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Utah business owner shares sacrifices in starting tech company

By Sumo Communications | Posted - Dec 4th, 2018 @ 9:46am



Utah technology broker SUMO Communications has seen great success over the 16 years it has been in business. Recently making the Inc. 5000 list as one of the fastest-growing, privately held companies in the nation, SUMO is a standout in the crowded Utah tech industry, standing on a legacy of sacrifice, grit and perseverance from its humble beginnings.

SUMO Communications President and CEO Bret Hickenlooper says, “A lot of people want to hang out at the finish line without having run the race. It’s easy to see the success others are having from a distance and not recognize the sacrifices it took to get there.”


A lot of people want to hang out at the finish line without having run the race. It’s easy to see the success others are having from a distance and not recognize the sacrifices it took to get there.

After getting laid off from Qwest in 2002, Bret Hickenlooper didn’t have a backup plan, but he always knew he wanted to start a business brokering telecom and IT services.

Early struggles

Going after this dream, Hickenlooper put it all on the line. With very little money in the bank and no equity in his home, he resorted to selling off assets to make his mortgage payments and begin his company.

“I sold a camper trailer, a truck, my wife’s suburban, and probably the hardest was my boys’ Honda XR 70s. We were behind on house payments, so I really didn’t have a choice,” Hickenlooper said. "I still remember when the guy pulled up with a trailer to load them. It’s a day I will never forget.”

Perseverance leads to success

After years of literally using buckets of coins to pay for groceries and going through every last saved and borrowed penny they had, Hickenlooper and his family pulled through and made SUMO one of the successful small business start-up stories in Utah. Of the 112 companies in Utah listed in the Inc. 5000 list, SUMO is ranked No. 57.

Today, SUMO is a partner with more than 300 service and infrastructure providers in the in the IT industry, including Centurylink, AT&T, Verizon, InContact, Five9, Equinix, Coresite and many more. By partnering on strategic solutions both large and small, SUMO is able to broker the best deal for customers while being their advocate in creating the most strategic solution for the customer for future growth.

After years of brokering deals, SUMO now supports many large and small companies, including notable companies such as Ancestry, Instructure, O.C. Tanner, Overstock, Progressive Leasing, Silicon Valley Bank, Boostability, Money Desktop, MaritzCX and many more along Utah’s Silicon Slopes.

SUMO has endured those growing pains, and today is helping clients by saving them time and money in creating their colo, cloud, contact center, security and network solutions nationwide and around the globe.

“When visitors come to see our office full of branded swag, and the accomplishments and awards we have won over the years, they are very complimentary of our success,” said Hickenlooper. “I like to share that it wasn’t always rainbows and sunshine, and my family can attest to that. And we aren’t finished yet, we have a long way to go, and will continue to make the sacrifices necessary to make SUMO a success.”

For a free consultation reach out to SUMO Communications for any of your enterprise’s data infrastructure needs.

Sumo Communications

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