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Light Reading's Top Ten Private Companies 574377

Top Ten Private Companies REVISED 6/14

June 14, 2001

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Light Reading's Top Ten Private Companies

We've updated the list of Light Reading's Top Ten Private companies. Please, hold the bouquets and the rotten tomatoes.

Being the fickle, irascible lot we are, we felt the need for adjustments. The market has been brutal, and our list now reflects those companies we deem best equipped to survive the shakeout.

As always, this is the listing as of today. What seemed like a sure thing six months ago may now be teetering on the brink of collapse. So who knows what will be going on six months from now? As the market has shown, this is a fast-moving industry. Technologies -- and managers -- can shift without warning. There are buyouts and bankruptcies.

The IPO market is fickle and irascible, as well. Some day it may return to former heights. In the meantime, we're assuming it's dead for a good few months. Therefore, we're sticking with well-funded companies that are focused on customers and products and have the ability to show a path to profitability, regardless of the funding and IPO environment.

We will continue to move companies on and off the list on a regular basis, depending on the performance of theirproducts and executives. (Light Readers that have been followingThe Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Optical Networking will be familiar with this system.)

Table 1: Top Ten Private Companies

Company

Name

Last Position on List

1

10

2

3

3

4

4

5

5

6

6

7

7

8

8

9

9

Hall

10

3

LIQUIDITY BIN

Name

Last Position on List

2

6

HALL OF WALLFLOWERS

Name

Last Position on List

7

9



How are the companies selected? Light Reading’s formula for evaluation is now well-proven:

  • Technology Does it work? And if so, how?

  • People Grizzled CEO in place? Check. Truth-challenged VP of marketing on board? Check.

  • Money It’s not only how much you have -- it’s whom you get it from.These are the same criteria that we use in all our optical networking coverage. We also like help. Keep your ideas and opinions flowing to [email protected]

    The Rules

    There aren’t many rules, but the ones we have are strictly enforced (exceptwhen we think there’s a good reason for breaking them).

    Rule #1

    Companies must be privately held [like, duh! – ed]. Public companies aren’teligible, so don’t even try.

    Rule #2

    The optical networking industry is not a democracy — and neither is the TopTen list. The editors of Light Reading make the final call on whichcompanies make the cut, and our verdict is irrevocable. There is no highercourt of appeal — not even the Florida Secretary of State.

    For the same reason, there’s also no point sending multiple emailssuggesting the same company (friends of MRV please take note).It’s annoying, ok?

    Rule #3

    The list is dedicated to optical networking systems and components players. Service providers are also eligible, although LightReading is planning to launch a shiny new services site, with its very own services Top Ten list, some time in the spring.

    Rule #4

    There is no Rule #4.

    Rule #5

    To be included, companies must explain not only what their product does (theeasy bit: it’s called “marketing”) but also how it does it (the hard part:it’s called “engineering”).

    This weeds out vendors that decline to explain their technology fundamentalsfrom the get-go. Crescent Networks, for instance, got the old heave-ho for thisreason. Cinta Corp., as well. (And if Corvis Corp. were still a privatelyheld company it, too, would have been speedily dispatched for the samereason).

    The technology disclosure rule is an important one, because it makes it lesslikely that Light Reading editors will end up looking foolish byhonoring what we think is, say, a state-of-the-art all-optical switch that then turns out to be a PowerPoint slide of a state-of-the-artall-optical switch.

    It also makes it harder for startups to test the market with a “marketingballoon” announcement, and then change their technology story later (seeCorvis, again).

    Rule #6

    Don’t vote for Atmosphere. We will laugh at you.

    Disclosure: Neither Light Reading Inc. nor any of its editors owns equity, stock options, or warrants in any of the companies listed.

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