If you bought a laptop or modem anytime in the late 1990s thru 2002, you were probably familiar with the early iteration of RingCentral, provided by Ring Zero Systems. Included with every fax/modem, RingCentral let you send and receive faxes and calls on your computer. The company’s founder Vlad Shmunis was an early investor in BuzMe and became its CTO.
Obviously desktop software for telecommunications doesn’t work too well when your computer is turned off, unplugged, or offline. Having come from an internet and telecom background my natural impulse was to look toward cloud-based services.
As we looked for what to do next, in late 2000 we began recasting RingCentral as an online service. Insodoing we gave birth to the concept of cloud telecommunications. RingCentral relaunched in late 2001 as an iteration of the BuzMe service targeted toward small business users. You could register or assign a local or 1-800 telephone number, set up a simple IVR phone tree that routed to land/mobile lines, and send/receive faxes.
Soon thereafter, the service added SIP-based VoIP services so that customers could add internet telephony devices. It has since evolved to become the world’s largest business telecommunications service.
At launch, RingCentral received the first few of a large number of “Product of the Year” awards. RingCentral went public in September 2013 and trades on the NYSE under ticker symbol: RNG.