Houser Returns to Channel with Green Cloud

By Khali Henderson Comments
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Telecom channel veteran Shay Houser has a new gig; it's called Green Cloud Technologies Inc. and it's 100 percent channel-driven.

Houser may be best known as one of the founders of NuVox, which was created from the 2001 merger of Houser's company, TriVergent, with Gabriel Communications Inc. NuVox would go on to acquire New South in 2004 and to be acquired itself by Windstream in 2009.

Houser did not stay along for the ride, instead he left NuVox in 2003 after serving as its senior vice president of corporate development and strategy. He bought and became president and CEO of UCI Communications LLC, a distributor of Nortel and Mitel gear and an agent for Windstream. He sold UCI to Black Box Network Services in 2008 and stayed on for two years as senior vice president.

In 2011, the entrepreneur got a new idea to start Green Cloud, which provides hosted VoIP based on the Broadsoft platform and cloud-based virtual servers and mirror-imaged disaster recovery based on Flexpod from Cisco and NetApp.

Houser serves as CEO of the Greenville, S.C.-based company and is surrounded by NuVox alum, including his brother, Charles L. Houser, executive vice president of sales and marketing, and Keith Coker, CTO. The men were formerly NuVox's vice president of dealer development and CTO, respectively.

Houser's entrepreneurial zeal likely was passed on to him by his father, Charlie S. Houser, who is the former chairman and CEO of Corporate Telemanagement Group, a long distance company that merged with LCI International in  1995, and a former chairman of the Telecommunications Resellers Association (now COMPTEL). It's no surprise that the elder Houser is a supporter of Green Cloud and sits on its board of directors as its chairman; he was involved in TriVergent, NuVox and UCI. He also is among the friends and family the contributed to Green Cloud's first funding round when it raised $1.25 million and helped to bring its latest investor to the table. In June Green Cloud secured an additional $2.75 million primarily from Millry Corp., a 70-year old incumbent telephone company serving southwest Alabama. Millry frequently makes investments in telecom ventures.

The money will be used to fund Green Cloud's  recently announced expansion plans into the Myrtle Beach–Charleston–Savannah corridor and the Huntsville–Nashville–Chattanooga area. Green Cloud operates a Data Center in Greenville and will have a mirror site up in Nashville at the end of August.

Green Cloud distributes its services through authorized sales partners, including  telecom agents, local consultants, IT managed service providers and PBX distributors. Presently, it has about 20 partners since launching the channel in January, Shay Houser said.

 

Green Cloud technically can sell and provide its services anywhere, but Houser said it is focusing its channel development in the Southeast -- namely the Carolinas, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida and Georgia where it is deploying in-field sales engineers along with channel account managers. The company has dealers sales managers in Greenville and Charleston and is hiring in Tennessee, North Carolina and the Gulf Coast over the next six months as well. 

Realistically, Houser said Green Cloud will expand where the demand is, but is optimistic about staying regional for the next 12 months in an effort to prepare for scale required to serve a nationwide customer base.

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