Firm partners with companies to market their products

Firm partners with companies to market their products by David Lias It's easy to drive right by one of Vermillion's latest success stories.

There are few outward signs that Revonet Inc., a new Internet sales and marketing solution company, has been up and running in the community for several months now.

In less than a year, however, the new business has made great strides.

The firm's corporate office is in New Canaan, CT, and a resource office is located on the second floor of Dick Sunde's State Farm Insurance building on Vermillion's Main Street. In March, Revonet opened a third office in Sioux Falls.

Revonet is headed by Todd Osborn, a Vermillion man who was the first vice president of sales for Gateway. John d' Auguste, the original vice president of operations for Gateway, is Revonet's CEO.

"If you can think of anything that a sales and marketing company can do today, we can do also," Osborn told Sen. Tim Johnson recently.

Johnson stopped by to tour Revonet's Vermillion facilities June 1. A portion of the upstairs suite that houses Revonet's local resource center is being expanded to provide office space for Osborn and other managers, and also make room for additional work stations.

"We partner primarily with high technology companies," Osborn told Johnson. "If you have a company and you have a new product, or you're a venture capitalist, who we deal with quite a bit, and you're looking at a company and you're wondering whether you should buy it, we can help you."

Revonet uses a sophisticated process that includes market surveys and assessments needs to help identify a client's potential customers.

"You could do this anywhere. Why are you doing this in Vermillion?" Johnson asked Osborn.

"Economics, and, I think, the strength and ethics of people," Osborn said. "The Midwest and South Dakota are great places for front line economic development. From surveys to sales and marketing and manufacturing, you are getting people who have work ethics that I think are brilliant and you have this belief in staying with a project all of the way.

"So your attrition is usually not in bulk," he added.

Johnson's visit came just a few days before Revonet, Inc.'s June 6 announcement that it had purchased the assets of the former Cabletron Systems call center located in Sioux Falls.

The facility is a fully functional resource center with state of the art telephony equipment and capacity for 150 sales and marketing personnel.

"We are excited that this facility is up and running and will provide a level of continuity and stability as we increase our client base," d' Auguste stated in a press release. "This new facility is the sixth physical location we've added since last December. We are also pleased to announce Cabletron Systems as an early stage investor in Revonet."

According to Cabletron Systems CFO David Kirkpatrick, Revonet represents an opportunity to invest in a sales and marketing company that is focused on technology companies seeking to increase their revenue.

"Our unique sales model requires our employees to have specific high technology sales skills," Osborn said. "We have been adding space in the business to business technology space very quickly and we are very pleased that we have received a large pool of stellar resumes from the local area."

Revonet currently employs 25 people in Vermillion. By the end of the year, that number could grow to 80. It also plans to expand its Sioux Falls operations to create up to 150 new high-tech sales and marketing positions.

Through a patent-pending process known as Rev It Up, Revonet develops and deploys unique sales and marketing strategies for business to business, consumer and e-commerce companies seeking rapid increases in revenue, Osborn said.

Depending on the client's needs, Revonet either serves as an extension of a company's own sales force, or transfers the information to the sales force or channel partner.

Revonet offers two types of selling processes � Step Revenue, designed for long-term relationships with clients, and Pulse Revenue, aimed at customers who want to rapidly introduce a new product into a market.

Pulse Revenue clients are usually smaller competitors that want to create instant brand recognition or capture a new market position.

In its first six months of operation, Revonet landed eight major accounts with over $1 million per year run rate, Osborn said.

"We are meeting with potential new clients every week," he

said.

The company's clients range from Internet start-ups to mid-size firms that offer products such as web portal access, servers, and technical support.

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