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Optical/IP

Maple Continues to Shed

Optical switch startup Maple Optical Systems laid off more than a third of its staff yesterday in an effort to cut costs.

“We have plenty of cash in the bank,” says Atul Kapadia, Maple's president and CEO. “But we believe this is the right way to manage our business right now. It will not impact our development, and we'll continue to stay on target with our ship date.”

The company says that 60 people out of 155 were let go. The downsizing was done primarily in administrative areas among workers who were not directly connected to revenue growth, says Kapadia.

Sources close to the company say the move was brought on by a lack of customer traction. One former employee says the company only had one carrier interested in its box: British Telecom (BT) (NYSE: BTY). The source claims talks between BT and Maple have recently shut down, and, as a result, the company decided to lay off much of its staff to conserve what little cash is left.

Kapadia denies this. While refusing to give details, he says the company is still talking to at least five potential customers. He also says he expects lab trials to begin soon, and he insists the company has plenty of cash on hand and the new layoffs are more of a precautionary measure than something done out of necessity.

Like many high-profile optical startups, Maple's record is a series of ups and downs. In August 2001, the company raised $40 million, bringing its total funding to $100 million (see Maple Nabs New Funding). Shortly after that round closed, the company laid off roughly 12 percent of its workforce and canned development of its all-optical switch (see Maple Turns Over a New Leaf). The company has since remained focused on the development of its Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) core switch, the ML3200.

But times are tough for pure MPLS switches, as they are for most next-generation technologies. Other companies developing similar gear, such as Tenor Networks Inc. and Mahi Networks Inc., have also fallen on hard times. The product landscape is muddied further by the introduction of MPLS on core routers from companies like Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR).

As for the future, Kapadia admits that times are tough now, but he says that Maple will weather the storm. Could an acquisition be a good exit strategy? "Maybe," he says.

— Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editor, Light Reading
http://www.lightreading.com
new_light 12/4/2012 | 10:53:17 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed Probably.
skeptic 12/4/2012 | 10:53:19 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed Phanindra Jujjavarapu brings to Maple the commitment of a founder and the experience of a leading technology developer. Prior to founding Maple, Phani was Director of Systems Software at Lucent/Ascend Communications from 1995 to 1999. He was responsible for the IP and Routing protocols of the Ascend products. Prior to that position, he played a key role in defining and standardizing the OSPF routing architecture at Cisco Systems from 1989 to 1994. Phani has also been on the technical staff at Excelan, where he implemented TCP/IP, ARP, RIP protocols.
--------------------------------

Unfortunatly all of what you mention raises
serious red flags with regard to this person.
Being involved in OSPF at cisco during those
years is not a positive. And being responsible
for IP routing protocols at ascend (rather than
components of ascend like cascade) isn't anything
to brag about either.



speedy1 12/4/2012 | 10:53:20 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed Phanindra Jujjavarapu brings to Maple the commitment of a founder ...

Prior to that position, he played a key role in defining and standardizing the OSPF routing architecture at Cisco Systems from 1989 to 1994.

================================================

I heard at one point that Cisco's original OSPF
software was so poorly written, it had to be
re-coded from scratch (by Derek Yeung, I thought).

Was this PJ guy the original developer whose code
they got rid of?

-speedy1
docsisdude 12/4/2012 | 10:53:23 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed From website. Personally, I thought Phani was a good guy, but i only met him a few times.


Phanindra Jujjavarapu brings to Maple the commitment of a founder and the experience of a leading technology developer. Prior to founding Maple, Phani was Director of Systems Software at Lucent/Ascend Communications from 1995 to 1999. He was responsible for the IP and Routing protocols of the Ascend products. Prior to that position, he played a key role in defining and standardizing the OSPF routing architecture at Cisco Systems from 1989 to 1994. Phani has also been on the technical staff at Excelan, where he implemented TCP/IP, ARP, RIP protocols.

Phani obtained his BachelorGÇÖs degree in Mechanical Engineering in India and his Masters in Computer Science from Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia
BigHead 12/4/2012 | 10:53:26 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed Who exactly are you referring to ??

As far as I know John Moy wrote most if not
all of the RFCs on the subject of OSPF.


----------------
opticguy said:
I am not sure about the father of OSPF. The grand father of ospf is the VP of SW.
laserbrain 12/4/2012 | 10:53:27 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed ---------------
Folks, the brain of every system resides in the chips that startups design and build. All the intellectual property of startups are in the chips.
--------------

laughable. that's like saying the only value in a car is the fuel injector.
ASICs move data, software creates systems. chip guys leading systems companies never seem to get this and it is deadly. People buy the whole system, right down to the leather interior and the dashboard layout.
vendor 12/4/2012 | 10:53:28 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed Us headhunters keep these things stored for years

Sandip Chattopadhya

Sandip was Director of the Network Process Division at Lucent Technologies. He also founded
and was CEO of Corecom Systems LLCGÇöthe first company to develop Gigabit Ethernet MAC. Sandip has also served as Chief Technologist at Ascom AG Switzerland where he architected ATM chip sets. Prior to that, he held senior technologist positions at Chipcom/3Com and developed industryGÇÖs first non-blocking 10/100 Ethernet switch.
opticguy 12/4/2012 | 10:53:29 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed I am not sure about the father of OSPF. The grand father of ospf is the VP of SW.
new_light 12/4/2012 | 10:53:29 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed IMHO he was the only techically competent member of the executive staff. The VP of HW walked around beating his chest like a retarded gorilla.
ye_ole_hacker 12/4/2012 | 10:53:31 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed The CTO was Sandip Chattopadhya
OneMoreByte 12/4/2012 | 10:53:33 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed > All the intellectual property of startups are
> in the chips.

Bullcrap. Any company which builds an IP router or layer 2 interworking box has the majority of its IP in software, not hardware. Also, there is a wide selection of off-the-shelf silicon available to build such boxes, so the importance of making all your own chips has diminished.
rjmcmahon 12/4/2012 | 10:53:36 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed People who are saying that chip folks do not matter must be working in McDonalds or Walmart.
_________________

Since they are not here to defend themselves:

McDonalds has 346,000 employees providing $15B in annual revenue and net income of $1.6B. The market believes their worth $36B.

Walmart has 1.24M employees providing $220B in annual revnue with net income of %6.67B. The market believes their worth $267B.

Personally, I couldn't care less if they understand ASICs or not. The good news is they seem to know how to run a business.
SiO2 12/4/2012 | 10:53:36 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed painkiller writes:

> Amber was acquired for their ASIC only.
> That had planned to throw away the box.

sort of off-topic, but this isn't precisely
true. the shelf isn't much use to NOK
(which needs a high-density DS-3 aggregator
like a hole in the head), but they purchased
amber for their next-gen GGSN. that implies
that the amber resilient routing protocols
are also of use to NOK.

now, the question of why NOK overpaid by
a factor of 2 to 3 is probably worthy of
debate. perhaps the NOK M&A guru thought
that the price was in markkas rather than
USD?

SiO2


BigHead 12/4/2012 | 10:53:36 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed Who is the father of OSPF that you are
referring to ? If you are talking about
John Moy he's at Sycamore.

But yeah who is this ex-CTO at Maple that
everyone is talking about ?


---------
Who was there ex CTO?
Is the OSPF father still working at Mapple?
---------

painkiller 12/4/2012 | 10:53:37 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed
Folks, the brain of every system resides in the chips that startups design and build. All the intellectual property of startups are in the chips. People who are saying that chip folks do not matter must be working in McDonalds or Walmart . Amber was acquired for their ASIC only. That had planned to throw away the box.

That's why the chip CTO is so important.
sntwk 12/4/2012 | 10:53:38 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed Who was there ex CTO?
Is the OSPF father still working at Mapple?
This company is bound to fail because they have ex-bay networks team who never got anything into any one's network , got bought by NT and brought down nortel as well.
Is the software director still there or fired too.
optomania 12/4/2012 | 10:53:42 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed Cyras was one bloody disaster. The founders kicked out a good CEO. They hawked the company to Ciena for $2+B, Ciena shipped almost nothing. You are right, if this Cyras CEO was so hot, why did no one from good old Sand Hill Road fund him for Redwave. If Redwave was so bad, why did this genius CEO accept the job? My cubemate worked at Fiberlane for a short time and said that at best this genius CEO who likes to associate his name with everything successful is a second line engineering manager. He claims he founded Cerent, if so why did he also go and start Cyras at the same time? Success by association? My neighbor was one of the ASIC engineers laid off at Maple last week and said he did not know the company had a CTO. He also said the new CEO is a young mate but focused and has good leadership skills. It seems the founders are also cooperating with him to get the company moving in the right direction.
spin_this 12/4/2012 | 10:53:46 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed From my dealings with these folks, here is an assessment:

?ex-ceo? ? technically not proficient, not too much tact either. Not a loss for them.

cto ? very bright fellow, asic guy with not too much knowledge on the networking side though. so his departure is probably not a loss.

hw-vp (current, vp of something else then) ? so-so technically: lots of buzzwords but not much breadth of knowledge. From the grape vine I have heard that he sees himself as some genius who just steps in the lab for half hour to fix a very complicated problem on which the designer has worked for days. I personally think that delusions of grandeur are funny.

sw-vp (current, coo then) ? Pretty low knowledge of carrier class network inner-workings, some knowledge of routing though. Another grape vine tells me that everything in the company goes through him. Also, it seems that he likes to command troops directly, thus creating confusion, as he overrides orders of direct managers. This might explain why the mid management was considered redundant and eliminated.

They had some brighter cookies way back when (the vp of asics and the vp of optics guy ? these two were sharp and knowledgeable) but that is ancient history as they have left.

There seems to have been some disconnect between the two main protagonists too, as the software looked like they where trying to do a juniper m160/ cisco 12000, but with no carrier features, while the hw looked like, but was not, an atm switch, basically mimicking the backgrounds of the two. I was miffed about where they were trying to position the beast, as it looked like it was in no man?s land. Maybe they got their act together since then and are in better shape now.
optimight2002 12/4/2012 | 10:53:47 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed You are right. Even alleged veterans of this industry are not cutting it. One of my friends worked at Redwave and they hired a CEO Alnoor Shivji, who tried to pass himself as a CEO. He kept promising the company that financing was coming soon and he delivered jack. He sold Cyras to Ciena that did not ship any product and is looked upon as a terrible acquisition - bad move Raza, hiring this guy who has no credibility. Their new CEO could not do anything to turn this around and Redwave is toast. If this veteran could not turn this around the spade at Maple has no chance.
opti_hype 12/4/2012 | 10:53:47 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed Could not have said it better. From what I recall the new "CEO" was a support guy at Sun before getting his MBA 3 or 4 years back. So much for a turnaround candidate.
Harley 12/4/2012 | 10:53:48 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed These people need to read Doug Green's article on LightReading. Going into survival mode is sort of like the "prevent defense" in football - it prevents you from winning!

I have been around the Product Management block with a few different companies, most recently with an East Coast startup. Most of these companies are founded by engineers that have no idea about business. A lot of them are folks from Bell Labs, where research isn't even "applied research" - that is, it's research for research sake, which will never materialize into a real product. I was with a company that didn't "believe" in Product Management, and it's probably a good reason they failed.

Understand that companies are in business to make money. In telco, you can make money by either a) making your customer money or b) saving your customer money. It's that simple.

Futher, the concept of introducing revolutionary products is a sham. Revolutions occur rarely, perhaps every 20+ years. Startups that tout this will undooubtedly fail, since a) the cost involved with creating a revolutionary product is astronomical (therefore the price will be as well) and b) the disnterest on the part of customers to take a chance on such products.

The key is to be EVOLUTIONARY. Build a better mouse trap, if you will. If traditional core switches just switch wavelengths, then one that addresses grooming. Better yet, if you can build a product that leverages existing infrastructure, you're golden. That's why the Cerent product was a success. Simple, cheap, and leveraged existing SONET infrastructure - this product was a no-brainer.

My advice to all these johnny come latelys - GET A CLUE!!!!!
bozon 12/4/2012 | 10:53:49 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed It's funny how you can spot postings from insiders of a company. Your CEO, CTO, CFO (which was just hired at the end of last year - http://www.lightreading.com/do... together with middle level mgmt are booted out and that is not an issue? Hmmm....

This begs the question: what where these people doing there in the first place?

On the ones that are at the helm, I've met the vp-of-software and the vp-of-hardware. IMO they are technically weak and some of the claims that they make on their qualifications are definitely ludicrous. However, this is typical for an industry where the difference between claims and reality is as large as the space between stars and where everybody is the "father" of something. Funny though, no mothers.

So I guess maple is just another sad case of hype with no substance whose fate will be determined by the existence of greater fools, which might buy them out.





Cyras Forever 12/4/2012 | 10:53:49 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed My view - this young guy from Raza will not be the savior.

He has never held a senior managerial position at a telco-related company, is unknown amongst service provider leadership, and I cannot imagine the remaining employees feel nice and confident under his leadership. Moreover, the issues and milestones that Maple faces would make any non-seasoned leader wet their pants in despair.

If Raza were going to try to breathe life into such a company, he'd bring in someone who has actually done something noteable in this sector, not some guy who did junior-level things before his MBA and has been floating within the VC world since finishing Stanford. No offense intended, but let's call a spade a spade.
optimight2002 12/4/2012 | 10:53:51 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed Chip CTO damaged the company, his leaving will be a nonfactor. New CEO comes in, cuts staff to stretch cash, takes control and announces the layoff (few companies do). Smart guy taking control, only chance in hell to turn this rudderless ship around. The real question is will the ego maniac founders listen. We had this problem at my company. The founders would not listen to the new CEO and undermined him. A friend who did marketing for amber saw him in action and said he is smart and has potential but that may not be enough for this situation.
light-headed 12/4/2012 | 10:53:51 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed "I thought that their CTO was the only person who knew anything about networking and carrier networks."

uuuuuuuuuuhhhhhh... he was a chip guy... no experience or knowledge about carrier networks... and apparently not much knowledge about the product either... why would one genius hang out with a pack of fools... remember you are defined by the company you keep. CTO leaving is a non-factor...
painkiller 12/4/2012 | 10:53:51 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed
I heard this CTO has done successful startups before. Why did he fail this time ? Maybe the other founders were incompetent. Maybe because they brought in Nortel jokers.

This maybe a great lesson for VCs. Check out the management team before putting your millions. I guess Atiq Raza is a rookie in the VC business. Such huge losses should teach him great lessons in venture investing.
chris_nolan 12/4/2012 | 10:53:51 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed

I remember helping these guys out during their product definition stage. Their CTO came across as one of the brightest and most sincere people I have ever met. The other founders appeared goofy. One kept on claiming he was the "father of routing". Another claimed that he had invented ATM during one of his vacations. The marketing guy kept on vouching to these claims, which iritated me.

I knew right then that this was a team formed to fail. Time has shown that.
glb 12/4/2012 | 10:53:52 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed "The company says that 60 people out of 155 were let go. The downsizing was done primarily in administrative areas among workers who were not directly connected to revenue growth, says Kapadia"

If truly 60 of the 155 were administrative, then they were doomed from the start, with never any chance of survival. I can't imagine more than about 5 administrative types as being necessary for a company of 155 people! One HR person, one IT person, and three or so clerical, accounting,and purchasing types should have been enough for a ~150 person startup that had its head on right!

Stick a fork in 'em. They're done! No Springtime Leaves are budding for Maple! No doubt the "syrup" has already been tapped, and the money is already syphoned into buckets for the officers.
henry_wu73 12/4/2012 | 10:53:53 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed
I do not understand how a high tech company can survive without their main brain behind the product.

I hear that their product was totally conceptualized by their CTO. They may go the way of other loser startups.
jenny_pardes 12/4/2012 | 10:53:53 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed
I was involved with Maple in one of their founding rounds. I thought that their CTO was the only person who knew anything about networking and carrier networks.

Their other founders were too self important and their CEO appeared totally ignorant.

I hope they know what product they are building without their CTO.
sherman_douglas 12/4/2012 | 10:53:53 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed
As an ex-employee I know that the founders always fought for power and one of them constantly sucked up to Raza. Nobody cared for the CTOs opinion.

The CTO was the only person who was level headed and reasonable.

internetspeed 12/4/2012 | 10:53:54 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed
Does anyone know why the Maple CTO left ?
I heard he was the main founder. Did he not
get along with the Raza folks ?

I don't think the company has a chance without
the CTO.
lite guide 12/4/2012 | 10:53:56 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed 60 administrative types were let go? How many administrators does a company with 155 employees really need anyway? Are the executives running these companies ex-politicians or what? I have never seen so many spin doctors at work!

On a different note, has anyone heard news about Photuris? They have been in stealth mode for quite a while.
marete 12/4/2012 | 10:53:56 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed
Any of you folks hear how Gotham Networks is doing nowadays?
ye_ole_hacker 12/4/2012 | 10:53:57 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed Yep...

Maple = 0xDEADBEEF
light-headed 12/4/2012 | 10:53:58 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed the downward spiral truly began the day they were founded... ;-)
ye_ole_hacker 12/4/2012 | 10:53:58 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed The download spiral started a long time ago. They couldn't get the job done with 150 folks let alone 90 now. They have even re-done their web-site, a fresh start perhaps? I doubt it. This place is a real mess: hardware doesn't work together, management team has no clue, no customers (lost Quest), and running out of money. Rumor has it the Director of Hardware, Director Software, VP of HR, and a lot of engineering folks were let go. They should have shown the new Hardware VP and founder the door.
light-headed 12/4/2012 | 10:53:58 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed Maple = dead
Maple founders = garbage
Maple executives/VCs = liars
Nuetrino 12/4/2012 | 10:53:58 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed It was just a matter of time. I thought (former) CEO Bill Joll had a lot if credibility and good background for this type of company. There were a few other Bozo's on the exec team that made no sense at all.

IMHO the window for this type of product never opened and the next wave of innovation will start to hit the streets late this year when (hopefully) carriers have some cash for capex.

Raza, Khosla etc - these are not happy people!
lightcreeping 12/4/2012 | 10:54:03 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed 60 people doing administrative and non-revenue generating related work? Sounds kinda shifty - no? They're hanging on by their toenails.
the_reality 12/4/2012 | 10:54:08 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed I have seen this style of Atiq Raza functioning.

In the companies which Raza foundaries has funded, Atiq sits as a chairman.

He along with some other business Development person will be on the board.

When ever he gets pissed with the way things are happening, he puts one of his men whom he wants to remove from his company as its CEO.


Everyone knows that Maple is not survive, and
Atiq gets two things done at same time, removing Atul as maple goes down.

He did the same thing at RedWave Networks and reality Andrew Fine is gone from Redwave and Raza.

So Atul, beware your time has come, search for another oppurtunity or you will go as Andrew Fine went........



new_light 12/4/2012 | 10:54:11 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed The CTO should have his title changed to CSD (Chief Spin Doctor). They laid off mostly engneering personel, including the Director of Software Engneering, VP of Hardware Engineering and the Director of Human Resources. Everyone left is scrambling like hell to get out of there.
Their ASICs still aren't working and rumour has it the only people that will be attending the demo are the ones presenting it.
harvey_mudds_mumma 12/4/2012 | 10:54:12 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed "Tenor more or less invented the Core MPLS switch category..." Scott Clavenna

That's life Cisco putting on its homepage "Some people think we had something to do with the success of the router"

Damn with faint praise!
startup123 12/4/2012 | 10:54:12 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed This company started as Maple networks, during the dwdm boom, changed it name to Maple optical systems. After the dwdm reality, fired all optical guys, and canned optical switch.

Now the CEO, CFO, CTO all are gone or fired (what is the difference) and with 90 people, the morale will be suffer. Looks like they are following the leader in MPLS swith "MAHI Networks" Fired CEO cut people.

Great prospects. With this kind of legacy behind the company, the working morale and quality of the development will be shitty. As soon as the economy picks up "it will be deserted".

God bless the new ceo, and whoever the poor company he is trying to sell it to. You know there are some stupid European system companies might still buy, these kind of junk companies.

Does "Zaffaire ring a bell".
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