Top 25 Update: Part Deux

Having dealt with the kit fraternity (see Top 25 Update: Hardware Heroes), now it's time to update the remaining categories that comprise our Top 25 Startups list, kicking off with the Software I (applications and development) players.

And there's a fair amount of movement here, with two new entrants, service delivery platform specialist elata and mobile VPN firm NetMotion Wireless Unfortunately, two new entries means two new exits; and the victims this time around are: Air2Web and Seven Networks

Here's how the new ranking in this category shapes up.

Table 1: Unstrung's Top 5 Private Wireless Software (Apps & Dev) Firms
Position Name Previous position
1 Webraska Mobile Technologies SA 1
2 PacketVideo Corp. 5
3 Bytemobile Inc. 3
4 elata Ltd. NEW!
5 NetMotion Wireless Inc. NEW!
Recycling Bin
Air2Web Inc. 2
Seven Networks Inc. 4

Elata has impressed with its technology, relationships, and a key deal with the Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. group of operators (see Hutchison Plugs Its Java Hole and Elata Lines Up Further Deals). NetMotion Wireless, meanwhile, impressed Unstrung's research analyst Gabriel Brown while writing his Wireless Oracle on mobile VPNs recently. He cited particularly its enterprise customer base and technology, though he has slight reservations about the proprietary nature of its VPN product. However, for the time being it is the VPN player that makes the Top 5.

That leaves some other impressive VPN players bubbling under, including Columbitech AB, Ecutel Inc., and ipUnplugged AB. Another future contender identified by the eagle-eyed Brown is Finnish streaming video for mobile specialist Oplayo Oy. And when we get around to compiling a Top 10 list of bizarre company names you can be sure it'll be a contender there, too.

Of the incumbents, PacketVideo's recent deal with Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) was deemed significant enough by the Unstrung team to warrant a move up the chart (see PacketVideo Supports WM9). Webraska's recent deal with Orange SA (London/Paris: OGE) keeps it on top of the pile (see Orange Shows Faith in Webraska); while Bytemobile clings on with a recent deal with Orange UK (London: OGE) (see Bytemobile Juices Up Orange ). And it's also a contender for our ludicrous names list.

As for the two that lost out, it has been a case of increasing competition and job losses at Seven (see Seven Slashes Staff: UPDATED) and a lack of public activity at Air2Web. We're sure these two will make a return to the Top 5 at some point, especially if the cost cutting and focus on existing clients at Seven pays off.

Our Software II category (OSS, Billing, CRM) also sees two new entrants in the shape of Sepro and Tertio Service Management Solutions. Making way and falling into the Has-Been zone are Cellglide and Zandan.

Here’s our new Top 5 in this super-dooper software category:

Table 2: Unstrung's Top 5 Private Wireless Software (OSS, BSS, CRM) Firms
Position Name Previous position
1 WatchMark Corp. 1
2 Cramer Systems Ltd. 3
3 Xacct Technologies Inc. 2
4 Sepro NEW!
5 Tertio Ltd. NEW!
Recycling Bin
Zandan 4
Cellglide 5

Straight in at No. 4 ("pop pickers") is Irish rating and billing company Sepro, which has had what can only be described as a good run of form recently (see Sepro Bills Eurotel Praha, Mobiview Picks Sepro, and Vodafone Ireland Picks Sepro). Its system is also highly regarded within the billing community (don't ask how we know that…). Its major financial backer is Trinity Venture Capital.

The other newcomer, service activation software firm Tertio, has made progress with contracts from Hutchison 3G UK Ltd., H3G in Italy, and T-Mobile (UK). It is backed by Apax Partners and Advent International.

WatchMark hangs in at No. 1 courtesy of further GPRS expansion work from Cingular Wireless and some interesting outsourcing work from larger vendors that simply don't have the capacity to deliver homegrown systems to their customers any more.

Sneaking up one spot to No. 2 is Cramer Systems, which is highly regarded by its peers and the carriers in what looks to be one of the less entertaining areas of the market -- inventory management (pass the Jack Daniels, matron!). It recently added to its client list with a contact win in the U.K. (see Cramer Helps Keep UK Secure) and one in Norway (see Cramer Wins Again in 3G). Hell, these guys need to know where their bits and bobs are, after all!

Xacct Technologies slips one place, as it appears to have potential contracts in the pipeline, but none have come to anything concrete as yet.

The recycling bin now holds Cellglide and Zandan. Whereas other categories have seen firms demoted almost by default, and with definite chances of reentry at a later date, it's hard to see that happening here. Show us the money, or do something really interesting. Anything!

The final installment of Top 25 updating (Part III: Freddie Returns) will accompany the full shakeup of the Top 25 list. As my colleagues work on the new Unstrung cocktail (a heady concoction that; in its beta version, we are calling it simply Rocket Fuel -- come on Dan, be generous with the Mescal!), I shall prepare the spreadsheet. Who knows what the end result will be?

— Ray Le Maistre, European Editor, Unstrung

Editor's Note: Light Reading is not affiliated with Oracle Corporation.
shayomc 12/4/2012 | 9:34:45 PM
re: Top 25 Update: Part Deux All these guys do is cut biz dev deals and spend money. Show me the revenue?? The Microsoft deal is not revenue generating. How much VC cash does it have left to burn? How soon will MPEG-4 be a real money spinner on mobile handsets? Wouldn't give these guys a snow-ball's chance in hell.

How much revenue has Webraska generated lately?? Not a whole lot. Kivera would give these guys more than a run for their money.

eLata will go the way of 4thPass and Ellipsus and be acquired before long -- if its lucky.
joset01 12/4/2012 | 9:34:18 PM
re: Top 25 Update: Part Deux Okay, who do you suggest instead? Suggest away, we'll check them out....

[email protected]
shayomc 12/4/2012 | 9:34:12 PM
re: Top 25 Update: Part Deux Its tough to come up with 5 sure fire winners...

Inphomatch would have to make the list. The company has real revenue generating deals with a bunch of companies. It provides the sort of infrastructure that Logica and CMG would seek to sell to carriers on an outsourced basis.

Similarly Mobileway is going good guns but it is more of a services network play so it may not fall under the heading Apps/Dev environments. The company has a real revenue sharing deal with the MSN part of Microsoft.

Bytemobile I do like -- these guys are doing well.

Kivera with its AT&T deal and deals with major vehicle OEMs has gotta get the nod.

Another in the LBS sector is CPS -- E-OTD is emerging as a preferred solution for GSM carrriers.

Its hard to pick one out in the multi-media sector. Aplix Corp in Japan is on a whole host of mobile handsets in that market and has a couple of deals in the works over here. These guys are more client tech/device focused and provide a J2ME environment.

Action Engine has some deals sown up with major carriers. Its a bit too focused on Windows CE, but its got a good basis for further expansion.

elata is doing OK, Pixo is in the same space and has some carrier deals through a complex arrangement with HP and End2End. Its hard to choose among these guys.

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