Spectrum Networks co-founder John van Oppen likes to describe his team as a group of nerds who thrive on speed. Internet speed, that is. van Oppen’s profitable 4-year-old company, which just landed $1 million in financing from Trilogy Equity Partners, brings some of the fastest Internet connections to businesses and condominiums in the region. How fast? van Oppen said that Spectrum’s fiber and microwave-based systems offer a minimum of 100 Mbps, with special packages that surge up to 500 Mbps in some buildings.
“The idea of moving people to super broadband is very appealing,” said van Oppen. “We don’t do anything slow, because, goodness, we don’t want to use it if it is slow.”
Just how fast is 100 Mbps? In a report yesterday, we noted that Olympia ranked as having the fastest average Internet downloads speeds in the U.S. at 21 Mbps. Comcast typically offers up to 15 Mbps to residential customers, but just last month started touting its own 100 Mbps offering called “Extreme 105.”
Broadband is a hot topic in the state, with Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn this week touting a plan to bring fiber-optic connections of 100 Mbps to the Pioneer Square neighborhood. (Spectrum’s van Oppen said they are considering bidding on that proposal).
Spectrum operates two businesses. On one hand, it is a wholesale provider of Internet service to businesses, competing against the likes of Internap. That’s the larger of the two units, with the company operating out some of the region’s largest data centers.
It also operates CondoInternet.net, a business that delivers ethernet-to-the-home connections in more than a dozen condominiums in Seattle’s Belltown and South Lake Union neighborhoods. For $60 per month, CondoInternet.net says it can deliver a minimum of 100 Mbps.
“Being in the data center space isn’t particularly sexy,” said van Oppen. “But given 100 Mbps connections to residential users is quite sexy.”
van Oppen said that the new cash infusion will be used for both CondoInternet and the wholesale portion of the business, but he declined to specify what new projects they’ll be building.
“We are kind of a weird startup because we are profitable,” said van Oppen, adding that they started generating revenue in their third month of operation.
The van Oppen name is pretty well known in Seattle’s tech circles. After all, Peter van Oppen — who is John’s father — served as CEO of ADIC, which sold to Quantum Corp. for $800 million in 2007.
Peter van Oppen now works as a partner at Trilogy Equity Partners, the investment firm that’s backing Spectrum. John van Oppen said he likes having his dad involved, especially when he shows up as an adviser at board meetings.
“I snag him for our board meetings, which is pretty fun,” said van Oppen, adding that people who have run big publicly-traded companies “tend to have good input.”
Asked whether he was trying to build as big of a company as ADIC, van Oppen noted that “we are a little bit more boutique.”
That said, the 9-person company has been experiencing more than 100 percent annual revenue growth. Spectrum has raised more than $2 million since it was founded, and van Oppen said that the company’s annual revenue is “significantly over” the amount of capital that has gone into the business.