Dave Michels
Dave Michels is a Principal Analyst at TalkingPointz. His unique perspective on unified communications comes from a career involving telecommunications...
Read Full Bio >>

Dave Michels | January 29, 2013 |


The Man Behind the Cloud

The Man Behind the Cloud BroadSoft CEO Michael Tessler helped pioneer hosted VOIP services by selling software to service providers. Now he's expanding his model.

BroadSoft CEO Michael Tessler helped pioneer hosted VOIP services by selling software to service providers. Now he's expanding his model.

Michael Tessler is the co-founder and CEO of BroadSoft Inc, a market-leading provider of hosted Unified Communications software and services that powers solutions for over 500 service providers in 65 countries. The BroadSoft brand isn't particularly well known among end users, but that's by design. BroadSoft wants its service provider customers to determine their own offers, set their own prices, and promote their own brands.

It's a model that seems to work. Customers include AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast here in the US and 20 of the top 25 service providers worldwide. BroadSoft operates in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific.

BroadSoft offers three main product portfolios. BroadWorks is its core hosted softswitch product that service providers license in order to host SIP Trunking and UC services. BroadCloud is a family of hosted services and applications that service providers can rebrand. BroadTouch includes advanced rebrandable applications such as mobile clients.

Prior to founding BroadSoft, Mr. Tessler served as Vice President of Engineering at Celcore, a wireless equipment company eventually acquired by Alcatel. He also held several senior positions at Nortel Networks, where he built and deployed advanced services on local carrier networks. He has two patents in the area of local switching, Advanced Intelligent Network (AIN), and advanced call management services. Mr. Tessler holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering from McGill University in Montreal.

Last November, BroadSoft announced its Q3 FY12 results that included quarterly revenue of $40.2 million, up 13% from the prior year along with non-GAAP gross profit of 84% of revenue, and income from operations of $10.5 million. Q4 results will be announced on February 27.

Last October, at its annual BroadSoft Connections event, BroadSoft announced its UC-One platform offering an improved user experience, rich mobility tools, video conferencing, and simplified go-to-market packages for its service provider customers.

As a hosted VoIP pioneer, BroadSoft has outlived many competitive services including Level-3 (3Tone) and AT&T (Callvantage). It has also made a number of acquisitions over the years including Adaption (2012), iLinc (2011), Sylantro (2008), and GENBAND's M6 Communication Applications (2008). The firm trades on NASDAQ (BSFT), and is headquartered in Gaithersburg, MD--the approximate halfway location between its two founders.

DM: BroadSoft started in 1998 as a pure VoIP play geared toward providers--pre cloud, pre SIP, limited broadband availability. What were you thinking?
MT: When Scott Hoffpauir, my co-founder, and I decided to take the leap and start a company, we found that the world of VoIP had just started and was focused around using VoIP as a technology to bypass long distance charges. Many companies were creating these LD bypass gateways, and the industry in general was focused on hardware and on the transport layer. With our experience at Nortel in both fixed and mobile networks, and our experience building a next generation mobile switching system at Celcore [company bought by DSC and then DSC bought by Alcatel], we realized that the game would switch to the application layer. We also wanted to make this a software business, using standard hardware. We had both seen the complexity of delivering on proprietary hardware and felt that a pure-play focused on a software model would be the right strategy.

What were we thinking? Well, I think the reality was that we were not really thinking. We had no idea how hard some things would be, but that's the great thing of a start up. You can have blind belief.

This was definitely pre-SIP. In fact, a funny story was that I was just about to sign a very large purchase order to buy a H.323 protocol stack, and Scott asked me to stop. He said he had a hunch that this new protocol that was gaining some interest would be the future. That was SIP. There were no products that spoke SIP at the time, so this was a very large gamble.

Our two biggest innovations early on were the use of SIP for enhanced, end user services and making SIP a protocol that could be used to separate the application layer from the infrastructure. Betting on SIP as the preferred protocol, Scott and I evangelized its benefits and convinced some very early companies to build interfaces from our application to the infrastructure. We also worked with a number of device vendors, helping them implement SIP on their devices. These two innovations really kicked-off the application server category.

Key Pivots


Check out this recap of Enterprise Connect Orlando 2017, and register now to join us in 2018 and save $200 off or get a Free Expo Plus Pass.

Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018
March 12-15 | Orlando, FL

Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem

Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

March 7, 2018

Video collaboration is experiencing significant change and innovation-how can your enterprise take advantage? In this webinar, leading industry analyst Ira Weinstein will present detailed analysis

February 21, 2018

Business agility has become the strongest driver for enterprises to begin migrating their communications to the cloud-and its a benefit that enterprises are already realizing. To gain this benefit

February 7, 2018

Enterprises are starting to grasp the critical importance of security and compliance in their team collaboration deployments. And once the risks are mitigated, your enterprise can integrate these n

February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.