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Founders Jump off SunRocket’s VoIP Ride

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In the world of startups, having founders leave the company after it gets big is rarely a surprise. Entrepreneurs, after all, typically don’t do well once processes become more important than innovation, so when the adult supervision is in place, they either move into the chairman chair or depart entirely.

But news earlier this week of the departure of Joyce Dorris and Paul Erickson, the remaining co-founders at VoIP service provider SunRocket may be a sign of something else, since it’s a stretch to call the company a success. Fiscally they may be OK since SunRocket scored a $33 million C round last Fall (bringing total investment to $80 million), but you wonder who is steering the ship now that the original minds behind it have hit the ejector seat.

Since we don’t know SunRocket all that well, we will reserve judgement about how much the departures of the MCI veterans Dorris and Erickson may or may not harm the company’s future. Most research numbers give SunRocket a small (~4 percent) share of the independent VoIP market, with 128,000 subscribers according to ISP Planet. We have a message in to the company, and will add more if we hear more.

25 Responses to “Founders Jump off SunRocket’s VoIP Ride”

  1. SunRocket claimed that they have 200,000 customers and most of them have their annual plan i.e. $199 one, so think about the actual figure SunRocket has eaten from the customers.. We should bring the Accountable persons behind the bars and punish them.

    Lot of providers are backing on the 200,000 customers and all are eagerly waiting to enroll them in their plans… But point here we need to think is what is best and reliable in current situation… Hope this helps..

    Today JoiPhone also come infront and want to grab the user base and offering to use the old Gizmo and start the services right away… Here are the steps you need to take to get connected to service…


  2. Technically I never had any problem with the service mainly because I usually had very good broadband service. The one time I did have a problem, tech support helped out and solved the problem quickly. This is another exampple of the ba______s at the top screwing up a good technical product for their own selfish gain leaving us “commoners” at the bottom of the food chain to try to pick up the pieces. When are we going to learn.
    PS I still have some Enron stock I can sell you.

  3. Jose Padilla

    There has to be a way to get your money back, if you just signed up with them. Interestingly, their website is still taking registrations and money. What a sham!

  4. Yeah, squeeky wheel and all that.
    I have been a satisfied multi-line; customer for about a year. Web-based features are really well-designed.
    It is obviously a first rate product team but they can run without them for a while with the right marketing campaign.

  5. I’ve been a Sunrocket customer for about a year. I’m more leery of Comcast’s connectivity than Sunrocket. The free feature list is extensive, and a prepaid plan has really paid off. With little incentive for satisfied customers to either search for or type positive comments, it’s easy to think there aren’t any satisfied customers. There are, and we are proof.

    The only feature missing…when my Comcast internet is down, the only way to forward my Sunrocket number is…through the Sunrocket website? “Honey, I’m headed over to the coffee shop with my laptop to forward our home number to our cell phones…”

  6. Ann Puntel

    I signed up for a year in advance with SunRocket and I was to receive a free phone system and 3 months free on the plan. For paying my year in advanced.
    I signed up for the service at the end of March and I paid a year in advanced.
    I never even received the free phone system and they took money out of my account for phones bills that I should not have been charged for and its been 6 months to the date and my account is still not fixed! I written over 30 emails and my account is still not fixed.
    The badger me about paying bills and never even fixed the account.

    Don’t get this service it really isn’t worth the money or the time! It’s a horrible service and I would not send it to an ememy.

  7. Jim Herget

    Trouble at Sunrocket? You bet! After about 3 months of so-so service, I made the terrible mistake of trying to add a third line and gizmo. Their world exploded! Their techs haved me so mis-wired that it will take them up to 2 weeks to straighten it out.
    meantime I’ve NO PHONE SERVICE. What sort of a company can calmly tell you your out of phone service for 2 weeks, and then stop comunicating with you? Meanwhile, the CEO is in hiding without access by phone, email, or snail-mail. This company is inept, and I suspect close to closing…

  8. Dajan Virsif

    Party is nearing an end.

    Rumor is people have been and are being laid off as they struggle with vision, clarity, purpose, and most importantly fiscal performance. Without a unique selling proposition this flash in the pan that wasn’t even in a flash will end this September with out another bridge loan.

  9. D Roberts

    What started out well when I subscibed to Sunrocket last fall has turned into a terrible disappointment. Their inferior equipment has needed replacement twice. The first time it sent overnight. This time they’ve lied repeatedly for two weeks and still no replacement. In the meantime, I have no phone service and no idea whn it will be restored. I’m tried so hard to hang on because I hate the alternatives. I think they’ve run out of cash and bankruptcy or buyout is imminent.

  10. Joyce Vickers

    I have been a customer for over a year. There have been some rough times, but I am only seeing great improvement. Although the representatives could be trained better. Will use them as long as they continue to get better.

  11. D Caspson

    198K customers is pretty bad. That means they are netting 300 customers a day on average given their earlier 2005/2006 #s. Not stellar. How can a company like this stay in business given that they serve a national footprint??? thats like 1 net person per day per city. How is that a business model???

  12. Jyotin Hammoda

    Isn’t SunRockets CEO the one that drove AOL broadband into the ground? For a national service I don’t see how they can survive with just 128 thousand customers when the market is growing like gangbusters. I think they will run out of cash. Their best deal is to hope somone will buy them out for more than they paid all that VC$$ to get those subscribers. 128k loyal customers means jack if they are not profitable.

  13. Knowing Paul from working with him at MCI on the creation of 800-Collect and 10-321 in the 90’s, I’m not surprised to see him leave. He is a innovation and strategy guy.

    As for Joyce, she’s a pure consumer marketer. Perhaps she and Lisa Hook could not exist in the same space.

  14. Goooo SunRocket! :) I’ve been a customer for the last 8 months and I’m signed up with a prepaid plan for 2 years. I can’t complain at all and I hope they stay afloat for a long time.