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Our success has always been due in part to the hard work and high quality of our vendor partners. We continue to seek out and work with top-tier vendor players that enable us to maximize performance, security, and compliance across our entire platform.

Fonative Security Partners

In the ever-evolving world of call centers and contact centers that conduct business in regulated business markets including healthcare, government, and financial services, the need to integrate communications with customer or patient information is only getting more complex, along with even more stringent requirements for compliance.

At Fonative, we solve these problems with our Compliant Communications platform and APIs, making us the first choice for call centers and contact centers who need to be sure their information, and that of their customers, meets and exceeds those requirements – by building in what’s needed right from the start.

From the start, Fonative established security and privacy as fundamental parts of its enterprise ready CPaaS platform.

Experts in enterprise IP communications

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Fonative's agility in building best-in-class CPaaS solutions comes from a solid foothold in real-time communications.

Early on, we recognized the potential for VoIP and helped to pioneer the migration to VoIP for large-scale enterprise applications, developing one of the first extensive large-scale North American enterprise VoIP platforms in 2006. Formerly known as Ampersand, we’ve been building large-scale contact center-grade solutions ever since, with leading-edge technology inspired by experience and insight.

We believe in giving back, and have helped to develop the industry as frequent speakers at VON and IT EXPO conferences.

Our success has always been due in part to the hard work and high quality of our vendor partners, and we continue to seek out and work with top-tier vendor players that enable us to maximize performance in our platform.

In 2018, we surpassed 25 successive years of business and launched our new brand identity which now more closely mirrors our strategic focus. As our name and icon suggest, Fonative helps businesses connect with customers through voice and text.

Executive Team

Stephen Smith, Founder and CEO

After an early career as a software development consultant in real-time system controls and defense sector enterprise IT, Steve formed Fonative, Inc. in 1992 (then known as Ampersand, Inc.) to respond to increasing demand and opportunities for this expertise.

In Fonative’s first decade, Steve built and led a talented team of program managers, software architects, and engineers to tackle a broad range of defense and national intelligence community projects with prime contractors that included Lockheed Martin, PRC, Titan Aerospace, and Sun Federal.

In 2000, Steve refocused the company toward providing scalable telephony systems and call centers in the private sector, and went on to work with innovative firms such as Lavalife LLP (formerly Interactive Media Group), Dialogic Corp., Vsys, and others. Immersed in large-scale enterprise telephony, Fonative was quick to see the potential for VoIP. Steve was invited to join the VON advisory board and became a sought-after speaker at industry conferences.

From 2000 to 2007, Steve also played a pivotal role at Lavalife as its contract CTO and Chief Scientist through its acquisition by Vertrue in 2006. He initiated the migration of its IVR systems and call centers to VoIP, saving $2.4 million in annual operating expenses. After launching the first large-scale North American enterprise inbound VoIP platform, Lavalife won the Canadian CIPA Silver Award for Excellence in Innovation.

In 2008, Fonative began building its own software products, resulting in the launch of the Kaliope® Suite of modular call center components which expanded into a significant installed base. As IT sector after IT sector moved to the cloud, Fonative created its robust CPaaS solution in 2014, which entered production use the following year and is currently powering more than 50 U.S. contact centers representing thousands of agents and millions of calls per month.

In addition to leading Fonative as CEO, Steve serves part-time as a Managing Director at Dunn Rush & Co. LLC, a Boston-based investment bank where he lends his expertise in Technology, Media, and Telecommunications as a Registered Investment Banking Representative (Series 62, 63, 79).

Steve graduated with distinction from Cornell University in 1984 with a degree in Computer Science and currently holds three patents in areas related to voice call processing (U.S. Patent Numbers 9,053,711, 9,679,584, and 10,014,006).

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Howie Cheney, COO

Howie oversees Fonative's day-to-day operations, professional services, and customer support. He manages the network, infrastructure, and monitoring and is responsible for maintaining Fonative's high reliability in tandem with the engineering team. And, as Fonative's Chief Information Security Officer, Howie oversees the company's information security policies and security program.

During his 25+-year career in the high-technology industry, Howie has served in a variety of C-level roles. Prior to Fonative, Howie was the CIO/VP of Information Technology at Sterling Autobody, a division of Allstate Corporation, where he led a complete revamp and consolidation of the company's core IT infrastructure. He redesigned systems and networks to be more functional, reliable, and cost-effective while delivering seamless deployments to over 55 sites across 14 states.

Howie is inherently familiar with call center and IVR service provider operations and large distributed networked enterprises. At Triton Technologies, a successful direct response marketing sales call center, Howie was instrumental in building the interactive media line of business. He extended the marketing reach of Triton's clients with online campaigns designed to complement traditional direct response channels, and expanded call capacity and overflow call handling with the development of an IVR-based automated sales agent. Howie also co-founded RevClick, a search engine marketing firm that became a Triton Technologies line of business.

Howie's technology career began in the embedded computing industry and flourished in building organizations to deliver increasing value to customers. As Director of Professional Services at Mercury Computer Systems, Howie built an organization that delivered 20 percent of the company's $150 million in annual revenue. He graduated magna cum laude from Northeastern University with a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science and earned an MBA from Babson College.

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Jim Thomasch, CFO

Jim joined Fonative in September 2018 and manages the finance, accounting, and treasury functions for the Company. During his more than 25 years’ experience in corporate finance, operations and management consulting, Jim has served in CFO, COO, and CEO roles and has guided private and public technology and service companies through all stages of business development, including early start-ups and higher-growth stage enterprises.

Jim began his career in public accounting with Arthur Andersen & Co. as an auditor and staff accountant and progressed to Enterprise Group Manager within the firm. He left Arthur Anderson to become CFO, then Division President and COO, of XRE Corporation (formerly of Thermo Electron), a manufacturer of cardiac and vascular imaging systems. In this role, Jim was responsible for 240 employees across 15 states and was involved in all aspects of managing the division’s operations. Jim led the company through a challenging period as it transitioned OEM to direct sales and grew division sales at a compounded 100% growth rate.

Jim next served for 12 years as Senior Vice President and CFO of PLC Systems, a publicly traded medical technology company. He directed a staff responsible for the full scope of corporate SEC reporting, finance, legal, audit, contract administration, order processing, information technology, human resources, and risk management. In addition, Jim successfully raised over $20 million in capital, which was used to accelerate the company’s sales and marketing programs and fund manufacturing, operations, and R&D.

After his role at PLC Systems, Jim was CEO of Clinquest Inc., a clinical research organization with U.S. and international clients in the biopharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. As a result of its successful track record and client service performance, Clinquest was acquired in 2015 by Accelovance, Inc.

Most recently, Jim co-founded IMS, Inc., a technology start-up that develops and distributes innovative imaging devices. He remains active as a Director on its Board. Jim also serves as a part-time Managing Director at Dunn Rush & Co. LLC, a Boston-based investment bank providing Merger and Acquisition advisory services.

Jim is a licensed CPA in Massachusetts. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Carroll School of Management of Boston College with a B.S. in Management/Accounting concentration, and has since completed graduate courses at both Babson College and Bentley University.

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Andy Abramson, CMO

Andy has been involved in telecom and the digital world through his marketing services agency, Comunicano, which operates globally as an all-virtual agency. Since 2000, Andy has propelled 48 company exits in the fintech, web, Internet, mobile, telecom, media, financial services and IT infrastructure sectors, generating more than $5.3 billion for the investors, founders and employees via M&A or IPO. Some companies that have been acquired include StubHub, GrandCentral, Telesphere, GIPS, SimpleSignal, SightSpeed, Dynamicsoft, WebDialogs, HiDef Conferencing, BridgePort Networks and Comgates. He has previously served as Senior Advisor to Counterpath, Dialpad, AT&T, Nokia, AOL, and many other companies on a global basis on matters related to the telecom industry, marketing and communications.

A pioneer in remote work and virtual team leadership, Andy serves as the Chief Marketing Officer for Fonative. He joined the company in May 2019 and guides the company in strategy and implementation of marketing, demand generation, special events, corporate communications, public relations, influencer development, social media and reputation management.  

An avid wine collector, accidental winemaker, and global traveler, Andy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Temple University. He is a member of the board of directors of More Too Life, a leading anti-human trafficking organization, and a Director Emeritus of The Atlantic Amateur Hockey Association, where he is also an honored inductee in their Hall of Fame.

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Matt Bramson, Business Development

A serial “first sales hire” for multiple companies, Matt leads Fonative’s Business Development efforts with an entrepreneurial approach.  He has 25+ years of executive experience in corporate and nonprofit leadership.

Matt is also currently a partner in Advantary, a full-service management accelerator that assists mid-market companies to turn change into advantage. In that role, he has provided strategic and operational go-to-market leadership for innovative companies including OSI Systems, Nearmap, PhoneSentry, and TeleBroad.

Previously, Matt was Chief Revenue Officer for Inphonex Corporation, a cloud-based provider of telecommunications capabilities to service providers and enterprises.  With responsibility for leading strategy, marketing, and sales, Matt developed a successful CPaaS offering; conceived and launched a UCaaS service, RingByName; and created a breakthrough evolution of CallerID for the financial services industry called E-Z Score. Prior to this, Matt led Business Development for XO Communications which was acquired by Verizon for $1.8 billion. In this role, Matt reported directly the Chairman, legendary investor Carl Icahn, and was responsible for developing the XO Software Store, the industry’s first cloud software supermarket; XO Everywhere, the first commercial GSM-WiFi fixed-mobile converged wireless service; and a joint venture with Google to bundle Google Docs with XO data and voice services. In addition, working closely with Carl Icahn, Matt won more than $25 million in new business from Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Jeffries, Apollo Global, Carlyle Group, Trian Partners, and other leading financial services and investment organizations.

Matt graduated from Carleton College with a degree in Philosophy and studied constitutional law at Harvard University.

Advisory Board

Fonative's Board of Advisors further expands the company's breadth of

technical expertise, industry experience, and business savvy.

Ed Pendergast

Ed Pendergast is a Managing Director of the investment banking firm Dunn Rush & Co. LLC. He serves on a number of Boards in positions that include Chair, Interim CEO, and Committee Chair.

At his consulting firm, Pendergast & Company LLC, Ed works with a broad range of companies in industries as diverse as materials, medical devices, technology, professional services, and restaurants. While his primary background is finance, Ed advises companies on team building, strategy, and corporate governance. Ed has also served as an arbitrator and mediator helping to resolve commercial disputes.

Ed holds both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree from Bentley University and is a graduate of the Owner President Management Program (OPM) at Harvard Business School. He has held a number of credentials including Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Accredited Business Valuator (ABV), and Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA). Ed serves on the faculty of the National Association of Corporate Directors’ (NACD) Board Advisory Services, evaluating effectiveness and guiding boards towards best practices for good governance.

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Nicholas Paine

Nicholas Paine is Founder and CEO of Quinto Capital, a venture capital investor in high-growth tech companies and real estate platforms. The Quinto investment portfolio comprises 12 direct venture investments and 3 venture funds located across Europe and the UK, North America, and Greater China, more recently skewing toward software-as-a-service businesses.

Nicholas began corporate life in Proctor and Gamble brand management and moved on to become an Executive, Founder, and Chairman/CEO of several IT and internet companies located across the globe.

One such venture is Lavalife, which began as a telephone dating service in the 1980s and evolved into online dating with the advent of the internet. Nicholas and his co-founders grew Lavalife to $90 million in annual revenues and sold it to a Nasdaq-listed company in 2004. Nicholas continues his involvement in the social network space as Chairman of WorldFriends, an international meetup service based in Shanghai that is expanding into Indonesia.

Nicholas is well versed in building effective early-stage company growth strategies, brands, and management teams. He holds an Honours Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the Ivey Business School, the University of Western Ontario.

Glen Gerhard

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 Management 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 and context. Glen has spoken at numerous industry conferences and authored technical whitepapers, providing practical experience and an objective view of the challenges facing VoIP and NGN carriers.

Prior to Sansay, Glen joined San Diego-based Nuera Communications as Product Manager and was later named VP of Business Development, overseeing the introduction of its first SIP gateways and SS7 softswitches. Before joining Nuera Communications, Glen worked for Network Equipment Technologies as a System Engineer and Product Manager. Glen holds a BSEE from Ohio State University.

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Michael Wolfe

Michael Wolfe is the Vice President of Government Solutions for Ontario Systems, LLC, North America’s leading vendor of Accounts Receivable Management and Revenue Cycle Management solutions.

Michael has driven dozens of initiatives that have helped solve the most complex business problems for, and with, Ontario’s clients. His focus lies on open, loyal relationships with customers, which he sees as the foundation for constant improvement across the enterprise. A technophile at heart, Michael is fluent in programming in many different architectures, building complex systems, and managing the complexities of cloud solutions.

Michael is Chairman of the Industry Advisory Board of the Security and Software Engineering Research Center (S2ERC); Founder and President of Sustainable Muncie, a nonprofit organization focused on economic development and financial sustainability of the Muncie downtown; and Founder, President, and Chairman of the Board of Farmished, a nonprofit seeking to establish a sustainable, local food ecosystem.

Careers at Fonative

Since the beginning, Fonative has enjoyed the camaraderie of a small company that's big on leveraging proven technologies to create reliable and scalable telecommunications solutions. Add in a track record of dedication to our customers, and it's no surprise we've had staying power in a rapidly evolving  industry. As technology has evolved, we've kept pace by creating a dynamic and fun work environment to accommodate our team of open-minded, capable professionals.

We're flexible.

With a distributed team model, Fonative employees have the ability to work at home or collaborate face to face at our location in the UMass Lowell Innovation Hub (iHub) in the heart of a vibrant academic and tech community. The iHub is part of the Workbar Partner Network of coworking spaces, which gives our staff access to additional coworking locations across Massachusetts.

We're agile.

We use Atlassian products to manage our agile process, and Google G-Suite and Slack for project collaboration.

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We’re competitive.

We’re big believers of a work-life balance that allows you to grow professionally and achieve personal pursuits. In addition to a highly flexible work environment and the latest tech at your fingertips, Fonative offers a market-competitive salary and a topflight benefits package.

We’re growing.

Interested in a career at Fonative? We're always looking to add great talent to our team and currently have openings in Operations for a VoIP Support Engineer and in Product Management for a Cloud Product Manager. Interested candidates can submit a cover letter and resume to [email protected].

Job Inquiry

Fonative, Inc. is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive work environment in which employees are recognized for their individual contributions. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetic information, disability, age, marital status, ancestry, pregnancy, veteran status, or any other status protected by law. Offers of employment will be conditioned upon satisfactory results of a background check. The contents of Fonative’s job descriptions and job postings are subject to change at any time. Qualified applicants who require reasonable accommodation in the application process should contact the CEO or COO.