Seeds & Sprouts


A farm in upstate New York is the last place one might look for two computer experts in the early 90s. Desktop PCs, while becoming more common at home, were still largely associated with corporate networks in metropolitan offices. The Web was in its infancy, quarantined to academia for the moment.

Alex Shiffer and Sharon Richman had just completed their respective college paths in mathematics and computer science. As peers moved on to jobs in corporate America, the pair instead celebrated their independence by heading in the opposite direction. They began raising black angus cattle in the country, but the farm was not exactly financially fertile. So Zelacom sprouted its first digital service out of necessity: technical typesetting using TeX, a computer language still used for laying out complex mathematical publications. Alex and Sharon produced countless pages of mathematical notation for mathematicians and their publishers.

Zelacom’s connections within academia grew. The nascent World Wide Web was beginning to link up many computers around the world, and colleges were the epicenter of the revolution. As computer-savvy entrepreneurs, Alex and Sharon took notice, realizing the potential of the Web. They quickly mastered the technology to build their first website. To be more precise, they built one of the first websites.

Roots & Shoots


In a world of over a billion unique websites, it’s hard to imagine a time when there were only a few thousand. But that’s exactly the environment Zelacom found itself in during the early- to mid-nineties. Demand for its website development services grew quickly as early adopters of the Web began discovering its paradigm-shifting potential.

While servicing the expanding demand for websites, Alex and Sharon noticed an even greater need: dial-up internet access in rural areas. Most folks in the “country” that surrounded Zelacom headquarters in upstate New York had difficulty connecting to the websites they produced. At best, the closest dial-up Internet provider required an expensive long-distance call.

So, the pair decided to dive headfirst into the burgeoning internet service provider (ISP) industry. Leasing a line from internet pioneers UUNet, Zelacom was the first ISP in the Catskills. It rapidly grew to be the largest in the region, linking thousands of customers to the internet.

By 1997, the large phone companies were aggressively taking over the ISP industry. Zelacom exited the dial-up business, selling it and financing the continued expansion of its web development enterprise. Timing could not have been better, for the dot-com boom was about to explode.

Blooming & Pruning

To accommodate the gold rush of web work, Zelacom opened offices in Manhattan, and began hiring top talent to grow the operation. From new headquarters at 32 Broadway in the heart of Silicon Alley, the company rode incredible market momentum during the high-flying, heady days of the late 90s web industry.

Zelacom worked with a wide range of clients during this time, including Fortune 500s, startups, and non-profits. Its web development work spanned nearly all conceivable industries. Zelacom gained a reputation for dependable craftsmanship and profitable performance.

By the turn of the millennium, many in the dot-com business sensed the bubble was about to pop. Zelacom had its finger on the slowing pulse of the market, and began to prepare for the financial storm to come. The New York City office was closed in 2001 as the high water mark of the technology market quickly receded. Zelacom would continue to scale in a different, more promising direction.

New Growth

Now headquartered in Ellenville, NY, Zelacom became more focused on custom application development during the 2000s. Companies required more and more sophisticated software to handle the complex systems and processes responsible for profit. Whether this entailed upgrading legacy systems or building new solutions from scratch, Zelacom excelled by leveraging its wealth of business experience and programming expertise.

During the 2000s, web development projects continued in earnest. Zelacom adapted to each new wave of technology, from social media to mobile apps. Hosting and email services were also in full swing, allowing the company to provide unprecedented support and security for its web clients.

In insurance, real estate, media and other industries, Zelacom’s applications are currently in widespread, everyday use by thousands of people. The company has a reputation for designing interfaces that require little in the way of computer skills to operate, but facilitate very complex processes behind the scenes. By improving workflow, productivity and efficiency for everyone from the CEO and the average employee, Zelacom has saved companies millions of dollars and work hours, increasing revenue.

Zelacom continues to grow in the 2010s, expanding its custom app development services into new industries, and using the latest digital technologies. If you want to be part of the next chapter in Zelacom history, contact Alex Shiffer and Sharon Richman today.