Valo Vows Infinite Access

George Hawley, CEO of startup Valo Inc., spent twenty years as a "Bellhead" before moving into the telecom fast lane. As far as he's concerned, it was time well spent.

"I spent 15 years trying to figure out the ultimate access system," he says. Now he's developing it. "When this hits, everything else will be obsolete," he asserts.

Hawley isn't moving much beyond hyperbole at present. He says the new box, designed for the "last mile" of the carrier network, will feature "all kinds" of access, "not the least of which will be optical networking."

Hawley's claims for do-all access echo those of other startups, such as Iamba Networks Inc. Like Valo, Iamba isn't restricting itself to a single access approach; it says it's working on gear that supports a variety of passive and active connections, including point-to-point Ethernet, Sonet/SDH, and PON (passive optical networking) on one multiservice access platform (see PON at a Crossroads).

Hawley's approach sounds similar. "Our goal is to be agnostic to specific facility types," Hawley says. "We plan a system that never runs out of bandwidth. We'll offer a system that will never reach a limit in capacity." He's also clear on the need for easy upgradeability for a remote access system, hinting that software may play a key role.

After a year of planning, he and his team have taken a solid step toward making their dream a reality. In February, Valo (pronounced VAH'lo, after the Finnish word for "light"), scored over $10 million from several investors, including San Francisco's JP Morgan Partners and InterWest Partners. Hawley hopes to have product ready next year. The company has 40 employees and is based in Petaluma, Calif.

This isn't Hawley's first foray into startup-land. After spending twenty years in the digital loop transmission divisions of Bell Telephone Labs and Bellcore, he joined digital loop carrier maker Optilink Corp. in 1987 as its tenth employee. In 1995, he cofounded Diamond Lane Communications, a maker of ATM digital subscriber line access multiplexers (DSLAMs) that was bought by Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) for $125 million in cash in 1999. Hawley stayed on until 2000 as CTO of Nokia’s Broadband Systems Division.

Hawley is also chairman of the board of Gluon Networks Inc., which is making next-generation, packet-oriented central offices switches. He's on the board of Metro-Optix Inc., which makes a multiservice provisioning platform. And until recently, he was on the board of loop carrier gear maker Occam Networks Inc., but he quit when the company decided to merge with Accelerated Networks Inc. (see Accelerated, Occam Near Merger).

"I told them they didn't need an old startup guy like me any more," Hawley, 65, quips.

Valo's executive team also includes Bruce Bowie, VP of engineering and operations, formerly of Diamond Lane and Nokia; Ram Rao, VP of business development, formerly of Next Level Communications (Nasdaq: NXTV) and Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA); and Soren Pedersen, formerly of Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Fibex Systems (a digital loop carrier vendor bought by Cisco in 1999}, and GN Nettest.

— Mary Jander, Senior Editor, Light Reading
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Litewave 12/4/2012 | 10:25:03 PM
re: Valo Vows Infinite Access AnyMedia...UniversalEdge...<crash &#38;="" burn=""></crash>
rbkoontz 12/4/2012 | 10:25:05 PM
re: Valo Vows Infinite Access LR - how about some substance here? This article lacks the usual insight and controversy.

Please check the track record of the self-proclaimed Dr. Loop:

Optilink - failed to make it, sold to DSC for a bargain in order to penetrate RBOCs. Product was good, DSC got a steal, but still couldn't make money selling to RBOCs so they sold out to Alcatel.

Diamond Lane - failed to make it, sold to Nokia for a bargain. Product was late and never competitive. Acquisition has been a failure unless you could 20% margin on small business in China a success. Still no US business.

Gluon - got together with old friends to found a CLEC class 5 switch company. Ouch. Still born.

Valo - please see previous...

It seems Hawley has developed a case of WuFu-itis.
metropolis 12/4/2012 | 10:25:48 PM
re: Valo Vows Infinite Access the only thing "ultimate" in this world is Jack's Ultimate Cheeseburger!
uuallan 12/4/2012 | 10:25:57 PM
re: Valo Vows Infinite Access The other question is: Even if they can make it, who is going to buy it? I know who Valo thinks will buy it, but those companies don't buy from startups.

Unless this is another startup hoping to get bought out by a larger company...
Mary Jander 12/4/2012 | 10:26:02 PM
re: Valo Vows Infinite Access Fixed this. Thanks for the heads up!
Mary Jander 12/4/2012 | 10:26:02 PM
re: Valo Vows Infinite Access Fixed this. Thanks for the heads up!
JohnMosesBrowning 12/4/2012 | 10:26:03 PM
re: Valo Vows Infinite Access <you all="" and="" be="" believe="" can="" do="" don't="" done,="" guys="" have="" if="" is="" it="" it.="" then="" these="" to="" will="" witness="" you="">

And how much did they pay you to drink that kool-aid???</you>
hemmingway1 12/4/2012 | 10:26:06 PM
re: Valo Vows Infinite Access From the article:

'...the ultimate access system," he says.'


"...the new box, designed for the "last mile" of the carrier network..."

Seriously funny.

Every six months, newly repackaged "swiss army knife" products are contemplated by some newly-promoted manager (despite being rejected several times previously) in all areas of communications and networking. They never attain the performance or capabilities of dedicated product, and they always cost more because of all the unused baggage as the multi-role product spends its life in a fixed-function role.

About the only place where a swiss army knife product will stand a chance of being a competitive offering compared to fixed function products is when an individual user/customer actually needs ALL the blades, e.g. in a fixed/mobile wireless combo application. The mobility factor, coupled with the worldwide chaos in the wireless standards arena, means all the blades of the knife might actually get used by a given product, during actual operation for a single customer. And yes, there are several of these projects going on at various companies.

jamesbond 12/4/2012 | 10:26:08 PM
re: Valo Vows Infinite Access Doesn't this sound like Dr. Caspian (i.e. roberts)
hope it doesn't go the same route.
Mr. Right 12/4/2012 | 10:26:08 PM
re: Valo Vows Infinite Access and my daddy can beat up your daddy :-)
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