Cable Tech

Jedai Still on Its Feet

It's battered. It's bruised. But executives at Jedai Broadband Networks Inc. insist the company is still alive and fighting for its portion of the Ethernet access business.

Red Bank, N.J.-based Jedai isn’t named in reference to “a galaxy far, far away.” The company, founded in 2001, gets its name from the joining of two Chinese characters for “outstanding” and “generation.” [Ed. note: Or, possibly, for "darth" and "vader"... it's unclear.]

Early on, it made a splash by developing a business access platform, the Front Runner 3200, for the cable companies, according to Scott Clavenna, chief analyst at Heavy Reading (see Jedai Unveils Access Kit).

The Jedai access gear allows MSOs and carriers to sell businesses Ethernet-based services over existing cable or fiber networks. One big selling point is Jedai's ability to deliver synchronous circuits, such as T1/E1 over asynchronous networks, via circuit emulation. The company's technology and story earned it “Communications Company of the Year” accolades from the New Jersey Technology Council in 2002.

But lately, the company has gone quiet. Following last year's announcements of a partnership with Internet Photonics (acquired by Ciena Corp.) and a $10 million Series B funding round, a muffled shroud descended (see Jedai Close to $10M ).

We do know that Jedai has yet to announce any customer wins and has lost a number of its staff. The company has gone from 40 employees last year, to its current number of 28.

“We‘re still here. We’re funded. We actually have product in the field," says Joseph Parola, Jedai's VP of sales and business development. "We have product with Cox, Comcast, Adelphia, and Time Warner, but I can’t say where the sites are as they haven’t announced yet."

So the patient has a pulse?

Yes, according to Parola, and it has customers, too. He says some are using Jedai's gear for data switching across their networks. “Another one is working with the local school system to link up with all the local PBXs across the city, and bring that to a central building and save money on the phone company network."

Jedai’s partner, Ciena, is continuing to develop their combined products and will create product line extensions to address other markets, according to Mitch Auster, director of cable product marketing for Ciena.

“The Ciena product does both Layer 1 and Layer 2 Gigabit Ethernet transport and switching, and the Jedai product expands the service and application set and drives the demand for Gigabit Ethernet transport and switching,” Auster says. “The key thing that they provide is the circuit emulations over Ethernet -- they are the leader there.”

Parola declines to discuss Jedai's funding level. He says the company is currently seeking a Series C funding round. "With small companies like ourselves, to be able to work the funding issues is not as easy as in 1999 or 2000. It takes longer than you hope,” he says. “We haven’t had the 'go away and never come back routine,' but we’ve been looking into the process.”

Though Jedai has raised about $50 million to date, analyst Clavenna isn’t convinced the Force is with young Jedai.

“A company with 28 employees that’s been bouncing around like this, it seems to me that a Series C isn’t going to do it," he says, setting down his meerschaum pipe and adjusting his monocle.

"I’m skeptical that the Series C is really going to get done. They need to be acquired. You have to really be not just in there, but have a strong commitment from [Comcast and Time Warner] to be a player in the cable space. So if you’re not affiliated with them in some way, that’s also a huge strike against you, in terms of having access to MSOs. From a VC point of view, this looks like a real dog.”

Parola concedes that times have been tough in the cable services market, but insists that cable MSOs are looking for the next big thing in services and Jedai is poised to answer that call.

“We’ve hung in there through the tough time of telecom downdraft, and we’re starting to land in a very good position with a strategic product of the next wave of growth,” he says. “It’s kind of like the boxer that hung in there for eight rounds and is now starting to come back because he hung in there.”

— Matthew Nelson, special to Light Reading

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ODH 12/5/2012 | 3:30:00 AM
re: Jedai Still on Its Feet
Did you go to the Jedai website recently? It still asks you to "submit resume" under "Job Opportunities". The qualification must include turning off the lights and shutting down the website.
opti_blowfish 12/5/2012 | 1:18:06 AM
re: Jedai Still on Its Feet I wish them all the best. Nowadays we should all be hoping that Jedai and companies like this are successful. Without them many more people will be unemployed soon.
yellowstoner 12/5/2012 | 1:18:04 AM
re: Jedai Still on Its Feet It is a time of great joy and great sorrow, it is the time of great change. Mabon is as much about life as it is about death, it is the reminder that within life there is death and within death there is life. It is about the dance that partners life with death.

Mabon is a time when we are poised between the worlds of life and death, of light and dark, of day and night. We mourn that which is passing, celebrate that which is bountiful and are consciously reminded that the Mother will hold the seed of Light in Her womb until the time of rebirth. Once more the realization that the Wheel of Year has turned, as it always has and will always continue to do as our time is circular not linear, there is no end without new beginnings, it is the continuance of life eternal.
Infinite_Wingnut 12/5/2012 | 1:17:38 AM
re: Jedai Still on Its Feet yellowstoneR,

Et tu brute?

I know you're not Yellowstone (he still works there in HW). I suspect ST? Am I right?

yellowstoner 12/5/2012 | 1:17:25 AM
re: Jedai Still on Its Feet For the second time in the year, day and night are once again equal, creating for us the time to look at our own scales, the bounty of our own personal harvest weighted against our life's experience. A time to take the gifts given from experience hard wrought, make them apart of who and what we are. These past experiences, regenerate into wisdom, which is reborn within. By doing so we honor these events, people, and experiences that have so impacted our journey, our being, and in honoring these we make them sacred and their passage one of distinction and consequence. For we can not know what we have not experienced. The journey of life is one of knowledge and through that knowledge growth.
startup_shutup 12/5/2012 | 1:17:21 AM
re: Jedai Still on Its Feet 140K salary per engineer means 200K per head...
trans2up 12/5/2012 | 1:17:10 AM
re: Jedai Still on Its Feet $140K an engineer? Not likely. The managers (only ones with real experience) they got rid of made $135K. A handfull of engineers made over $100. Most don't have any real work experience and are paid junion wages. Only ones who make real money now are the uppers who are killing the company.
countrymusicman 12/5/2012 | 1:16:09 AM
re: Jedai Still on Its Feet Time almost up for jedai. Clock ticking and money almost all gone.

Tik Tok
opti_blowfish 12/5/2012 | 1:15:58 AM
re: Jedai Still on Its Feet countrymusicman ...

Do you know something or are you just speculating ?
countrymusicman 12/5/2012 | 1:15:53 AM
re: Jedai Still on Its Feet Second round funds all used up. Bridge loan is nearly gone. They hope to close a buy deal before it runs out but they never will.

Bets on when they close shop?
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