworking spaces, meeting and event locations, a prototyping and fabrication lab, support services and much more. UMass Lowell is a national research university delivering high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff to its more than 17,750 students. Learn more at www.uml.edu/Innovation-Hub/.

Ampersand deploys cloud-based telephony platform with Ontario Systems

December 2016

Ampersand, a provider of VoIP telephony platforms and sophisticated call analytics to enterprise call centers, announced its cloud-based solution is now live with Ontario Systems’ core enterprise product, Contact Savvy®. Ontario Systems uses Kaliope Cloud® as the core engine for the contact management platform it takes to market, and has created deep platform integration and additional features to serve their target markets.

Kaliope Cloud offers a cost-efficient solution for end customers to completely outsource their telephony needs. The REST API provides full control over inbound and outbound calls, conferencing of call legs, call recording, media control, and VXML scripting. Ampersand manages and ensures highly-available performance across carriers, networks, and servers. Ontario Systems is a leading accounts receivable management (ARM) and healthcare revenue cycle management (RCM) software and services provider. Initial implementation at the company’s customer sites represents over 100 call center agents placing 100k to 150k calls daily through Kaliope Cloud.

“Contact Savvy 2.0 encompasses the most powerful collection of telephony solutions available in our industry today,” said Rip Harris, Product Management Director at Ontario Systems. “Ampersand’s proven VoIP expertise has been a key component of our value chain, and with Kaliope Cloud they’ve raised the bar even higher. Running Contact Savvy on Ampersand’s world- class telephony service allows us to focus on our core applications and our customers’ success.”

“Kaliope Cloud provides a highly secure and reliable platform that scales to serve our customers’ needs,” said Stephen Smith, CEO of Ampersand. “Ontario Systems is a trusted industry leader and long-time customer, and after extensive Alpha and Beta testing we’re very pleased to be live with Contact Savvy 2.0.”

Ampersand CEO to keynote at NY Real Time Web Solutions conference on 8/4/16

July 2016

On August 4th at 11:00 am, Ampersand CEO Stephen Smith will keynote at the Real Time Web Solutions Conference in New York. His talk will explore the key elements of a real-time communication API architecture that can scale to 50k simultaneous calls in a secure, cloud-based environment. The Conference will take place August 1-4 at The Kimmel Center, 60 Washington Square South in New York City. Visit http://www.webrtcexpo.com/east for conference information.

Glen Gerhard joins Board of Advisors

June 2016

Ampersand expanded its breadth of expertise in VoIP telephony solutions with the addition of Glen Gerhard to its Board of Advisors.

Glen Gerhard is Founder of CogNexus, a consulting company focused on technical training in developing countries. Prior to this, Glen served as VP of Product Development at Sansay, where he was instrumental in defining corporate and product strategy for its software-based VoIP infrastructures. With extensive background in both carrier and vendor corporations, Glen deftly brings complex issues into focus while providing an objective view of the challenges facing VoIP and NGN carriers.

“Through his role at Sansay and prior positions in the TEMS markets, Glen has established deep connections and insight into the telecommunication provider landscape, which is a very valuable asset for Ampersand,” said Stephen Smith, CEO of Ampersand.

Ampersand taps EiQ Networks for SaaS security service solution

May 2016

Ampersand selected EiQ Networks' SOCVue hybrid Saas security services to fortify security operations http://bit.ly/1WPE3m8. EiQ's solution allows us to meet PCI- and HIPAA-compliance requirements and tap into a cadre of senior cybersecurity experts to provide our customers with a secure and reliable enterprise telephony platform.

"Because EiQ's solution allows us to meet both compliance requirements, we are able to outsource an ideal mix of features and services in a flexible OpEx model," said Howie Cheney, COO of Ampersand

Ampersand establishes Board of Advisors

February 2016

Ampersand, provider of VoIP-based solutions that transform enterprise call centers, announced the formation of its Board of Advisors. Each of its Board members brings a wealth of experience and professional achievement across the high-technology industry.

Ed Pendergast, Managing Director of Dunn Rush & Co. LLC and Founder and President of Pendergast & Company LLC, works with a broad range of companies in industries that include materials, restaurants, professional services, technology, and medical devices. With a strong foothold in finance, Ed advises companies on team building, strategy and corporate governance, and serves as a Director on numerous boards including NACD’s Board Advisory Services.

Michael Wolfe, Chief Technology Officer of Ontario Systems, LLC, is responsible for all product development, engineering, and infrastructure for the company’s software and cloud-based products. He brings deep technical expertise and proficiency in complex problem solving to Ampersand and other organizations including the Security and Software Engineering Research Center (S2ERC), where Michael is Chairman of the Industry Advisory Board.

Steve Chasen, Executive Vice President for Business Development at PeopleServe, Inc., oversees new business and strategic partnerships at this award-winning technology staffing firm. With 30+ years in the high-technology industry, Steve was Co-founder, President, CEO, and Chairman of Triton Technologies Inc., a direct response inbound call center, until its sale in 2010. At Mercury Systems, Steve served as SVP and General Manager of Operations; VP and GM of Product Operations, VP of Customer Service, and formed the company’s Solutions Systems Group.

Stephen Smith, CEO of Ampersand: “We’re thrilled to be able to leverage the experience, guidance, and connections of our seasoned Advisory Board. As our products continue to gain momentum, we have a strong team in place to help us refine our strategy and grow our business.”