Senior Vice President of International Market Development
When asked what gets him out of bed every morning, ready to dive into work at NetSapiens, Scott Goodwin says, “It’s a Challenger mentality. I’m passionate about competition. I’m passionate about choice. I’m passionate about giving entrepreneurial businesses—which are our partners in general—the ability to not just survive in these challenging times but to thrive. I really want to be part of that ecosystem that enables that to happen.”
After growing up in northern England, near Manchester, Scott started his career when he landed an apprenticeship with Siemens, the German electronics and engineering company. Scott was assigned to their telecommunications division. He could have as easily ended up working within their aerospace, nautical, or medical areas, but it happened to be telecommunications, specifically the PBX division.
This is the industry where Scott would spend the next 30+ years building a career and a stellar reputation as a telecom and IT executive and entrepreneur—that included the founding of two business ventures.
After “learning the ropes” with four years at Siemens and then four years at Cable & Wireless in a variety of sales, marketing, and product roles, Scott moved to London and landed what he considers his “first proper job as a P&L owner” as the sales and marketing director at Telia UK. A telecom startup, Telia UK was a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Swedish telecom operator Telia AB and had come into the UK with the liberalization of the telecom market.
“It was my first high-growth job as well,” says Scott. “I was the third or fourth employee when we started in 1994, and within five years we grew the staff to 200 and 60 to 70 million pounds turnover. That’s when 60-70 million pounds was a lot of money. We grew a respected and well-recognized brand from nothing. I still look back fondly at that seven and half years I spent building that business. It was a great time.”
While at Telia, Scott worked his way up to CE (chief executive) and developed a reputation as an innovator and developer of talent. He says, “The legacy of that business still lives on today as many of the graduates that we recruited have gone on to be successful entrepreneurs and executives in their own right.”
A first go at entrepreneurship
Despite the “carnage” of the economic environment in 2002 and his wife being pregnant with their first child, Scott set up his own business called Goodman Blue. This new venture created software for complex telecoms billing solutions.
Scott describes his first go at entrepreneurship: “It was incredibly hard. You take on a different mindset when you’re an entrepreneur. You have to make pragmatic decisions to bring cash in. It’s all about grinding it out. Making a buck. The highs are higher, and the lows are very deep and personal. You take it a lot more personally than if you’re in a corporate job.”
Four years later in 2006, Scott sold Goodman Blue to NASDAQ-listed softswitch vendor Vistula.
After exiting his Goodman Blue venture, Scott returned to the corporate life—working for Regus, a “global service office” business, and its founder Mark Dixon, a renown UK businessman, entrepreneur, and demanding billionaire. [Regus is now called IWG (International Workplace Group) and known as a “flexible workspace” company.] Scott joined Dixon’s senior management team to help shape the business services side of Regus.
“It was a very challenging role working for a very challenging character. Many things were broken, team morale was low, and the pressure to effect change was remorseless. Trying constantly to extract a quart from a pint pot.”
It was a difficult time for Scott with two small children at home and having to deliver a change programme across a global business with operations in 88 countries.
“It was very challenging, trying to make savings while growing revenue and working for a fire-and-brimstone entrepreneur. It was an interesting two years and I learned a lot. Not all of it good,” he says with a wry smile.
Founding a second company
After leaving Regus, Scott took a bit of time off to recharge his batteries. When he decided it was time to go back out into the working world, it was as his own boss again. In 2009, he founded Voxclever, a provider of UCaaS (unified-communications-as-a-service) that offered “service providers of all sizes the ability to immediately create, deliver, and manage new communications services for their end user customers.”
Scott says this was the time when “the technology shift was happening, going from on-premises PBXs into cloud-based solutions where you would get the economies of scale. There were more efficient deployments of telecom services and you could clearly see this was now becoming technology that would work. Before, the talk about ‘cloud’ was just rubbish, and now it was actually starting to work. Networks were becoming more resilient and faster.”
Scott started a business with the intent of being able to support the service office industry. “It was very, very successful.” Within less than a decade, Voxclever had grown to become an acquisition target of major players in the telecommunications industry. In 2015, PCCW Global—a Hong Kong-based telecom with a suite of network, voice, video, and cloud computing technologies—came calling and made Scott a “very good and compelling” offer for Voxclever and thus, he gave up control of his second business.
Meeting NetSapiens’ CEO
For the next couple of years while transitioning and “earning out” of his deal with PCCW, Scott was doing a lot of travel around the world, representing PCCW at trade shows and thought leadership seminars, and meeting with customers, prospects, and partners, growing a global UC business. It was at this time that Scott met Anand Buch, NetSapiens’ CEO and they had a conversation about what NetSapiens was offering.
Scott remembers it as an “extremely interesting and pleasant” conversation and was left with the impression that NetSapiens was a business with a clear vision and passion for supporting the independent service provider—a business partner as much as a technology supplier.
Two years later, Scott’s and Anand’s paths would cross again, reintroduced via a mutual friend and telecom analyst Matt Townend. They got along really well. They shared a common vision and over the next six months, Scott and Anand worked out an agreement for Scott to join NetSapiens on a part-time basis and create an international strategy.
“I could see there was a real market opportunity for NetSapiens. I saw that there was a real belief for international growth in our management. So that all culminated in me joining the company on the first of January this year as senior vice president of international market development,” said Scott.
“We’ve secured some fantastic customers, built a leading edge private cloud platform in the region with a sales funnel to be very proud of. We have something people want and our timing is good.”
The telecom industry present and future
“The telecom industry is at a nexus point,” said Scott when asked about how the pandemic has affected business. “Covid-19 has in some ways been a massive benefit to our industry. It acted as an accelerant. Flexible, mobile working was on the rise, but when the pandemic hit, it rapidly brought it forward. And made mobile working a reality. A reality long enough for people to build habits. And habits are extremely hard to break. So I think it’s going to be very difficult for people to go back to the way that they were working.”
This change has been good for NetSapiens and telecom service providers. Frost & Sullivan said as of February 2021, “NetSapiens value to service providers and their customers is evident in NetSapiens’ robust growth and other performance metrics,” including 40% increase in the number of users from 2019 to 2020.
Scott is proud that that industry was able to deliver services when the world needed them. However, he has some concerns about the future and the “disintermediation of service providers”—where the tech behemoths are elbowing out the technology brands that bridge the suppliers with the end users.
“We’ve seen the emergence of some massive software businesses—some real behemoths in the tech space—Google, Microsoft Teams, Facebook’s Workplace, Cisco—these organizations are enormous—and they all have ambitions to have end-user relationships. But the downside of that is that the small service provider, who has historically looked after the majority of small- and medium-sized businesses around the world, is now being disintermediated by large technology players.”
Scott doesn’t like seeing service providers getting squeezed out of their recurring income model. He’s convinced that it will lead to less competition and worse service for consumers.
“We’ve always been a champion of the independent service providers and invisible to the end user. But we bring to the table for our service providers a highly capable, unified communications suite of services, allowing them to compete with the big and mighty behemoths of today.”
Scott believes that as more service providers get squeezed out, NetSapiens’ offer becomes more attractive. That offer is providing managed voice services under the provider’s brand and allowing partners to make more margin with a sessions-not-seats pricing model.
“We put greater control in the hands of our service providers and we believe they know their customers better than anybody. And we’re about providing them with the tools in order for them to do the best job for their customers and by extension ourselves,” states Scott.
Pragmatism is key to future success
With NetSapiens’ recent merger with Crexendo, Scott is optimistic and likes that NetSapiens now has greater potential with the new parent company’s NASDAQ clout and ability to raise money to scale the business.
Scott foresees the market for UCaaS solutions exploding as there are many positive signs and he thinks NetSapiens is uniquely and ideally positioned to help service providers with a proven product that is highly profitable, scalable, and allows service providers to brand it as their own, and can grow quickly.
Looking into his crystal ball, Scott predicts that in the next five years we’ll see much more managed services. He thinks service providers will focus more on the sales and marketing and leave the technology to vendors like NetSapiens. He expects that being pragmatic will be the key to success.
Scotts sums up what keeps him motivated, “NetSapiens is ideally positioned to help our customers at a pivotal point in their business evolution. These are exciting times and I don’t have to drag myself out of bed to start work every morning, that’s for sure.”
Meet the Team is a series of profiles that offer insights into the backgrounds, experiences, and lives of NetSapiens’ founders and company leaders. We are always focused on the NetSapiens mission, which is to become the best B2B provider of unified communications, video conferencing and collaboration, and contact center solutions for service providers.