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
Last week I dropped in on "Hotlanta," Georgia to moderate Light Reading's inaugural DroneComm conference – a unique colloquium investigating the potential for drone communications to disrupt the world's telecom ecosystem. As you will see, it was a day of exploration and epiphany...
Between the CEOs
Affirmed Networks CEO: Digging Into NFV

5|28|15   |   40:26   |   (2) comments


Hassan Ahmed, CEO of Affirmed Networks, is making some big claims for his NFV startup. I sat down with him at the Light Reading HQ in New York City to get the skinny on what this Acton, Mass.-based startup is up to.
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Eyeing SDN for Headend, Home Uses

5|26|15   |   05:57   |   (1) comment


CableLabs is looking at virtualizing CMTS and CCAP devices in the headend, as well as in-home devices, says CableLabs' Karthik Sundaresan.
LRTV Documentaries
Verizon's Emmons: SDN Key to Cost-Effective Scaling

5|22|15   |   03:53   |   (0) comments


For Verizon and other network operators to ramp up available bandwidth cost effectively, they need to move to SDN and agree on how to do that.
LRTV Documentaries
Lack of Universal SDN a Challenge

5|21|15   |   04:51   |   (3) comments


Heavy Reading Analyst Sterling Perrin talks about how uncertainty about SDN standards and approaches may be slowing deployment.
LRTV Custom TV
Steve Vogelsang Interview: Carrier SDN

5|20|15   |   05:02   |   (0) comments


Sterling Perrin speaks to Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, about the new Carrier SDN-enabling Network Services Platform and the operator challenges it solves.
LRTV Custom TV
Carrier SDN: On-Demand Networks for an On-Demand World

5|20|15   |   20:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, talks about requirements and benefits of Carrier SDN during the keynote address at the Light Reading Carrier SDN event May 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
The Security Challenge of SDN

5|19|15   |   02:52   |   (0) comments


CenturyLink VP James Feger discusses concerns that virtualization could create new vulnerabilities unless network operators build in safeguards.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Elasticity – Highly Available VNF Scale-Out Architectures for the Mobile Edge

5|18|15   |   5:50   |   (0) comments


Peter Marek and Paul Stevens from Advantech Networks and Communications Group talk about their NFV Elasticity initiative and the company's latest platforms for deploying virtual network functions at the edge of the network. Packetarium XL and the new Versatile Server Module: 'designed to reach parts of the network that other servers cannot reach.'
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Bay Area Spark Meetup 2015

5|14|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Developed in 2009, Apache Spark is a powerful open source processing engine built around speed, ease of use and sophisticated analytics. This spring, Huawei hosted a meetup for Spark developers and data scientists in Santa Clara, California. Light Reading spoke with organizers and attendees about Huawei's code contributions and long-term commitment to Spark.
LRTV Custom TV
The Transport SDN Buzz

5|12|15   |   06:01   |   (1) comment


Sterling Perrin, senior analyst at Heavy Reading, speaks with Peter Ashwood-Smith of Huawei and Guru Parulkar of ON.Lab about the evolution of transport SDN and the integration of technologies.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation CCAP: Cisco cBR-8 Evolved CCAP

5|5|15   |   04:49   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explained the innovation design of Cisco's cBR-8, the industry's first Evolved CCAP, including DOCSIS 3.1 design from ground-up, distributed CCAP with Remote PHY and path to virtualization. Cisco's cBR-8 Evolved CCAP is the platform that will last through the transitions.
LRTV Custom TV
Meeting the Demands of Bandwidth & Service Group Growth

5|1|15   |   5:35   |   (0) comments


Jorge Salinger, Comcast's Vice President of Access Architecture, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 and multi-service CCAP can meet the demands of the bandwidth and service group growth.
Upcoming Live Events
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Procera has gathered facts, stats and customer experience feedback from a survey of 540 users from across the globe.
Hot Topics
Bidding War for TWC Looks Likelier
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 5/22/2015
Charter Seals Deals for TWC, Bright House
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/26/2015
Eurobites: Alcatel-Lucent Trials 400G in Czech Republic
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 5/26/2015
Charter Plans Business Services, Wireless Push
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 5/27/2015
Will Carriers Follow Facebook's Networking Lead?
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 5/28/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
On May 29th 10 AM ET, Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, will be drilling into the "pains and gains" of NFV with Saar Gillai, SVP & GM for NFV at Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) (HP). He has defined a four-step NFV model describing a sequence of technology innovation. It's a must-read doc for any network architect looking to get to grips with their NFV migration strategy. Join us for the interview, and the chance to ask Saar your NFV questions directly!
Hassan Ahmed, CEO of Affirmed Networks, is making some big claims for his NFV startup. I sat down with him at the Light Reading HQ in New York City to get the skinny on what this Acton, Mass.-based startup is up to.
With 200 customers in 60 countries, Stockholm-based Net Insight has carved out a solid leadership position in one of the hottest vertical markets going in comms right now: helping service providers and broadcasters deliver video and other multimedia traffic over IP networks. How has Net Insight managed to achieve this success in the face of immense competition from the industry giants?
Cats with Phones