Ascend Technologies Welcomes Stratosphere Networks Managed IT and Security Services to Portfolio in Carve-Out


CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, December 2, 2021 /

Ascend continues strategic growth through acquisition agreement with Stratosphere, both headquartered in Chicagoland area.

Ascend Technologies, LLC., a prominent Midwest IT solution provider will expand its presence in Chicago with the acquisition of Stratosphere Networks Managed IT and Security Services division.

“Ascend Technologies is honored to continue Stratosphere’s mission of delivering great managed services to their clients.” said Wayne Kiphart, CEO, Ascend. “Additionally, we warmly welcome members from Stratosphere’s managed IT and cyber security services to our team. We are excited to continue to invest in the future of our new team members so they may continue the excellent services Stratosphere clients have come to expect.”

Steve Melchiorre, CEO, Stratosphere Networks commented on the acquisition saying “We were especially attracted to Ascend due to our similar culture and service offerings, and that Ascend is headquartered in Chicago. We believe our staff members and managed services clients will have an incredible opportunity to thrive and grow with Ascend.” says Melchiorre, “As for the future of Stratosphere, this opportunity enables us to focus our efforts and resources on our growing project and consulting business.”

Stratosphere Networks will retain their IT Project, Voice Services, and Consulting business.

With this acquisition, the former Stratosphere managed IT and security services clients will gain access to Ascend’s robust support structure as well as holistic cybersecurity, cloud & infrastructure, and Salesforce solutions offerings.

This marks the fifth acquisition for Ascend since December of 2019 with the partnership of M/C Partners, a private equity firm.

Ascend Technologies is a far cry from your run-of-the-mill managed services provider. Our team of 300 U.S.-based information technology professionals enable business growth through innovation and technology. Ascend helps business leaders make IT investments with confidence, eliminate cybersecurity threats, meet the needs of the business, and optimize user productivity. Businesses endure, grow, and innovate on a foundation of efficiently run core IT systems. Ascend makes technology the catalyst for business expansion. For more information, visit

Stratosphere Networks provides comprehensive managed services – including managed cybersecurity, managed IT and comanaged IT services – and trusted advisor services to businesses across all industries. Our team of IT experts strives to empower clients with exceptional service from our state-of-the-art Network Operations Center and Security Operations Center. The company has earned recognition as a leader in the realm of IT managed services, receiving accolades such as the Channel Partners 360° Business Value award, the MSPmentor 501, Crain’s Best Places to Work in Chicago and more. For more information, visit

M/C Partners is a private equity firm focused on small and mid-size businesses in the digital infrastructure and technology services sectors. For more than three decades M/C Partners has invested $2.4 billion of capital in over 140 companies, leveraging its deep industry expertise to understand long-term secular trends and identify growth opportunities. The firm is currently investing its eighth fund, partnering with promising companies and leadership teams to support, scale, and improve operations and maximize value. For more information, visit

Heidi Knudsen
Ascend Technologies
+1 402-807-1337


Cuba Burch Berner

Cuba Burch Berner is an Associate at M|C Partners, where he focuses on investment opportunities in digital infrastructure and technology services. Prior to joining the firm in 2022, Cuba was an Equity Research Associate at Citi covering infrastructure companies within the telecommunications industry, including data centers and wireless towers. He holds a B.S. in Mathematics with a specialization in Economics from the University of Chicago. Cuba currently lives in Boston’s West End and enjoys  a myriad of outdoor activities including running, swimming, hiking, and skiing.





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James F. Wade

Jim Wade co-founded M/C Partners in 1986 with Dave Croll. He has been investing in communications and technology services since the advent of wireless and broadband, cornerstones of the firm’s sector focus. As Chairman, he manages the firm’s investment process, and continuously seeks out management teams, company prospects and financial resources to grow the portfolio. Jim’s successful track record includes MetroPCS (IPO), Lightower Holdings (acquired by Berkshire Partners), Cavalier Telephone (acquired by PAETEC), NuVox Communications (acquired by WindStream), Attenda (acquired by Darwin Private Equity), Melita (acquired by Apax Partners), PR Wireless (joint venture with Sprint affiliate in Puerto Rico), Thrive Networks (acquired/recapitalized by Court Square) and Involta (acquired by Carlyle Group). Today he serves as a director on the Board of Connectivity Wireless and has responsibility for Omega Wireless. Jim graduated from the University of Notre Dame a B.B.A in Finance and received an MBA from Harvard Business School. He lives outside Boston with his wife and four children. Jim was an avid boater and is now an average golfer.




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Abhishek Rampuria

Abhishek (A.B.) is a Partner at M/C Partners, where he leads origination, deal diligence and portfolio company support for investments in a variety of communications and technology services segments. He currently serves on the Board of Ascend Technologies, Connectivity Wireless, Edafio Technology Partners, TowerCom and serves as a Board Observer for Thrive Networks. A.B. previously served as a Board Observer for Ensono (acquired by KKR) and QOS Networks (acquired by Zayo). Prior to joining M/C Partners in 2015, A.B. worked at Altman Solon (formerly Altman Vilandrie), a technology, media & telecommunications focused strategy consulting firm, where he completed projects for both operating companies and private equity investors. A.B. received a B.S. in Materials Science & Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He lives in Boston’s South End and outside of work, enjoys skiing, cycling, traveling and cheering on his home-town Patriots and Celtics.




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