Cleveland Interviews

Acceleration Systems: Enterprise Speed Internet For SMBs

Acceleration Systems

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What is Acceleration Systems?

Acceleration Systems provides a cost-effective bandwidth optimization solution that accelerates Internet performance while ensuring security and reliability – all at a fraction of the cost of older generation WAN optimization solutions. Our cloud-based, software as a service (SaaS) subscription service enables businesses, especially those with remote or branch locations, to benefit from increased connection speeds, reduced data transfers and dynamic Adaptive Queue Management and Quality of Service control that allow applications and other cloud services to work the way they should. With the ability to work across any type of Internet connection (dialup, DSL, cable, fiber, satellite, microwave, etc.) anywhere in the world, our technology provides increased performance and greater delivered bandwidth without changes to the existing infrastructure.

Who is your target user?

Our proprietary structure allows us to deliver enterprise-grade technology that is currently beyond the reach of individuals and the small and midsized business (SMB) markets. We will reach these small to mid-sized business user through established ISPs, IT Resellers, network operators, cloud/SaaS service providers, and reseller partners, along with limited retail availability.

Why did you build Acceleration Systems? What problem are you taking on?

We are solving the problem of last mile connectivity that is insufficient to allow businesses to operate in the modern cloud era. With the shift towards resources in the cloud, the quality and capability of the last mile connection from a small business to the cloud becomes paramount. Users need networks that deliver their applications quickly and reliably – regardless of the distances from the services, diversity of access technologies, and dependence on the inconsistent and uncontrollable public Internet. Existing bandwidth optimization products are either too expensive, too technically challenging to implement, operate only on proprietary networks, or only work on browser-based applications. Acceleration Systems overcomes all these challenges and directly address the needs of the SMB market by utilizing a cloud-based, SaaS subscription based model.

How is Acceleration Systems different from what is currently available?

Acceleration Systems bandwidth optimization solution exceeds the competition in a variety of ways.

• Our solution accelerates the entire Internet, not just a single resource.
• Implementation of our software and hardware is simple, it is truly plug and play and can be completed in just four steps.
• Implementation and maintenance of our solution doesn’t require weeks of training or certifications.
• Acceleration Systems addresses the entire problem of optimization of the last mile. Other “bandwidth optimizers” focus exclusively on reduction of payload (squashing data). Our solution embraces the whole problem, incorporating payload reduction, Active Queue Management (AQM), and transport efficiencies.
• We’ve created a bandwidth optimization solution that is affordable for the SMB market. Finally, bandwidth optimization that any business can afford

Tell us your founding story. Was there an “ah ha” moment?

Richard McKinney was selling satellite-based Internet access (an inherently slow and expensive technology). He was aware of bandwidth optimization technology, and thought that if he could provide bandwidth optimization to his satellite Internet prospects, it would improve his value proposition (thereby allowing him to sell more satellite). Unfortunately, all existing bandwidth optimization solutions were too expensive for his small business clients. He understood that they key to affordability would be to offer a subscription based service. Working with his brother Jack McKinney, the two of them solved the major technical problems associated with moving bandwidth optimization into the cloud. The pair recruited Michael Kister to serve as CEO in 2013.

Tell us about your founding team and their backgrounds.

Michael Kister, President and CEO: Mike has twenty years of experience leading successful technology startups, both as stand-alone ventures and as new business units within established organizations. Mike has led four new business initiatives from conception to profitability: an Internet Service Provider, a web marketing/e-commerce company, and the e-commerce divisions of two different Fortune 1000 industrial distributors. The most successful of these startups generates $300 million in annual revenues as part of a $4 billion publicly traded company. Mike has conducted turnarounds at his last two engagements. In each case he successfully revitalized a stagnated organization – identifying new markets, creating new products and capabilities, rebranding the companies, overhauling the staff, and focusing the operations. He was tapped as CEO of Acceleration Systems on April 1, 2013.

Richard McKinney, VP of Sales and Marketing: Richard has spent his professional life in technology sales and marketing. Richard directed his energy to marketing and sales which included consulting and a stint as an account executive in an advertising agency before joining satellite-based Internet Service Provider Skycasters. Richard quickly became Skycasters’ top producer, a position he maintained for 12 years. Acceleration Systems was conceived by Richard, who recognized the need for a subscription-based acceleration product while selling satellite-based Internet access (an inherently link-comprised technology). After extensive market research, Richard concluded that there was no product on the market to meet this demand, and set out to create the solution.

Jack McKinney, VP of Engineering: Jack has 45 years of technology design, development, and project management experience, primarily with IBM. His expertise in leading large-scale development projects will be crucial to the success of Acceleration Systems. Jack developed the technical model for Acceleration Systems’ products and prepared the specifications for our software/technology development. Through this process he and Richard McKinney identified and overcame several technical impediments to implementation, resulting in the patents now being pursued by Acceleration Systems.

Rajiv Hazaray, CFO: Rajiv Hazaray has served many leading technology businesses and investors including Fortune 500 corporations such as Lockheed Martin, EchoStar/DISH Networks, ViaSat, etc. as well as many growth companies as the Managing Principal of Business Analytix. Rajiv has International work experience in diverse domains such as corporate finance, asset-based lending, investment banking, technology start-ups, and advisory services that gives him the multi-disciplinary edge required to identify key success factors essential to build, manage, and evaluate winning business plans; especially involving the evolving technologies. As a senior member of the management or a consultant, Rajiv has managed strategic businesses planning for Fortune 100 corporations, growth companies, as well as start-ups. Rajiv assists Business Analytix’s clients in strategic cost/revenue analysis covering new ventures and projects, business combinations, valuation of tangible/intangible assets, public policy issues, federal grants, economic impact studies, market profiling, pricing, and valuations.