Recent growth propels IdeaTek to Inc. 5000 list for eighth time

IdeaTek Inc 5000 Tile 2021 02

  • Aug. 17, 2021


    Amy Bickel

    Marketing Project Manager


  • Growth in 2020 puts Buhler-based company at 822 on elite list  — its highest rank ever

    BUHLER, Kansas — Unprecedented growth in 2020 has propelled IdeaTek Telcom up in the ranks of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies — climbing to 822 on the 2021 Inc. 5000 list recently revealed by Inc. magazine.

    This is the eighth time and the highest-ranking that IdeaTek has ever earned on the prestigious list. Last year, the company ranked 3,603. The list represents an elite showcase of well-managed and successful companies based on three-year growth rates. Microsoft, Dell, Fitbit, Pandora and other household names gained their first national exposure as honorees on the list.

    “After a year like 2020, this recognition is even more meaningful to us,” said Founder and Chief Innovation Officer Daniel Friesen. “It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our talented team who believe in our mission. They roll up their sleeves to provide thousands of Kansans with internet freedom.”

    Founded by Friesen and four high school friends in 1999, IdeaTek’s mission is to connect underserved communities with affordable, high-speed internet service. To date, the company has deployed more than 3,600 miles of fiber — plus built 70 fixed wireless towers — serving customers in 50 Kansas communities. 

    Significant private investment paired with several state and federal broadband expansion programs has expedited IdeaTek’s growth trajectory. The company has tripled its workforce to 120 — adding nearly 90 high-tech jobs in the past 18 months — making it one of Reno County’s larger employers.

    In 2018, the Connect American Fund Phase II project gave IdeaTek the capital needed to deploy more than 600 miles of fiber-optic infrastructure to 3,000 premises in Reno, Sedgwick and Harvey counties.

    In October 2020, the company received Covid-mitigation (CARES) funding from the Kansas Department of Commerce to provide relief from poor internet access for thousands of residents in central and southwest Kansas, including in the counties of Reno, Chase, Meade and Edwards. The award was the largest of Kansas’ broadband grants.

    “That was a monumental lift,” Friesen said of the impact. “In three months, IdeaTek completed a project that would serve 17 counties. Nearly 20 communities received fiber for the first time.”

    The company deployed 20 cable plows and 39 bore machines to build 70 towers and 358 route miles. In the end, the project involved 115,000 hours, provided 25,805 fiber miles and has the potential to serve more than 10,335 homes and businesses. The total investment was over $18 million.

    “It was the most rewarding and challenging broadband project we’ve done to date,” Friesen said. 

    Meanwhile, IdeaTek’s growth continues into 2021 as the company explores new projects and funding opportunities to help close the digital divide, said IdeaTek President and CEO Jerrod Reimer. This includes the infrastructure bill moving through Congress.

    “Kansans should have affordable and reliable internet access no matter where they live,” Reimer said. “One of the lessons of the pandemic is that we must extend broadband to rural America. That’s why IdeaTek continues to dedicate resources into evaluating where we go next.”


    About IdeaTek Telcom

    IdeaTek Telcom, LLC, is a Buhler, Kansas-based broadband service provider with the mission of “fighting for internet freedom.” IdeaTek uses a unique and innovative approach to deploy scalable long-term fiber optic infrastructures, bridging the broadband gap in rural communities. The company has already successfully built over 3,600 miles of fiber throughout Kansas. IdeaTek has long been at the forefront in Kansas on broadband equity issues and is committed to enriching the communities in which they operate. 

    About Inc. 5000

    Started in 1982, Inc. magazine’s list has become the hallmark of entrepreneurial success. The Inc. 5000 ranks companies by overall revenue growth over three years. To qualify for the 2021 list, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2017. They had to be U.S.-based, privately held, for-profit and independent—not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies. The minimum revenue required for 2017 is $100,000; the minimum for 2020 is $2 million. Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at The annual Inc. 5000 event honoring the companies on the list will be held virtually this fall.


  • Photos:
  • Inc. 5000 Tile
  • CARES Construction Near Spearville
  • IdeaTek team photo