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Employment

Headcount: Flack You

Iraqi Information Minister Muhammed Saeed al-Sahhaf has won the world's scorn for evasiveness. But spinmeisters in the telecom world are also skilled at creating a reality distortion field when their companies come under financial pressure and layoffs.

Being in the press biz, we marvel at their ability to keep on their smiley face and say things are peachy, while behind closed doors the company is taking the hacksaw to staff and budget. Headcount, of course, doesn't blame the flacks for their flacking; a job's a job, after all. (Hey -- in Amsterdam, even the prostitutes have a union!) We suspect, though, that even the flacks must sometimes marvel at the whoppers they're required to parrot in these anarchic times.

Anyway, enough musing on misinformation. Let's get to some hard facts, as we review some of the past week's most interesting hirings and firings:

  • Occam Networks Inc. (OTC: OCCM) employed about 102 people as of February 28, according to its most recent Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing, down from about 130 people in November 2002. Occam's new filing also says that, to date, the company's products are operating more than 20 customer networks and that the company is engaged in trials with four of the top 20 incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) in the U.S. However, the filing also notes that sales to its biggest customers -- DTC Communications, Inc., Armstrong Telephone Company, and Pan Dacom Networking AG -- accounted for about 38 percent, 25 percent, and 13 percent, respectively, of its revenues during 2002.

  • Not surprisingly, Catena Networks Inc. has officially appointed Jim Hjartarson as its permanent CEO (see Catena Names President/CEO). Hjartarson, who took the top job from Bob Machlin about a year ago, has kicked off his tenure as CEO by making some bold predictions. The company is in the process of raising another $15 million and plans to add another 1,000 employees to its payroll by 2008, according to an article in the Ottawa Business Journal. The article further states that Hjartarson revealed that Catena has shipped $5.5 million worth of its products to customers in Q1 2003 and that it expects to reach $70 million in sales next year.

  • Another startup with several 'product of the year' honors has apparently crawled under a rock and died. Aplion Networks Inc. has a dark Website, a non-working phone number, and it owes a company called LightGuide more than $600,000, according to a judgment in New Jersey Superior Court. According to its Hoover's profile, Aplion was founded by its chairman, B. Gopinath, in 1998. It was funded by Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), W.R. Hambrecht & Co., Ray Stata, founder of Analog Devices Inc. (NYSE: ADI), and others.

  • Force10 Networks Inc. VP of marketing Steve Mullaney has left that company for pastures unknown (greener ones, we hope). Calls to the company were bounced to the CEO, P.K. Dubey, who didn't respond in time for this article's publication. A PR firm called Acuitive used to help Force10 with such matters, but it is our perception that they've been dismissed.

  • Components maker Teradiant Networks Inc. laid off nine of its 55 staffers last week, according to company spokesman Gary Good. The company's VP of engineering, Jim Thomas, left the company about two weeks ago, an event that Good says is unrelated. "Our needs have changed," says Good. Teradiant raised $26 million in its first round of funding in February 2001. It's in the process of raising its second funding round and expects its investors – including Menlo Ventures and Diamond Head Partners – to chip in.

  • Promod Haque, managing partner at Norwest Venture Partners, has been appointed as chairman of the board at Veraz Networks, the company formed when ECI Telecom Ltd. (Nasdaq/NM: ECIL) combined its IP telephony company, NGTS, with NexVerse Networks (see Veraz Hires Haque as Chairman). Haque was one of the steady hands that helped the mostly failed startup ipVerse reemerge to form NexVerse Networks. Veraz closed a $30 million financing round from ECI Telecom, Argonaut Private Equity Management LLC, Norwest Venture Partners, Battery Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Levensohn Capital Management LLC (see ECI, NexVerse Become Veraz). Veraz employs about 250 people and has announced two customers – vNet Source Inc. and Atlas Telecom Romania – since its formation late last year. ECI owns 36 percent of Veraz on a fully diluted basis.

    Here's a summary of other industry appointments, disappointments, and other employment related news from the past several days: As usual, if we missed anything, send a note to [email protected]. In return, we'll insist that everything is fine and that the infidels are being dealt with appropriately.

    — Phil Harvey and Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editors, Light Reading

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    joe_average 12/5/2012 | 12:13:51 AM
    re: Headcount: Flack You Is that correct or is it off by an order of magnitude or more?

    If all the upside statements are correct:

    $15M funding
    $80M revenue for next two years @ 50% (guess) margin = $40M (assuming $10M this year)

    Total = $55M

    Divided by 1000 new employees = $55k/employee for two years. Sounds low, don't you think? Am I missing something?
    dljvjbsl 12/5/2012 | 12:13:50 AM
    re: Headcount: Flack You
    3G too expensive and offers loimited services in UK. Consumers lack interest in this technology

    http://news.independent.co.uk/...
    CMS213 12/5/2012 | 12:13:50 AM
    re: Headcount: Flack You Here's the article in the Ottawa Business Journal.

    http://www.ottawabusinessjourn...

    Not sure if it means 1000 new employees with the $15 million in funding or 1000 additional by 2008?
    wilecoyote 12/5/2012 | 12:13:50 AM
    re: Headcount: Flack You There go the Canadians again, playing with the facts and distorting reality :).

    It's 100 people, not 1000. Though these days you can hire 1000 people for what you used to pay for about 100. Sigh.

    Catena is hotter than a whore in church.

    Anyone heard from Calix?

    DSL space is getting interesting again.
    whyiswhy 12/5/2012 | 12:13:49 AM
    re: Headcount: Flack You http://www.welovetheiraqiinfor...


    EOM

    -Why
    gea 12/5/2012 | 12:13:48 AM
    re: Headcount: Flack You I keep hearing that Jedai has laid off everybody except for a secretary and a couple of VPs (and the CEO of course). Any way for LR to confirm this?
    lr_fan 12/5/2012 | 12:13:47 AM
    re: Headcount: Flack You I heard from a very reliable source that they are dead.
    wolfmanmaster 12/5/2012 | 12:13:45 AM
    re: Headcount: Flack You SA Laid off all about 100 designers.

    CEO alike and sales are looking for next round of funding while claiming having a design win from ....... (drum roll).... "HuaWei"!

    However, according to the source at HuaWei, the so-called design win is nothing but that HuaWei asked Silicon Access to design a traffic manager to HuaWei's spec (BTW, right now Silicon Access does not have any kind of traffic manger chip what so ever). And of course HuaWei won't fund a penny.
    So Silicon Access has to use this "design-win" to get some funding from somewhere to win this design-win.

    Chicken, egg...., egg, chicken.....

    Maybe some VCs will be confused enough to put some money in.
    CRC_Check 12/5/2012 | 12:13:40 AM
    re: Headcount: Flack You wolfmanmaster... with a username like that you would't be the amazing hair guy's boss?

    C
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