x
Optical/IP

Light Reading's Top Ten Private Companies

It's time once again for a fresh and clean version of Light Reading’s Top Ten Private Companies list. We've done a lot of spring cleaning.

To recap: We try to pick the hottest IPO or acquisition prospects in the telecom technology market. This is done just before the companies promptly go spiraling into bankruptcy. (Ha. Just kidding. Kind of.)

How are the companies selected? We usually stick to the same three criteria:

  • Technology: Is it more than just duck tape, copper wiring, and epoxy? Does it work? Do folks have a motivation to buy it – i.e., would it provide a high rate of return on investment?
  • People: Are they smart, well-groomed, and polite? Or is the chief operations officer dogged by a bad case of hallitosis and a shadowy past at Enron? These are the types of penetrating questions we ask.
  • Money: Are they as good at raising it as they are at spending it? Or does their lead investor bring new meaning to the term "dumb money"? In terms of funding, we prefer the $50 million equity round from Goldman Sachs to the high-interest debt from Mob-Fronts-R-Us.

    Then there's the X-factor, which is what sets our list apart from other industry rankings – or "skankings," as we like to call them. Last July, we gave you some insights into some of the elements going into the X-factor, including the Vibe, Creep-Out Index, and Aesthetics. (See Light Reading's Top Ten Private Companies.)

    In an exclusive look inside the inner circle of Light Reading, here are some of the other elements comprising the X-factor:

  • Attitude: Do the company employees seem energized, or just plain weird? Does the awkward lead sales person remind you of Chloe from the TV show "24"? Does the admin staff spend the bulk of its time trading Pez dispensers on eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY)?
  • Professionalism: Is the company relatively free of sketchy folks wearing frumpy clothes, or does a visit to the HQ remind you of the bar at the Hooters Casino in Las Vegas? Does the CEO spend too much time down in Tijuana?
  • Branding: Are the marketing materials clean and polished? Does the marketing guy wear nice suits and return your phone calls? Or does the company have a cheesy 10x10 tradeshow booth that looks as if it was slapped together by kindergartners?
  • Bonus Tip: Never mention your advertising contract to the editor in the hopes that it will help your ranking. It doesn't. And you'll risk losing many X-factor points.

    So... What's new?

    The new additions are a motley crew, running the gamut of optical networking, broadband access devices, and operations software. Newcomers include Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN), the avant-garde optical networking company that's revisiting the list after prior bumpings. We've also added some fresh blood with the addition of Apertio Ltd. , 2Wire Inc. , and Ruckus Wireless Inc. Haven't heard of any of them? We reckon you will.

    So who got ditched, and why? We've booted several companies for getting a bit old and moldy, as well as lacking any new big news. In short, we got bored waiting for them to make us look good.

    Turin Networks Inc. has been quiet – a little too quiet. And the empty TelecomNext booth was a clincher. Bridgewater Systems Corp. (Toronto: BWC) and Tazz Networks Inc. provided a bit of a problem, in that we wanted to leave them on the list, but it seemed too many other companies are building revenues faster and have products in more interesting areas. Also, our last Top Ten's Reader Poll indicated that folks see policy control as a niche space, not necessarily a monster market. (See Light Readers Torn Over Policy Decisions.)

    And last – and possibly least – Atrica Inc. got the boot. We figure, if Atrica hasn't made its move for IPO or found a buyer by now, it may be getting a little late in the game.

    You can get to the full details by clicking on the links in the table here:

    The Liquidity Bin: Want to send in your feedback? Send us a note and let us know what you think. — The Staff, Light Reading

  • Page 1 / 2   >   >>
    valleyguy 12/5/2012 | 3:59:16 AM
    re: Light Reading's Top Ten Private Companies This list tells me several things:

    1) If you want to be in the equipment business you better have the stomach for a $250M+ price tag. How many re-caps have some of these companies had? By the way, anyone got any idea what's next for this category in general? What about all these open source network systems plays for example. Will that change the economic proposition and make this a place worth investing in the next five years? Anyone got any thoughts on that? Is the telco world going to get run over by the MSO's because of their draconian, idiotic procurement processes that are stifling the innovators who could help them compete against the Comcasts of the world? I digress.
    2) Don't be the A or B or C round guy. Wait for D E or F...
    3) Hauwei is not a private company. Just because their stock doesn't trade anywhere yet, doesn't mean they qualify as private. They are a communist government spawned house of thievery, smoke and mirrors, keystone cops-type snafu's (remember the photographer at that trade show a couple of years ago?). Who else would be a loser enough to partner with 3Com, the comedy of errors. Freakin' bizarre company, Hauwei. It'll be a big hit on the Heng Seng...
    4) You better not be a telco-only play or you are definitely in the dubious $300M club. Members only!

    Why wouldn't you put Trapeze or Aruba in here? Yeah they are wireless so they're probably on Unstrung but they compete for security dollars and LAN switching dollars so should they be on this list? Both companies are on fire. Both have a telco and enterprise story. They live in wiring closets. Worth considering for the next list.




    Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:59:15 AM
    re: Light Reading's Top Ten Private Companies 1) If you want to be in the equipment business you better have the stomach for a $250M+ price tag.

    Absolutely. That's why so many chip companies are pushing ideas like ATCA ... the more homogenized the equipment gets, the cheaper it is to start a systems company (and the more business the merchant chip guys will get).

    Alternatively, the future might see more chip/software startups and fewer systems startups.
    googol_byte 12/5/2012 | 3:59:15 AM
    re: Light Reading's Top Ten Private Companies (1) Why has LR taken this relatively new approach of putting all its tables and images as separate thumbnail images and hyperlinks? It was much easier to read when the tables were found in the body of the article.

    (2) I know people use tape to seal (air) ducts, but what is "duck tape" used for?

    chip_mate 12/5/2012 | 3:59:14 AM
    re: Light Reading's Top Ten Private Companies "(2) I know people use tape to seal (air) ducts, but what is "duck tape" used for?"

    Answer:
    To Duck Seals.
    When Seals fly back from their annual Southern migration, they are fat and clumsy.
    Standing in their way when they land at their summer grounds in Canada can lead to serious injuries.
    Hence the need for Duck Tape.

    (at least that's what the LR reporter guy told me at the bar in Vegas last week, at 2am)
    Scott Raynovich 12/5/2012 | 3:59:14 AM
    re: Light Reading's Top Ten Private Companies >(2) I know people use tape to seal (air) ducts, >but what is "duck tape" used for?

    Well, believe it or not, there was considerable behind-the-scenes debate on this one. Larry's opionion weighed heavily:

    http://www.lightreading.com/do...
    Stevery 12/5/2012 | 3:59:14 AM
    re: Light Reading's Top Ten Private Companies I think the answers are quite obvious:

    (1) Why has LR taken this relatively new approach of putting all its tables and images as separate thumbnail images and hyperlinks?

    Obviously, increased page views.

    (2) I know people use tape to seal (air) ducts, but what is "duck tape" used for?

    Obviously, sealing ducks.
    OptixCal 12/5/2012 | 3:59:13 AM
    re: Light Reading's Top Ten Private Companies "Technology: Is it more than just duck tape...," Come on fellas! Do your homework! It's "DUCT" tape, not duck tape. And you guys are writers?
    trzwuip 12/5/2012 | 3:59:13 AM
    re: Light Reading's Top Ten Private Companies I thought Broadsoft was rumored to be in negotiations with Lucent last year? So, if Turin has been too quiet lately after not being acquired or making much noise... What makes you think Broadsoft will make it? Not to be a smart ass, but I would really like to know?
    Honestly 12/5/2012 | 3:59:12 AM
    re: Light Reading's Top Ten Private Companies Come on guys, there was a time when innovative technology counted for something. Riverbed is about to file S1 and Silverpeak is the hottest in Enterprise optimization while above Riverbed and Huawei is chineese army.
    Your article, but bore me.
    MorningWd 12/5/2012 | 3:59:12 AM
    re: Light Reading's Top Ten Private Companies I'm amazed at the fact that LR dumped Turin from the top 10. After all this time of handling them with kid gloves and all, what happened to the love?
    Page 1 / 2   >   >>
    HOME
    Sign In
    SEARCH
    CLOSE
    MORE
    CLOSE