Gotham Networks, MIA
Repeated calls to Gotham's cofounders, CEO Lou Piazza and CTO Vijay Aggarwal, as well as to other investors and the company's board, went unanswered today. But several industry sources, including one of the company's VCs, say Gotham's closed its doors.
"Yes the company shut down this week," confirmed Bruce Sachs, partner at Charles River Ventures, which helped fund Gotham, in an email late today. "Great team, terrific effort, outstanding product, super value proposition, but faltering customers that just delayed buying decisions forever. This is a terrible casualty of the current environment. The employees and management did everything they should and could have done."
So far, the management and other investors aren't willing to talk. "Someone told you we're out of business? What a riot," said Piazza's assistant. "They're all at lunch." And: "You have to talk to the company. Goodbye," said board member Michael Champa, CEO of Winphoria Networks.
Gotham was launched in 1999 but surfaced only late in 2000 with talk of making an edge switch/router (see Gotham Networks ). Over time, the vendor appeared to be evolving in competition with the likes of WaveSmith Networks Inc., which is making a multiservice edge switch geared to help RBOCs and IXCs migrate legacy circuits to packet-switched IP networks (see A New Optical Taxonomy, page 9, and The Great ATM Switch Blitz).
The quondam competition isn't mourning the apparent loss, but Chad Dunn, director of product marketing at WaveSmith, insists the market for multiservice edge switches is still strong. "Carriers are certainly still interested in aggregating edge traffic," he says. WaveSmith's working in six live networks, he claims, streamlining traffic flows.
But WaveSmith has acknowledged that carriers, while interested in saving router ports, aren't ready to migrate their circuit-switched nets entirely to Internet Protocol (IP) via Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) (see WaveSmith's Multiservice Surprise). Unfortunately, that seems to have been Gotham's modus operandi. Sources say it's one that carriers aren't buying at the moment.
"Everything's reactive, not proactive, this year," says Sam Greenholtz, senior analyst with Communications Industry Researchers Inc. He says that even RFPs for Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) multiservice core and edge switching gear aimed at helping carriers make the circuit-to-packet conversion are more or less fishing expeditions that probably won't go anywhere until 2003, even if vendors are chosen.
Interestingly, one of these RFPs, a call by Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) for "Fast Packet/Converged Access Services," which WaveSmith, Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU), and Marconi PLC (Nasdaq/London: MONI) are said to be vying for, is set to be decided in July -- even if no implementation is done immediately.
— Mary Jander, Senior Editor, Light Reading