Dallas-based Stream continues to expand its footprint and stay at the forefront as a leader in the direct selling industry.
Headquarters: Dallas, TX
Top Executive: Mark “Bouncer” Schiro, CEO
Annual Revenue: $958 Million
Products: Energy (electric and gas), wireless, protective and home services
Dallas-based Stream was founded in 2005 by Rob Snyder and Pierre Koshakji as a direct selling company that provided energy services in deregulated markets. The new business model shook things up and created a new niche that revolutionized both the direct selling industry and the energy industry.
Today, Stream continues to make waves in many ways, providing electricity and natural gas services in nine states—Texas, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Delaware and Ohio—plus Washington, D.C., but is also expanding its footprint nationally by providing wireless services.
“We’re focusing mainly on energy and wireless,” says CEO Mark “Bouncer” Schiro. “Wireless gives us a national footprint. With energy, we are in nine states, plus Washington, D.C., where we are providing energy to our customers.” They added home and protective services that make Stream a one-stop-shop for their customers’ needs.
“Micro-entrepreneurship in my opinion is one of the purest things America has to offer. And we do that through network marketing.”
—Mark “Bouncer” Schiro, CEO of Stream
Going nationwide and providing a new territory for Associates was the strategy behind Stream’s decision to expand into other product categories. “When we saw we had the ability to add wireless to our portfolio, it was a no-brainer for us,” says Schiro. “We shook up the energy business by providing simple and secure plans for our Associates and providing them with value. And we did the same thing with our nationally launched wireless program.”
Although the new focus on connected services has generated excitement and enthusiasm among Stream’s Independent Associates, Schiro admits launching new services is a long process. “We have not hit the numbers we would like to hit,” Schiro says. “But we at corporate are continually improving at preparing the runway for our Associates to succeed, including offering more training and tools to support their business. Now that we are into our third year of wireless, we are hitting our stride. We finally are profitable, so it’s a profit center for us. Now we want to really grow the business. That’s where we’re headed.”
Schiro served as CEO of Stream from December 2011 through February 2016 before becoming chairman, and Larry Mondry assumed the CEO role. Then, in September 2018, Schiro resumed as CEO.
When Schiro was away from the CEO job for two and a half years, he continued to talk to his mentors in the industry, former Co-CEO of Primerica John Addison and ACN Chairman & Co-Founder Robert Stevanovski. With each visit with them, he realized he’s fallen more in love with the industry. Micro-entrepreneurship, in his opinion, is one of the purest things America has to offer. “I am just so proud I was able to get a chance to come back and really show our Associates how much I love this industry,” Schiro says.
Now that Schiro is back in the role of CEO, one thing he wants to do differently this time is to make sure that the Associates know they’re at the forefront. “I’m going to make sure that they are heard and encouraged, and we are going to celebrate their wins. Hence, recognition, recognition, recognition. They’re going to know my passion about this industry.”
To lead the charge for a new and enhanced recognition program at Stream, Schiro recently put Chelsey Berend, Director of Events, in charge of recognition and says they will be a success under her leadership.
Schiro says one of the things he believes the company does well is culture. “We have four mantras that we live by—and this is credited to our founder, Rob Snyder,” Schiro explains. “The best idea wins. Take out the panic. Work the problem. Be transparent.”
Tooling with Technology
Stream is also focusing on improving its technology to support its Independent Associates and customers. “Technology is moving at lightning speed now, and we need to keep up,” Schiro says. “My commitment to our team is that we will keep up with technology. We’re committed to a continued focus on that in the future.”
“We have less than 5 percent of the Texas market, and we want to grow that. That’s our number one initiative: to take over Texas by growing our share of the market.”
—Mark “Bouncer” Schiro
Specifically, Schiro is very excited about Stream’s new Interactive Voice Response or IVR system, which answers the phone and directs calls to where they need to go. Instead of having eight numbers to call into, whether it’s wireless, protective services, or different territories like Texas, Georgia, or the Northeast, customers and Associates will only have to call one number with an IVR that is state-of-the-art. The system only provides prompts relevant to the account associated with the number they dial from, touts a voice recognition feature, and offers call-back options for those who prefer not to wait on hold.
Technology wise, Stream also overhauled their Associate back office support system they call Power Center. The new Power Center launch represents a complete overhaul, offering features and enhancements that put their entire business at their fingertips. They also changed their billing system platform for wireless to make it a lot more user-friendly and capable of bundling product offerings.
Since its launch as a startup in 2005, Stream quickly grew to about $300 million in revenue over the first 20 months, Schiro says. “I’m proud to say we have averaged approximately $800 million in annual revenue over the last three to five years,” he adds. “We need to find a way to grow our revenue, and that’s what we’ve been looking at.”
How does Stream plan to do just that? Schiro reveals some of Stream’s future plans and growth strategy. “We have less than 5 percent of the Texas market, so we have a lot of work to do in our own backyard” Schiro says. “Our number one initiative–to grow our share of the Texas market, which is very competitive, and it’s something we need to be laser-focused on.” We have less than 5 percent of the Texas market, and we want to grow that. That’s our number one initiative: to take over Texas by growing our share of the market.
“Number one, we are about relationships— relationships with our Associates.”
—Mark “Bouncer” Schiro
Another growth initiative of Stream’s is to focus on growing its Hispanic market, which has been one of their fastest growing demographics over the last three years. This growth isn’t lost on Schiro. “We’re going to make sure they are recognized for their achievements. Most importantly, we’re going back to the basics and that begins with listening to our Associates. We’re going to find out what they need. Because they know what they need to succeed.”
In May 2017, Stream moved its headquarters from Downtown Dallas to Addison, Texas, which is just north of Dallas and part of the humming Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. Although its sparkling new office space is new, the company’s values remain the same.
“Number one, we are about relationships—relationships with our Associates,” Schiro says. “When they come into the office I want them to feel like they are family. And I want our staff to feel that way, too.” Number two, says Schiro, is that everyone in this office needs to know that their job counts, and that they are affecting people’s lives. “The reason I came back is very simple,” Schiro says. “I want to be a part of something bigger than me. And I want everyone in this office to know that they are a part of something bigger than them. Our cause is to change people’s lives.”
Stream’s philanthropic arm is the Stream Cares Foundation whose primary mission is to help those affected by homelessness. Homelessness is a nationwide issue that Stream Cares is dedicated to ending, in all its forms.
“Stream created Stream Cares and the Stream Cares Foundation to help children that were impacted by the homeless locally and nationally,” says Mark “Bouncer” Schiro, Stream CEO. “That’s been our big push. We’ve been very children-focused in our philanthropy.”
Stream Cares has partnered with many organizations on local and national levels to further their mission. Stream Cares recently partnered with Captain Hope’s Kids to develop Splash for Hope events at Hawaiian Falls Water Park, creating fun and exciting summer outings for homeless children in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to enjoy being kids.
Stream partners with Splash of Hope, which helps homeless children get to enjoy a carefree day playing at a local water park.
In May 2017, Stream Cares donated $15,000 to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund for the tornadoes that hit East Texas, which left many homeless.
“After Hurricane Harvey, our Associates put a crowdfunding campaign together, and we agreed to match donations because we thought it was great they provided that. Together, we raised $30,000,” Schiro says. “They took it upon themselves and that’s what I’m proud of.”