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Sparkplug Inc. Secures $22.5 Million Funding Round

Sparkplug Inc., a leading provider of wireless business broadband services, recently announced it has received $22.5 million in funding to drive expansion of the company’s service areas throughout the Midwest and Southwestern United States, and added prominent telecommunications veterans to the company’s board of directors.

Sparkplug Inc. was formed last year as the result of the merger of three established companies: Sparkplug in Chicago, Prairie iNet in Des Moines, Iowa; and Telespectra in Phoenix. Sparkplug Inc. has operations and networks across eight states, making it one of the largest service providers in the emerging wireless business broadband market.

The financing, a combination of equity and debt, was led by Ignition Partners, a venture capital firm based in Bellevue, Wash.; The Greenspun Corp. of Henderson, Nev.; and Trilogy Equity Partners, a venture capital firm also based in Bellevue, Wash. Other prominent investors include Allen & Co. and Square 1 Bank. Gary O’Malley of Greenspun and Mikal Thomsen, a partner and co-founder of Trilogy, have joined the Sparkplug board, with Steve Hooper of Ignition Partners continuing as chairman.

“The merger of the three companies brought together a great team and operating strength that has already enabled Sparkplug to grow and better serve our business customer’s broadband needs. This additional capital provides us with a tremendous opportunity to address the needs of more businesses in more locations,” said Bill Malloy, CEO of Sparkplug. “We are excited to have people of the caliber of Steve Hooper, Gary O’Malley and Mikal Thomsen as investors and active members of our board as they are some of the most innovative and influential leaders in the wireless industry.”

Compared to traditional wired networks, Sparkplug’s wireless networks offer customers significant advantages including lower costs, higher symmetrical speeds, improved reliability and much greater flexibility. For example, customers can cost- effectively scale their bandwidth from 2 Mbps to 200 Mbps. For many customers, Sparkplug’s wireless broadband supplements existing telecom services to provide extra capacity, redundancy and reliability for services such as Internet access, VOIP, video and other advanced IP services. Large business and government customers also turn to Sparkplug to install and manage the data connection from one location to another.

“The customers Sparkplug serves live by their data and broadband connections, and their transport and bandwidth needs are growing rapidly given all of the IP applications they are deploying,” said Hooper. “Advances in fixed wireless technology let Sparkplug design, build and manage a network direct to the customer and in turn offer great service at a great value along with a diverse path from the wired network. It’s a winning proposition for business customers.”

“What really impressed me about Sparkplug is how enthusiastic their business customers are for the broadband services they provide,” said Trilogy’s Thomsen. “Whether it’s a small or mid-sized business needing a scalable broadband connection or a large enterprise or government agency with transport needs, Sparkplug provides the speed, reliability and affordability these data-driven customers want.”

“Sparkplug brings together an experienced, proven management team and a strong customer base in a growth market,” said O’Malley of Greenspun. “We believe this company is well-positioned both operationally and in terms of market opportunity for sustained growth.”

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