7:40 AM -- Here are the eight finalists for the Leading Lights Private Company of the Year award and our reasons for selecting them. In alphabetical order:
Bytemobile Inc. -- The company has gone beyond its Web and video optimization specialty and taken traffic management to a new level. Its latest product combines all the functionality of caching, load balancing, deep packet inspection (DPI), video and Web optimization, analytics, and policy control, together in one system. That means mobile operators can manage data traffic based on what's really going on in the network. The company counts some of the world's largest operators among its customers, claims a market lead in mobile video optimization, and its products are positioned to ease a major pain point for mobile operators -- namely, coping with rising video traffic on the network.
Metaswitch Networks -- As this year's repeat finalist for this category, we still like Metaswitch. The company has continued to position itself into key technology and application growth markets. For example, the company is looking to rich communications for mobile operators with its in-house developed app called Thrutu and the acquisition of messaging and presence specialist Colibria AS . It has also developed its own session border controller called Perimeta.
Overture Networks Inc. -- It may be relatively small, but the company is a big fish in the Carrier Ethernet access platform (CEAP) market, especially following its merger with Hatteras Networks Inc. in March this year. The company was ranked tops by Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Stan "Etherman" Hubbard for sales in Ethernet-over-bonded copper pair access and Ethernet-over-TDM access circuit platforms.
Picochip -- The leading supplier of chipsets for small cells and residential femtocells continously innovates as this base station market evolves to meet mobile operators' requirements for more network capacity. Given its steady growth, the company hopes to IPO in 2012.
RGB Networks Inc. -- As a player in the TV Everywhere market, the company's products deliver live and on-demand IP video to multiple screens. Strong revenue growth, a recently streamlined product portfolio and a target to go public next year are the reasons why RGB made the cut.
Ruckus Wireless Inc. -- From its Wi-Fi roots, Ruckus is looking to get deeper into mobile networks with its service gateway product, which is designed to help operators blend their Wi-Fi and cellular services. It has already landed some key mobile operator customers and it is well placed for the hot mobile data offload market.
Square Inc. -- It's not often that a tech startup has as much "wow factor" as this one. Square landed a whopping US$100 million in Series C funding in June this year. It has celebrity-status leadership from the tech industry: CEO Jack Dorsey was a founder of Twitter and the company's board members include Mary Meeker, Lawrence Summers and Vinod Khosla. And its card reader looks to be an elegantly simple way to do mobile payments.
Volubill -- As mobile networks creak under the weight of massive data usage, operators are looking to policy server vendors such as Volubill to help manage that flow of traffic. The company has landed key Tier 1 operator customers and shows solid growth.
Don't forget: Leading Lights winners will be announced at an Awards Dinner at Hudson Terrace in New York City on Nov. 8, following the first day of Light Reading's Ethernet Expo Americas 2011 event.