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Lev Gonick, CEO OneCommunity

Lev Gonick, CEO OneCommunity

Brett Lindsey, President, Everstream

Brett Lindsey, President, Everstream

We are very pleased to share with you that M/C Partners (Boston, San Francisco) has signed a definitive agreement with OneCommunity to invest $50M in Everstream.

For more than a decade, OneCommunity has been the catalyst for the creation of an ultra-high speed, open and neutral fiber network in Northeast Ohio, which now spans 24 counties and 2,500 miles, and provides reliable, high-speed broadband Internet to hospitals, academic institutions and businesses. As we have seen proven out across the country, a digital infrastructure like OneCommunity’s is a critical asset for advancing the region’s future, and we have been at the forefront of moving the needle on the region’s technology leadership.

Operating an all-fiber network is a capital-intensive business and our non-profit is neither chartered nor in a position to access the capital markets to really help the business grow. In the two years since Lev assumed the CEO role at OneCommunity, Brett, our Board, and the management team has established a goal to find a partner that can ensure that the asset we created over the past decade is sustainable and scalable.

M/C Partners, a private-equity firm focused exclusively on the communications, media, and information technology sectors, has agreed to make a $50M investment in Everstream, our heretofore for-profit subsidiary. We are thrilled with the investment and all it means for accelerating the business going forward.

Equally as important, the investment allows OneCommunity to leverage the network asset and focus on extending our mission to grow a digital economy and improve the quality of life in Northeast Ohio. We have met with many stakeholders to help shape OneCommunity’s strategies moving forward. We are energized and excited about the opportunities ahead.

As you can read below in the attached FAQ, the resulting investment positions Everstream to move ahead as a key player in the competitive marketplace for fiber network services while providing resources to both drive and nurture Northeast Ohio’s digital economy.

The definitive agreement that we have signed requires State and Federal approvals, and that process will commence in short order.

This investment marks a significant inflection point in the evolution of OneCommunity, but also reflects a major step forward in the region’s technological advancement. We have reached a critical mile marker for the non-profit organization – which was founded in 2003 – and will unlock fantastic new opportunities for OneCommunity to lead and partner in our ongoing digital transformation.

Thank you for your support and continuing partnership and interest in OneCommunity.

FAQ: OneCommunity Board Selects M/C Partners to Make $50M Investment into Everstream

What is the ‘deal’?
M/C Partners was selected by OneCommunity’s board to invest $50 million into Everstream, the for-profit subsidiary of OneCommunity. This is the result of a process lead by OneCommunity’s investment banker partner Media Venture Partners to find adequate capital to grow the business and support future mission-related activities.

Why now?
Building an all-fiber footprint across Northeast Ohio is capital intensive. Over the past decade tens of millions of dollars have been invested to build out the backbone of an-all fiber footprint across the region.

Through successful business development and grant work our non-profit has served as a catalyst in creating a competitive network economy in the region. We have better network connectivity than many regions in the country and certainly more so than before OneCommunity entered the marketplace.

The mission of OneCommunity is to grow the digital economy and quality of life. We are neither chartered nor organized (as a non-profit) to access capital markets to continue to grow the business.

We sought expressions of interest from investors positioned to put capital to work to continue to build the network. We are pleased with the outcome.

Who gets what?
Over time, OneCommunity will transfer the majority of its fiber assets to Everstream, the heretofore for-profit subsidiary of the organization. This transfer will allow M/C Partners to invest in Everstream.

Everstream will take the book of business.

OneCommunity will receive mission-related funds to continue to advance the region’s digital economy and quality of life, some fiber assets for non-competitive mission-focused activities, equity in Everstream, and two seats on Everstream’s seven-member Board.

M/C Partners will have majority ownership of Everstream.

Who will lead Everstream going forward?
Brett Lindsey will be the CEO and President.

Who will lead OneCommunity going forward?
Lev Gonick will continue to lead OneCommunity (non-profit).

Is this a good deal?
Yes. Northeast Ohio will enjoy a new infusion of capital to continue to build network assets in the region.
Yes. Now Everstream will be able to accelerate the deployment of capital to support its business, enterprise, and wholesale business.
Yes. OneCommunity will have important new resources to invest in growing the digital economy in partnership with other stakeholders in the region.

Will Everstream continue to abide by the open neutral network commitments and obligations associated with OneCommunity?

Will OneCommunity and Everstream work together?
Yes. We are confident that OneCommunity’s retained fiber assets can be leveraged for federal and state network related grant and R&D opportunities. Everstream will be a partner.
Yes. OneCommunity will continue to work on the community’s priorities, including access. Everstream will be a partner.
Yes. Everstream will continue to work on engineering, operating, and managing network assets in partnership with cities and other public agencies. OneCommunity will offer to partner on helping those organizations understand and build the case for economic development and investments in digital infrastructure.

What else will OneCommunity be doing after the transaction?
Stay tuned. We are excited about the feedback we have received from across the community. In the next weeks and months we will continue to share and listen to the community as we develop our ideas and strategies for advancing the digital economy.

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