Telestax News

Telestax brings on new CFO as it completes major pivot in business model

Patrick Bonnaure is the new chief financial officer at Telestax. He was previously chief operating officer at Swivel and vice president of finance and operations at TrustRadius, two other Austin tech startups.

As Telestax Inc. tries to reconfigure its business model and regain its footing after cutting some jobs, it’s brought on a new chief financial officer.

Patrick Bonnaure has been hired as CFO, according to a June 6 announcement. It brings the Austin startup a veteran software executive with extensive experience in both Silicon Valley and Austin.

Telestax is a communications-platform-as-a-service company — it has built a program that telecommunications companies can use to build new voice, video and text communications tools. For example, a telecomm company might use Telestax’s RestcommOne platform to develop a text-messaging system they can provide to their own business customers, from restaurant chains to automotive mechanics.

In addition to Bonnaure’s hire, Telestax announced June 6 it has brought on Veena
Vadgama as vice president of marketing. She was previously VP of marketing for Network Instruments, a performance management software maker that was bought by JDS Uniphase Corp. for $200 million in 2014. That company later became Viavi Solutions Inc.

Telestax was founded in 2011 and has raised $5.9 million, according to Crunchbase, including a $4.7 million series A round in 2017 that was led by Austin’s LiveOak Venture Partners. At the time of the series A, Telestax had about 80 employees.

That’s now down to less than 50, Vadgama said. She said in the past year or so, Telestax has shifted from mostly doing “on- premise” software, meaning programs that are installed directly on a user’s computer, to cloud-based software.

That change to the business model has “changed the way we go to market,” Vadgama said, which meant shedding some jobs. She said the company has 30 active customers.

Cloud-based software as a service has become the standard operating model for many companies, allowing them to establish recurring revenue streams. The use of cloud software is often billed on a monthly or quarterly basis, which means more regular and more predictable payments for the software maker — instead of lump sums when signing a big, new customer.

In the midst of the pivot, Paul Doscher replaced Ivelin Ivanov as CEO of Telestax in November. Ivanov is now head of products and technology at the company.

Doscher previously spent more than a decade working at tech companies in San Jose, California. From 2015 to 2017 he was CEO of Restlet, a maker of cloud-based software that was bought by Talend SA in 2017.

Now Doscher has his executive team in place at Telestax. Bonnaure was previously chief operating officer at Austin-based Swivel, which created an online platform for finding short-term office leases. Before that he was vice president of finance and operations at TrustRadius, an Austin-based company behind a software review platform that he helped get off the ground and grow to $5 million in annual recurring revenue, according to Telestax.

Prior to TrustRadius, Bonnaure was founder and CEO of ProLedge, which created back-office operations software for small businesses. And before ProLedge, Bonnaure worked for more than 15 years in Silicon Valley, including nine years at CPA.com, where he ended as chief operating officer, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Vadgama said while Telestax is based in Austin it has employees scattered around the world, in France and India as well as Utah. She said it has gained significant traction in Asia and that a “large part” of its revenue comes from international sales.

She also said the company is currently in temporary office space in Austin but plans to start looking for a new home later this year. Executives have met with a couple of brokers but don’t plan to begin the search “in earnest” until August or so.

This story has been updated with additional information about Ivelin Ivanov’s role at Telestax.

This article originally appeared in The Austin Business Journal.

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