Tom Gravina, who founded Evolve IP in his Haverford garage 10 years ago, is stepping down as chief executive of the $100 million (yearly sales), Wayne-based firm.
Guy Fardone, part of the team that joined Gravina in starting Evolve IP after moving on from ATX Communications, is the new chief executive. Gravina will stay on as executive chairman of the board.
Evolve IP links 350,000 users at its national clients (such as Christian Dior and the Palm restaurants) and local firms (Firstrust, Malvern Federal Savings Bank) to big communications networks such as Comcast and Verizon, using technology from Cisco and other providers, and Evolve IP’s own software.
“I’ll remain involved in M&A and strategy, and I remain one of the largest shareholders,” said Gravina, who has overseen 13 acquisitions for the firm. Deal volume has accelerated since Great Hill Partners bought a stake in the company in 2015. “It’s been a great 10 years, and I’m happy to remain engaged. But it’s time for Guy and the other executives to take the reins of this company.”
Gravina, who also heads Philadelphia-based GPX Enterprises, said he will be able to devote more time to his real estate business and his family.
The company employs 350, more than half of them at its headquarters north of Wayne, the rest at offices in Amsterdam and other European cities, and in Austin, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and other U.S. locations. Evolve IP also uses developer teams in Europe and Latin America.
Cofounder Tim Allen will remain the company’s sales and marketing chief, while cofounder Scott Kinka stays on as chief technology officer. Besides acquisitions, “we’ve been signing 15 to 20 new commercial customers every month,” Fardone said.
Like other companies in its space, Evolve IP has fielded offers to purchase the company. But “we’re going to remain independent,” Gravina said. “We’re going to grow by acquisition, we’re going to grow organically in this region and around the country.”
For how long?
“Now, we don’t have a crystal ball,” he said. “You never know what can happen. But there is no limit for how big we can get.”