40 Under 40 The Class of 2017

Kristopher Pacunas

CEO, GigXero Inc.; Age 37

Kristopher Pacunas

Kristopher Pacunas

Kristopher Pacunas may not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but this superman of the Internet is using his amazing powers in a never-ending battle for the ultimate online experience — one high-density building at a time.

Pacunas is the founder and CEO of GigXero, which installs and services high-speed (gigabit and above) Internet connections nationwide, with large-scale commercial and mixed-use residential buildings already under contract in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Illinois. GigXero access is 20 to 100 times faster than incumbent cable companies.

“I think the Internet is as important as electricity — you can’t go without it,” said Pacunas. “But if you’re always experiencing slow downloads or constant buffering, it can cost businesses a lot of money. My goal is to create a superior Internet experience that will make a big difference in everyday life.”

He launched GigXero in 2015, starting with an apartment building in Amherst. Residents list the high-speed service as their favorite amenity. He also completed a $200 million development in Newark, N.J., providing high-speed, low-cost Internet access for buildings and their tenants, including at least one Internet-dependent business that brought in 1,000 jobs simply because of the extremely fast, reliable, and secure service.

“We’re focusing on where we can make the most difference,” Pacunas said.

He has been achieving goals through technology since attending Springfield Technical Community College. He left before graduating, he explained, because he became distracted by job opportunities, including his position as IT director for Belchertown, which he started while still at STCC. In 2001, at the age of 22, he aced five interviews to become Amherst’s IT director.

“The fourth and fifth interviews were basically just exercises for the town to find reasons not to hire me,” said Pacunas, who now lives in Belchertown with his wife, Courtney, and their six children. “They wanted to be sure my age wouldn’t be an issue.”

One of his proudest Amherst achievements is a mile-long, contiguous, and completely free public outdoor wi-fi network, enabling seamless connectivity throughout the town. “You could eat, shop, or walk without skipping a beat, a big plus to economic development,” he noted.

The secret to his success? Pacunas says it’s simply his passion for what he does. “I’m a highly driven geek who thinks he can make the Internet better.”

—Alta Stark