White Rock Feeds on More Funding
"The first money was raised in July, close to when our cash was running out," Martin says. Since then, further courses of cash have arrived, culminating in a third-round total of $60 million, announced today (see White Rock Scores $60M).
White Rock's success in raising this money in the current climate suggests that its product -- a small Sonet add/drop multiplexer built for metropolitan networks -- targets an area where there's still a decent prospect of service providers buying equipment.
After a few setbacks, the company's OC48 (2.5 Gbit/s) product, the VLX2010, began trials with four unnamed competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) in the second week of September, Martin says. He expects the product will be ready for general availability toward the end of this month.
White Rock's OC192 (10 Gbit/s) offering, the VLX2020, won't likely begin trials until March 2002 and should begin the OSMINE certification process soon, Martin says. Telcordia Technologies Inc.'s OSMINE certification process is a necessary, time-consuming, and expensive hurdle for companies that want to sell to incumbent carriers (see Telcordia's Osmine Gold Mine).
Martin says White Rock abandoned plans to get its OC48 product OSMINE certified because of the money involved and because the company felt that incumbent carriers would be more interested in OC192 in the coming months.
Unlike its competitors, such as Metro-Optix Inc., Redback Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: RBAK), and others, White Rock is only concentrating on making a fast optical transport box, not routers or various kinds of optical services. "When the components improve, we may move up into the services layer, but not now," says Martin.
It won't be clear until sometime next year whether that bet will pay off. But with so many carriers more concerned with wringing money out of Sonet networks, White Rock may stand a chance, especially if it can compete on price with Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and other rivals.
The company has about 205 employees, a number that's held steady since June, Martin says.
Its investors include Oak Investment Partners, Mayfield Fund, Meritech Capital Partners, Hook Partners, Fremont Communications, Fremont Ventures, Investor AB (through its Investor Growth Capital subsidiary), Gulf International Bank, Cypress Semiconductor Corp. (NYSE: CY), and Pacesetter Capital Group.
The company has raised $102 million since it was founded in 1999.
— Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading