Dave Sipes takes over a company in the middle of a fast-growing and highly competitive cloud communication space
Cloud-based communication company 8×8 has tapped the former COO of rival RingCentral as its new CEO.
The Lowdown: 8×8’s board of directors this month appointed Dave Sipes to lead the Campbell, California-based company at a time of fast growth and broad competition in the areas of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and cloud collaboration.
The Details: Sipes takes over the CEO slot and board member seat from Vikram Verma, who spent more than seven years leading the company and will now act as an advisor assisting with the transition. Sipes will lead a company that has about 1,500 employees and a customer base of about 100,000 companies.
In addition, like many Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) vendors during the COVID-19 pandemic, 8×8 is seeing strong growth. The same day that the board announced Sipe’s appointment, the company also reaffirmed its guidance for the current quarter, expecting revenue to come in between $132 million and $133 million, a year-to-year jump of 11% to 12%. In addition, it’s predicting revenue for its full fiscal year – which ends March 31, 2021 – will reach between $519 million and $522 million, an 18% to 19% increase.
Sipes also takes over a company that has streamlined its partner strategy, having unified its channel efforts in July in North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region into a single program aimed at master agents, subagents, and VARs.
In a note to partners on the 8×8 website, Sipes wrote that he is “impressed by the partner community 8×8 has built around the world [and] committed to working together with you to grow our joint customer base and amplify our vision for the future of communications.”
8×8 offers a range of communication tools, from videoconferencing and team chat to cloud phones and accessories.
The Impact: 8×8 is getting new leadership at a time of rapid growth in the industry, fueled in large part by the sudden shift this year to work-from-home and distance-learning models driven by the coronavirus outbreak. The competition within the cloud communication space has been furious, with Zoom and Microsoft Teams seeing sharp increases. Zoom earlier this month reported a 367% year-over-year revenue increase in its latest quarter, hitting $777.2 million.
Background: Sipes spent more than 12 years at RingCentral, based in Belmont, California, becoming COO in 2016 before leaving in June. He helped grow RingCentral from a $10 million company to one with more than $1 billion in annual revenue and led it through its IPO in 2013. Prior to that, he was co-founder and COO at e-commerce company Branders.com and before that was a principal at Booz Allen and Hamilton.
The Buzz: “8×8 is participating in one of the biggest SaaS markets today, cloud communications. We believe Dave, with his operational expertise, strong industry background, and world-class go-to-market leadership, is the right leader at the right time to fully realize our potential,” said Jaswinder Pal Singh, 8×8 chairman of the board. “We’re thrilled to have Dave take the helm at 8×8 and are excited about our future. I’d also like to thank Vik Verma, on behalf of the board of directors, our 1,700-plus team members, and thousands of dedicated resellers, and recognize the incredible contributions and leadership role he has played over the past seven years to get us to this point.”
“I am looking forward to leading 8×8. It’s one of a select [group of] SaaS businesses to reach half a billion dollars in revenue with a strong and expanding customer base,” Sipes said. “The cloud and work-from-home are transforming business communications for every employee and customer touchpoint and have become a critical focal point for building competitive advantage for businesses today. 8×8 is well positioned with its Open Communications Platform, which provides a wide breadth of integrated communication tools to power businesses’ critical cloud communication needs. This company has the opportunity to be central to the transformation of work.”