CoSine's Quest for Cash

For CoSine Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: COSN), which makes a scaleable IP services platform, announcing Tier 1 carriers isn’t a problem. It’s actually getting those carriers to buy boxes in bulk that's difficult.

Today, the company officially announced KDDI Corp., the number two service provider in Japan, as its latest customer. The provider has deployed its IPSX 3500 over the past three quarters, according to Mark Weingarten, vice president of marketing for CoSine. The company hasn’t publicly announced how much the contract is worth.

This is a big win for the company, considering that CoSine also counts NTT Communications Corp., Japan’s number one service provider, as its customer. And there are other top-tier names on its customer roster, as well: Sprint Corp. (NYSE: FON), Cable & Wireless (NYSE: CWP), Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q), and China Netcom Corp. Ltd. are all customers using CoSine gear to deliver IP services like IP VPNs and network-based firewalling (see CoSine Sells VPN Combo to China Netcom).

“They seem to be getting all the right names on their customer list,” says Kevin Mitchell, an analyst with Infonetics Research Inc.. “But they’re still not making any money.”

Even with all these heavy hitters deploying CoSine’s IPSX 3500, the company still only reported $5.2 million in revenue for the third quarter of 2002. And it reported a pro forma net loss (excluding restructuring and impairment charges and non-cash credits related to equity issuances) of $11.5 million, or $1.19 per share. With boxes ranging in price from $100,000 on the low end to $500,000 on the high end, the company is likely selling fewer than 10 boxes a quarter.

”For CoSine to survive, they will eventually have to sell 15, 20, 25 boxes at a time, instead of the small or incremental purchases they've recently received,” says Mark Bieberich, senior analyst at Yankee Group. “I don't expect purchases of that size until mid-2004.” Part of the problem could be the scaleability of CoSine’s product, say some analysts. A single IPSX 3500 can support up to 3,000 virtual routers, while the IPSX 9500 supports up to 12,000.

“Their scaleability prevents large deals from the start,” says Mitchell. “On the one hand this is good, because carriers don’t want something that will run out of gas. But right now they are not building large-scale deployments, so they buy fewer boxes upfront.” CoSine’s Weingarten dismisses the idea that the IPSX 3500 is too scaleable. He says the product’s scaleability is its strongest selling point, because it lowers the price point for carriers to offer new services.

But he admits that carriers are not ready for large-scale deployments. He hopes that when carriers start spending again they will be looking for boxes such as the IPSX 3500 to generate new revenue from IP services. He says the company’s presence in many Tier 1 accounts will help it down the road in landing larger deals. In fact, he claims that in the last quarter 80 percent of CoSine’s revenue came from recurring business.

Still, Weingarten can’t help lamenting about the past. “I wish we had had our second-generation product three years ago when there were 240 competitive local exchange carriers [CLECs] to choose from instead of 24,” he says. “It would be great if there were more participants. And the CLECs were really able to act much more quickly than the incumbents.”

“The market has fundamentally changed since 1999 when CoSine first started shipping product,” says Mitchell. “It utterly shifted away from CLECs to incumbent carriers.”

CoSine isn’t the only company feeling the pain. No one in the network-based VPN and security business is doing well, says Mitchell. Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) has had some recent success in Asia, but, like CoSine, the platform is not generating much revenue, he says (see Nortel Wins Big in China). Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU), which bought Springtide for its IP services box, has morphed that product into a wireless router and is trying to incorporate its technology into a services switch (see Lucent Clarifies Product Strategy). Startups like Celox Networks, Corona Networks Inc., and Quarry Technologies Inc., which have been developing similar products, are also struggling to find paying customers (see Meet Me in Southborough, MA?).

Mitchell also notes that the competition will only get more fierce for these purpose-built boxes, as many edge routers -- like the ERX from Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR), the 7500 and 10000 series routers from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), and the SmartEdge router from Redback Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: RBAK) -- integrate IP services into their products (see VPNs Grow Up ).

“In the long run it’s going to be hard for any company with a single product to survive in this kind of environment,” says Mitchell.

On the upside, CoSine has plenty of cash on hand -- $113.6 million, to be exact.

“Fortunately for CoSine, they've reduced their cash burn rate to survive until the turnaround,” says Yankee Group’s Bieberich. “They're also the preferred IP service switch vendor in several Tier 1 carrier networks, such as Sprint and Qwest, so they're well positioned to land those larger deals when the economy rebounds.”

— Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editor, Light Reading
www.lightreading.com Want to know more? The big cheeses of the optical networking industry will be discussing VPNs and multiservice switches at Lightspeed Europe. Check it out at Lightspeed Europe 02.

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Spaz 12/4/2012 | 9:20:04 PM
re: CoSine's Quest for Cash henry_class wrote:


Whatever happened to the juicy stories about Maple ? Prince, Princesses, Foreign intrigues,
deprived employees, robbers acting as executives, shady VCs, empty box with fans humming, hidden PCs trying to demo GOD protocol, ......

Lets hear some more interesting stuff.



Sorry about not responding. I've been off the board for a while. I definitely have some good stuff to talk about, but now's not the time. I really wouldn't want to ruin Maple's chances. Hahahahahahahaha. Sorry. I crack myself up. But there will be a time.

henry_class 12/4/2012 | 9:20:02 PM
re: CoSine's Quest for Cash
Hello Spaz,

When I worked in Maple I was told that their founders were the inventors of ATM, BGP, GbE, MIPS. Tell me how a company with such illustrious people can fail. Spaz, did they lie to me ? Were they all fakes. I was also told that their new CEO is a genious at business and economics. What a bunch of bozos. I was also told that their VCs are tier 1. Now I realise they are tier 10. I lost all my money buying their stock options at very high price. Do you think I will ever make up this money.
Spaz 12/4/2012 | 9:19:44 PM
re: CoSine's Quest for Cash henry_class wrote:

Hello Spaz,

When I worked in Maple I was told that their founders were the inventors of ATM, BGP, GbE, MIPS. Tell me how a company with such illustrious people can fail. Spaz, did they lie to me ? Were they all fakes. I was also told that their new CEO is a genious at business and economics. What a bunch of bozos. I was also told that their VCs are tier 1. Now I realise they are tier 10. I lost all my money buying their stock options at very high price. Do you think I will ever make up this money.



A lot of that stuff about the founders is spouted on the web site. I never was that impressed with it as such, but I used to believe that I was working with some very smart people. And I had a lot of faith in the management until even after the second layoff. Call me naive. I did notice that a lot of the people I respected started leaving at a very early stage. I was able to justify it as nervousness about the market or other innocent factors. What really turned me around was watching how business was handled when things got tough (as in "no money"). The lack of ethics and disregard for the people who had supported them up to that point really bothered me. It's easy to lead when things are going well. It another when you face obstacles, and the Maple founders showed their true colors. I didn't like what I saw.

As for A Tool, I don't think ANYONE ever bought the idea that he was any good. He was brought in as an interim until a real CEO could be found. In retrospect, Raza was pulling his usual stunt of dumping his deadwood on one of his floundering portfolio companies to go down with the ship. Remember Andrew Fine? I'm not saying that he was deadwood, just that he was not on Atiq's "A" list for whatever reason. I think that it's interesting that Atiq didn't have his son intern with Maple this summer like he had the previous 2 summers. This year he went to Intruvert where he could actually learn something. Hhhhmmmmmmmmm.

Your stocks. What can I say? I bought mine as well. Everybody did. It seemed like a sure thing at the time. The only value they have today is as a loss to offset any good investments you've made when Maple finally folds. In the best possible scenario, Maple will fool somebody into thinking that their IP is worth something and get acquired. If that happens the founders and VCs will get some of their money, but that's about it. The common stock got way diliuted when A Tool put together the washout round to prolong the misery. The most likely scenario is that Maple will just disappear with a wimper. Either way, we're hosed.

To answer the big question, yes they lied to you. They lied to all of us, and they're lying still. And no, Light, this isn't sour grapes. I have many, many examples of how the employees have been lied to and misled.

You mention WHEN you worked for Maple. Does that mean that you're out now?

Spaz 12/4/2012 | 9:19:26 PM
re: CoSine's Quest for Cash I just wanted to let all you interested Maple folks (because nobody else cares really) that I have created a new thread in the reader message board area, The Maple Optical Clothesline. Maybe it can be your one-stop shopping for all of the dirt on Maple. It will actually help productivity at Maple (such as it is) because now everyone won't have to search all over the LR boards for Maple posts. Here's your chance to get out those pent-up rages. Try it. It feels good. See you there!

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