BrightLink to Shut Down This Week
"Together we've worked hard to create a great product, and I want to thank each and every one of you for the outstanding contributions you've made," wrote BrightLink CEO Paul Schaller in a note to employees, obtained by Light Reading.
BrightLink's furloughed employees were on an unpaid leave of absence with benefits. They also had use of their email and voice mail while the company sought funding and entertained hopes of calling them back to work.
When BrightLink ceases operations, employees will receive a check for their unused vacation and they'll lose their benefits. Schaller, however, says he's working on some way to extend employee benefits a little longer, "hopefully thirty days."
Also, if Schaller can pull it off, he says he'd like to organize a party for every BrightLink employee, past and present, to celebrate the company's accomplishments and to give its final employees some recognition for their hard work. "We'll try to have a barbeque or something like that."
Earlier this month BrightLink's investors gave it a bridge loan of about $2 million to cover about two months worth of expenses. "Of course, with a bridge loan, investors are looking for an event to bridge to," says Schaller. "That would have been additional investment in the company."
Schaller took the chairman and CEO job in May 2001, after his predecessor, Harry Quackenboss, resigned (see Brightlink Shuffles Top Management). The company's last major funding round of $35.8 million was announced in June 2001.
Whether BrightLink files for bankruptcy protection has not been determined. Schaller and company are working those details out this week. There are, however, "several interested parties" inquiring about BrightLink's intellectual property, from the chipset to the full system, Schaller says. He says interested parties include systems vendors and some companies "you wouldn't normally expect." (Like who? Disney? Philip Morris? Revlon?)
Schaller says there were two IXCs testing BrightLink's switch, and both were favorably impressed with the company's technology and support (see Brightlink Works on Its Grooming and Brightlink Checks Its Grooming).
One source close to the company's investors hints that Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA) is one of the systems companies interested in its switch. BrightLink had no comment on the speculation. Late last year, Cisco was reportedly looking to acquire BrightLink (see Would Cisco Buy Brightlink?). Strangely, BrightLink also pointed to Cisco as the company that tried to foil one of its early recruiting efforts (see Bye-Bye BrightLink Blimp).
— Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading