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Cerent, Calix Founder Forms Optical Startup

Michael Hatfield, the real McCoy in the Northern California telecom startup scene, is at it again.

Remember Hatfield? He was founder of Cerent Corp., the company Cisco acquired for nearly $7 billion in 1999. He was also founder of Calix Inc. (NYSE: CALX), easily one of the most successful broadband access startups in the past decade, and a favorite to go public or be acquired again and again.

Now Hatfield has founded a new telecom equipment company with Turin Networks Inc. founder Steve West, former Caymas Systems Inc. exec Eric Clelland, and Rick Johnston -- another member of the team that founded Calix. (See Was Cerent Worth It?.)

Johnston, Calix's VP of business development, hasn't even left the company yet, though Calix officials say he has given notice he's leaving. And Hatfield is still on the board there, Calix officials say, but he hasn't held a day-to-day management post in more than a year.

Hatfield, in fact, was CEO of Calix and Cerent in the early days of those companies, but handed the Calix reins over to Carl Russo to guide the company from the development stage into a period of speedy growth. (See Russo Returns.)

What's Hatfield's new deal? The company is called Cyan Optics and it’s a telecom equipment company, but that's about all that's known so far.

Cyan was incorporated on Nov. 14 and Hatfield filed for a trademark on Cyan and its shaded ovals logo a month later. He also is in the process of trademarking the term "BlueFlame." So maybe his forthcoming telecom gear will have both a cupholder and a propane grill attachment.

Hatfield isn't yet saying what his company is building. In an email response to Light Reading he wrote it would "be awhile before we've done something we would consider noteworthy."

The Cyan site couldn't be any more generic in its description of the company:

Ever increasing demand for high-bandwidth real-time services from consumers and business, places continuous pressure on public networks.

Communication Service Providers recognize that their networks need to change to meet their customers' expectations.

Cyan builds advanced technology systems to meet the expectations placed on these networks.



Carl Russo, Calix's president and CEO, isn't involved in Cyan Optics (that we can tell), but he also couldn't be reached for comment. We did confirm, though, that he's still working at Calix.

— Phil Harvey, Managing Editor, Light Reading

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DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 3:17:03 PM
re: Cerent, Calix Founder Forms Optical Startup anyone know?
ruready 12/5/2012 | 3:17:02 PM
re: Cerent, Calix Founder Forms Optical Startup ????
ruready 12/5/2012 | 3:17:02 PM
re: Cerent, Calix Founder Forms Optical Startup ????
AutoDog 12/5/2012 | 3:17:02 PM
re: Cerent, Calix Founder Forms Optical Startup I'm not sure what they were thinking, but when I hear Blue Flame I think of baked beans for dinner and with a lighter in a dark room.

-AD
CoolLightGeek 12/5/2012 | 3:17:02 PM
re: Cerent, Calix Founder Forms Optical Startup From Wiki:
Cyan in human culture

Cyan colored tiles are often used to pave swimming pools to make the water within them seem more inviting to swim in by making the color of the water seem more intense.

The color cyan (then called aqua) was commonly used in the interior design of the 1950s in combination with either magenta or pink and black to give a modern feel to interiors.


Figuratively, the company is attempting to convince the VCs that the user demand for more bandwidth makes the blue-green waters of telecom warm, inviting and modern.

Naaah, their only pictures on their web site show them trudging through an ancient artic wasteland: I guess that's how they might see the telecom market...
:)

CLG

firstmile 12/5/2012 | 3:17:01 PM
re: Cerent, Calix Founder Forms Optical Startup My absolute guess is that they are using Cyan lasers to build some super low cost (hopefully lower than the price that Verizon will pay) optical device for the PON wars.
Please also note that Cyan already appears to be trademarked by a laser company.
http://www.newport.com/Cyan-48...

...first
RTL Rules 12/5/2012 | 3:17:00 PM
re: Cerent, Calix Founder Forms Optical Startup If they were doing something "super low cost" I wonder if offshore manufacture (and R&D) is in their business plan. These guys would have the knowledge and connections to do that successfully.

RTL
Scott Raynovich 12/5/2012 | 3:16:59 PM
re: Cerent, Calix Founder Forms Optical Startup Founder and A-round investor aren't necessarily the same thing. Phil, here's my question: Mike Hatfield is listed as being on the Calix board. Is he staying there? Will Cyan compete with Calix? Any room for conflict there?

At any rate, here's what the Calix Web site says:

Carl Russo
President and CEO

Mike Hatfield
Founder Emeritus

I vote for calling Captain Carl the "Founder of Calix II," since essentially the company was recapped and restarted when he came back as CEO.

--Scott
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:16:59 PM
re: Cerent, Calix Founder Forms Optical Startup
Carl didn't exactly "come back". He left Cerent (Cisco) and then later joined Calix. You can say he came back out of retirement but he did not leave Calix and then come back.

seven
Scott Raynovich 12/5/2012 | 3:16:59 PM
re: Cerent, Calix Founder Forms Optical Startup "Rick Johnston had been listed as a principal at Cyan and he hadn't even left Calix yet. How does that happen?"

That is classic!
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