Back in 2003, before the Internet had become so indispensable, Nathan decided to start a company to bring high speed Internet service to the countryside, which makes Nathan Stooke a radical of the finest kind.
Even today, the big monopolies just don’t bother expanding high speed Internet to the farm and rural communities; maybe because they can’t pull the kind of profits they expect once they install lines and wires among sparse populations; maybe because they assume that simple country folk don’t love or understand the Internet. (My in-laws are all in Nebraska farm towns – all of them are voracious internet consumers, shoppers and social media communicators.)
To march into the country with Internet receivers, in 2003, made Nathan both ballsy and prophetic. He told me that, to his wife’s alarm, Nathan launched his business with 3 credit cards, but was quickly swamped with demand. That demand constantly put stress on his company – a good problem, but still a problem. Though he approached a dozen banks for financing and he had the sales to qualify him for bank credit, he was turned down repeatedly. The reason: he didn’t know he needed to put together financial statements (showing EBITDA) and none of the bankers bothered to tell him. But, once he learned what the banks required, he was able to secure financing and Wisper has been growing ever since.
Currently, Wisper services Southern Illinois and Eastern Missouri, but is expanding rapidly. Nathan’s internet service is reliable and fast because it’s a hybrid of satellite and cable. Wisper has plans that promise up to 20 Mbps. If you sign up for Wisper Wireless Internet, you get a dish installed on your property, which connects to nearby wires and transmitters, giving you the speed and reliability of cable broadband even in places where that isn’t available.
Why Nathan Stooke is our hero. He founded a company that provides a critical service to a group of consumers the “market” rejects. He has the guts to compete against the monopoly internet providers (many of whom are propped up by the government). He makes service to his customers paramount, and, he learns, adjusts and pivots.
Friday cheers to Nathan Stooke of Wisper!
Listen to Coco Soodek Live:
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Also, watch this interview with Nathan from Broadband Illinois: