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ServePath

Singing the praises of server hosting.

Everybody needs a home, and a Web site is no exception. As more people become interested in crafting sites for business and personal uses, they need a dependable ISP with plenty of server room. San Francisco-based ServePath is eager to be there for them, and boasts about what it doesn’t offer: no shared Web hosting, design services, dial-up accounts or other “distractions.” Co-founder and president John Keagy talks about the virtues of doing one thing, and doing it right.

What prompted you to start a dedicated server provider company?

Like everybody in Silicon Valley, we believe in the Internet and we are confident that the market for Internet infrastructure will grow. We really enjoy Internet server technology because it is developing so quickly and since we are specialists we can stay on top of things and do a better job than customers could do themselves. Also, selling servers to people all of over the world makes me happy. It is fun to talk to customers, and learn about all the various things people are using the Internet for. People are selling and publishing all manner of things online, and creating new applications for the web. We’ve got people who probably hadn’t even used the Internet until a year or two ago and now they get 50,000 visitors a day to their sites. I think we are still at the early growth stage for the Internet, so I’m glad to be providing its infrastructure.

Unlike many tech companies, you’re self-funded; how do you feel this might give you an advantage over companies that aren’t?

We are in control. We have put over a million dollars of our own money into ServePath. You can bet we will operate the business prudently and avoid the many circumstances that have caused so many Silicon Valley investor-funded businesses to get into trouble. Nobody can call in a loan. No VC firm can bully us into partnerships. We aren’t at risk of VCs reneging on the next installment of an investment that we need to keep the lights on. We only worry about servers and customers, not investors. Looking for a job on the side is not an option. And no, we don’t have a company masseuse or a climbing wall, just a real company with a proven business model.

In this economic climate, as IT budgets get cut, how is ServePath faring?

ServePath is doing well because our strong business case for outsourcing Internet servers is especially compelling in today’s tough climate. It’s approximately ten times less expensive and ten times easier and faster to outsource your Internet server to us. The economy is forcing companies to conserve cash so they don’t want to waste their capital and engineering resources when they can get better services cheaper, faster and easier through outsourcing. We started our business during this recession and so we aren’t sitting around shell-shocked trying to figure out what went wrong. In fact, we are using facilities, equipment and networks that were paid for with money from bankrupt companies so you might say we are taking advantage of the collapse. We designed this business from the get-go to succeed despite the conditions, although we sure hope things head North soon.

Is the whole ISP shakeout affecting how ServePath does business?

You can’t trust big companies right now so why not go with a smaller, owner-operated business that provides intimate service and better pricing? We are highly focused on dedicated servers so we don’t spread our resources across many product lines or departments. Plus, I’m a little easier to get on the phone than Bernie Ebbers.

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