Light Reading

Caspian Closes Its Doors

Phil Harvey
News Analysis
Phil Harvey
9/14/2006
50%
50%

Caspian Networks Inc. , originally founded as Packetcom in 1998, has shut its doors and ceased operations, according to two sources close to the company.

Caspian, founded by Internet pioneer Dr. Lawrence Roberts, had as many as 323 employees about five-and-a-half years ago, but that number has fluctuated wildly over the company's many fits and starts. Fewer than 100 people remained when the decision was made to shut the doors, a source close to the company says.

Roberts left Caspian in early 2004. Light Reading was the first to report his arrival at Anagran Inc. , where he took the ideas of tracking IP traffic based on flows, in order to provide quality of service (QOS) and load balancing, and applied it to customer premises equipment. (See Roberts' Anagran Plan Draws $8M.) [Ed. note: By the way, "a nag ran" is an anagram for Anagran.]

Caspian made quite a splash in its early days. After raising an $85 million third round of funding -- a round backed by Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. , ABN AMRO 's private equity arm, and others -- many thought the company was destined to be one of the tech industry's next big IPOs. (See Internet Pioneer Plots IP Revolution and Caspian Prepares for an IPO.)

The company's mission was to build one big honkin' core IP router that would allow carriers to provide unprecedented QOS -- even in an all-IP network. But by early 2002, Caspian had washed out all its early investors and was still hungry for cash. (See Washed Out in the Valley.)

Its fourth funding round -- a monster $120 million round -- closed in early 2002. All the while, the company had a revolving door in the CEO's office, and it experienced several rounds of layoffs while waiting for its revolutionary router to scare up a customer. (See Caspian's CEO Suddenly Bolts, Caspian Names New CEO, Caspian Names CEO/Prez/Chairman, and Caspian Starts Fresh With $120M.)

In 2003, Caspian finally explained its router to the world and boasted that it had some 35 carrier trials going on. Indeed, it looked as though the years of hype and the millions invested were starting to pay off. (See Caspian Comes Out.)

Or not.

Some months later, Caspian toned down its core routing rhetoric and followed Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) into the world of helping carriers monitor and control the traffic caused by peer to peer (P2P) networks. (See Caspian Adds P2P Punch.)

In May 2005, Caspian shocked the private equity world again by ringing up another $55 million in funding, bringing its total funding to date to more than $300 million. The company said at the time that it was hoping to become profitable in late 2006.

One last peep out of Caspian came in April, when the company put itself out there as the solution for the network neutrality debate. In a clever bit of marketing, the company invented the Fair Use Policy Framework, a fancy way of describing the process of allocating different bandwidth thresholds to different services. (See Caspian Plays Fair.)

First core routing. Then P2P networking. Then net neutrality. Investors apparently put the kibosh on the company before it crow-barred itself into another communications fad. [Ed. note: "Gosh, that's the largest gaming console I've ever seen!"] Light Reading's calls to several Caspian investors weren't returned. Calls to Caspian's CEO Brad Wurtz were not returned by press time, so it's yet unclear how far along the company is in its closure or whether any bidders have emerged for its intellectual property. Calls to industry analysts were met with uncomfortable silence in one case, and stifled laughter in another.

— Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading

(35)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 4   >   >>
netphilic
50%
50%
netphilic,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:40:55 AM
re: Caspian Closes Its Doors
Someone should learn from Caspian, how to fire CEO, employee n' number of times :(
reoptic
50%
50%
reoptic,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:40:55 AM
re: Caspian Closes Its Doors
It tolls for core routing VCs.
opticalwatcher
50%
50%
opticalwatcher,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:40:54 AM
re: Caspian Closes Its Doors
Didn't Caspian once win a contract with the Defense Department to build orbiting routers?

Wasn't there some news release about a Caspian win in Asia in the last week or so?
Meister
50%
50%
Meister,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:40:54 AM
re: Caspian Closes Its Doors
Just another Larry Roberts special. Zero for how many the past 20 years?
startup_shutup
50%
50%
startup_shutup,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:40:53 AM
re: Caspian Closes Its Doors
Ed. note: "Gosh, that's the largest gaming console I've ever seen!"

This is the best quote ... many company products in Silly Con Valley could be described with this apt comment!!
ozip
50%
50%
ozip,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:40:52 AM
re: Caspian Closes Its Doors
A story as old as time. Even before we had core routers for the Internet, we had high end routers/bridges for scores of failed companies. But if your keeping track, do a rough tally of the failures and compare that with the how much was sold (say using Dello numbers). When you dissect the market for routers specifically tarketed at the core, the prize for winning was never that big or big enough to go around.

Is Avici one customer away from the same fate?

OZIP
oemarket_com
50%
50%
oemarket_com,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:40:52 AM
re: Caspian Closes Its Doors
If the $300million spent on Caspian were given to R&D projects in universities and research institutions, much more intellectual properties would have been generated than what they have now at Caspian.
It is obvious that half-cooked ideas should be kept in the university lab as long as possible.
Lite Rock
50%
50%
Lite Rock,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:40:52 AM
re: Caspian Closes Its Doors
Ouch That Hurtz!!
dave@dwdmr.com
50%
50%
dave@dwdmr.com,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:40:51 AM
re: Caspian Closes Its Doors
Startup

You are like an old broken down LP record that is stuck on replay. Your negativity is never ending, it can not be quantified, it is of epic proportions. It reaches into every recess like a foul ordour. Enough already.

Caspian tried mightily and they failed. As an emigrant from Ireland I know that the ability to fail, sometimes repeatedly, yet to continue to strive and have the opportunity to be sucessful after these failures is seen as one of America's gretest strengths.

Better to have tried and failed than never tried at all. After all you could end stuck in a grounhog day moment like you appear to be which seems a much sorrier state.

So Shutup "SHUTUP!"
startup_shutup
50%
50%
startup_shutup,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:40:51 AM
re: Caspian Closes Its Doors
>> It is obvious that half-cooked ideas should be kept in the university lab as long as possible.

In USA we have FALSE ECONOMY (based on people selling overpriced houses to each other) ...

Naturally there would be FALSE companies in this SCAM environment ....
Page 1 / 4   >   >>
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Anshul Sadana answers questions from Steve Saunders, Light Reading's founder and CEO, about Arista's CloudVision, a global cloud network controller for workload orchestration and workflow automation delivering a turnkey solution for cloud networking.
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei ONS Product Demo

8|3|15   |   6:01   |   (0) comments


Huawei shows at Open Networking Summit 2015 in Santa Clara how its SDN and NFV solutions embrace openness.
LRTV Custom TV
End-User or Enterprise Benefits to the New IP

7|30|15   |   04:27   |   (1) comment


Andrew Coward discusses what the New IP means to end users or enterprise customers. He explains compelling reasons, including how every customer can get their own network, from the transformation to the New IP.
LRTV Custom TV
Network Visibility & the New IP

7|30|15   |   02:23   |   (0) comments


Mukund Srigopal provides an explanation of what network visibility is and how it is essential as service providers transition to the New IP. In addition, the importance of the network packet broker is discussed.
Between the CEOs
Video Exclusive With Basil Alwan, Alcatel-Lucent

7|24|15   |   26:44   |   (5) comments


Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
LRTV Custom TV
VDF: Enable the Financial With Mobile Money

7|20|15   |   06:53   |   (0) comments


Ian Ravenscroft discusses how operators can expand to occupy the entire digital services value chain through service innovation.
LRTV Custom TV
Telefónica on OSS Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:01   |   (0) comments


Jose Gonzales discusses the details of Telefónica's operation transformation program.
LRTV Custom TV
Judi Achmadi on Huawei's Cloud Storage Solution

7|20|15   |   03:33   |   (0) comments


Judi discusses the key business goals of TelekomSigma's public cloud service and how Huawei's solution helps them address challenges.
LRTV Custom TV
KPN Enlightening Digital Business & IT Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:19   |   (0) comments


Rob de Beer discusses the changes that operators need to make with service innovation now coming from the Internet world.
LRTV Custom TV
Stratus Telco-Grade Cloud Solutions & NFV

7|20|15   |   07:34   |   (0) comments


Ali Kafel from Stratus Technologies addresses high-availability concerns within the telco industry with a solution that enables telcos to provide high-availability and stateful fault-tolerance using a software-based approach.
LRTV Documentaries
The Six Million Dollar Business Man

7|20|15   |   01:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Saunders, publisher. A man barely alive after an acquisition malfunction imploded the company he founded. Gentlemen, we can rebuild Light Reading. Better, faster, stronger.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Anukool Lakhina, Guavus

7|20|15   |   38:51   |   (1) comment


Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
LRTV Custom TV
IBM's Flash Storage With Intel QuickAssist

7|20|15   |   03:18   |   (0) comments


Intel's Bev Crair and IBM's Eric Herzog discuss how IBM's V9000 Flash Storage System has helped customers around the world. Featuring real-time compression powered by Intel QuickAssist Technology, the V9000 is a next-gen flash storage solution.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
To keep up with consumers' increasing digital lifestyles, an IT system and operating model overhaul is required using a modern BSS, IES and analytics.
Hot Topics
FCC Plan Could Stymie Rural Broadband
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/3/2015
Eurobites: Nokia Seals HERE Sale
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 8/3/2015
Verizon Small Cells Ready to Rock in Chicago
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 7/31/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
September 22, 2015
Media Begins With “Me”
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
I was pleasantly surprised when Ericsson recently agreed to let me interview its CEO, Hans Vestberg. Traditionally, mega-companies like Ericsson (or Cisco) have kept ...
Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
Cats with Phones