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Detroit-based Rocket Fiber acquired by Everstream

Matt Burns

Rocket Fiber is the latest Detroit startup to be acquired. Today, the company is announcing it was acquired by Cleveland-based Everstream for an undisclosed amount.

The founders tell TechCrunch the company was at a “record multiplier for the telecom space.”

Under the deal, Everstream is acquiring all of Rocket Fiber’s infrastructure, including its service platforms and fiber network. The company says in a press release that Rocket Fiber’s customers will continue to receive the same service.

Co-founder and CEO Marc Hudson said six to nine months ago the company started to look for ways to turbocharge Rocket Fiber’s growth. After looking at numerous offers from venture capital to acquisitions, the company felt Everstream was a good fit. Hudson found that Everstream has a similar cultural philosophy that works well in the Midwest. He says that Everstream feels like a bigger version than Rocket Fiber and an excellent partner to help build out Rocket Fiber’s mission of providing super-fast, super-friendly internet service.

Rocket Fiber launched in 2015 to bring much-needed fiber infrastructure to downtown Detroit. At the time, the city’s rebirth was on the cusp of becoming real, and billionaire Dan Gilbert enlisted Rocket Fiber to help bring the ultra-high-speed internet to his businesses and others.

When Rocket Fiber launched, access to fiber-based infrastructure was extremely limited in Michigan and non-existent in Detroit.

Right now, in early 2020, Rocket Fiber is primarily available in the greater downtown Detroit area, with some service available in the suburb of Southfield. Recently, the company announced plans to build out its service to the Grosse Point area, east of Detroit.

In early 2019, Everstream announced a $300 million expansion targeting major markets throughout Michigan that would include laying 6,000 miles of fiber by the end of the second quarter of 2020.

“Detroit has undergone an urban revitalization, making the acquisition of Rocket Fiber and its strong presence in Detroit the perfect complement to our existing Michigan network,” said Brett Lindsey, Everstream’s president and CEO, in a released statement. “We’ve had a longstanding relationship with Dan Gilbert and his portfolio of businesses, including Rocket Fiber, Rock Ventures, and the Cleveland Cavaliers. This opportunity allows us to continue to provide Detroit-area businesses with the high-capacity, low-latency connectivity services they’ve come to expect from their fiber network provider and expands their direct access across Midwest through the growing Everstream network.”

The Rocket Fiber founding team intends to stay with the company through the transition. They say they have big plans for another venture but are unable to share details just yet.