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Light Reading's Top Ten Private Companies

Ah, nothing like the smell of napalmed startups in the morning. Now, we get to cook up a Top Ten Startup list in the teeth of the telecom depression. So let’s see... Who’s the least likely to be obliterated?

It’s no easy task, yet we soldier onward. And reflective of the environment, the list has been thoroughly flushed. Yes, there are six new companies on the list – which means that six have been booted off. Unfortunately, only one has been booted into the “Liquidity Bin,” that respectable repository that means you may have actually made your investors some money (or at least not totally wiped them out). The winner? Unisphere Networks Inc., acquired in July by Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR). (See Juniper Nabs Unisphere for $740M, What to Expect From 'Junisphere' and Juniper Acquires Unisphere.)

It seemed fitting then, to replace Unisphere with another up-and-coming edge routing player, Laurel Networks Inc. Laurel’s been a fairly quiet company, but it’s been working hard behind the scenes. The product is out, the company has some customers, and it’s in a market that’s ripe for development: edge routing services. The No. 1 spot implies many expectations for the technology down the road. Laurel’s got the goods.

Moving down the list, other debutants include Polaris Networks, a metropolitan telecom switching company, as well as WaveSmith Networks Inc., which manufactures a kinder, denser ATM edge device.

We tossed in Ample Communications Inc., with its veteran leaders and practical approach to lowering network costs, as well as Velio Communications Inc., the communications chip company.

Familiar characters include Calix Networks and Atrica Inc., which, respectively, moved up and down the list a few spots.

The beleaguered twin tunable laser companies, Iolon Inc. and Agility Communications Inc., are still there. Hanging on by a thread, they survived, thanks to a rousing defense of their existence by a group of folks at the Opticon conference in San Jose, Calif., where a draft version of this list was opened to public debate.

Tropic Networks Inc. also makes a first, tentative appearance, just nipping the bottom of the list at No. 10. We expect to hear a lot more from this company in the coming months.

Unceremonious departures from the list include Équipe Communications Corp. (might still do okay, but everything hinges on one deal); Appian Communications Inc. (company’s in a tough market); Genoa Corp. (no demand for its product); Procket Networks Inc. (routing company is too schizoid); and Lightwave Microsystems Corp. (see: Obituary: Lightwave Microsystems). Current batting average: .230. That means that three of our Top Ten companies have been liquefied, while 10 have been binned. Hey, as the venture capitalists like to say: 3 outta 13 ain’t bad. Enjoy. Keep those Nasty-Grams and insider information flowing. As always, the list is dynamic, and can change at any time.

Table 1: Top 10 Private Companies
Position Name Last Position on List
1 Laurel Networks NEW!
2 Polaris Networks NEW!
3 WaveSmith Networks NEW!
4 Atrica 2
5 Ample Networks NEW!
6 Calix Networks 10
7 Velio Communications NEW!
8 Iolon 3
9 Agility Communications 6
10 Tropic Networks NEW!
LIQUIDITY BIN
Name Last Position on List
Unisphere 1
Tellium 2
Cyras Systems 6
THE RECYCLING BIN
Name Last Position on List
Appian 4
�quipe 5
Genoa 7
Procket 9
Lightwave Micro 8
OMM 1
Calient 5
Caspian 7
Luminous 9
Ellacoya 10


— The Staff, Light Reading
www.lightreading.com
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opticalfuneral 12/5/2012 | 2:42:24 AM
re: Light Reading's Top Ten Private Companies see subject
technonerd 12/5/2012 | 2:42:22 AM
re: Light Reading's Top Ten Private Companies I wonder if any of those companies makes any money, or whether they're on the list simply because they're what the VCs are trying to peddle these days.
tspoon 12/5/2012 | 12:52:58 AM
re: Light Reading's Top Ten Private Companies The light Readimng staff is great, but do not confuse quiet behavior with what you call Schizoid. When you do see what these folks are up to, I think you will appreciate your original choice of having them as a top TEN choice. Cannot comment further
verstand 12/5/2012 | 12:29:40 AM
re: Light Reading's Top Ten Private Companies I heard Dicon has been a private company for more than 16 years and doing well in this sagging economy. They are the one I know is still hiring engineers! How come it is not on the short list?
FiberGuy 12/5/2012 | 12:24:32 AM
re: Light Reading's Top Ten Private Companies verstand -

What makes you such a big proponent of Dicon (I saw your earlier post)? I have to say that I am not and have never been impressed with Dicon's technology, product breadth, or management.

FG
deer_in_the_light 12/5/2012 | 12:24:30 AM
re: Light Reading's Top Ten Private Companies Check link below

http://www.sec.gov/Archives/ed...

"In 2001, DiCon relocated its operations from leased facilities in Berkeley, California, approximately five miles south of Richmond. The Company had previously occupied approximately 93,000 square feet in Berkeley. Following the recent downturn in the telecommunications business and DiConGÇÖs sales, DiCon closed these facilities. In addition, DiCon vacated an additional 80,000 square feet of leased facilities in Richmond, California."

"At March 31, 2002, the Company was in compliance with all of the covenants except for two covenants in its fully amortizing equipment-financing loan. The lender agreed to waive the covenants through March 31, 2003, but added an additional covenant requiring the Company to maintain a minimum balance of cash and marketable securities (excluding equity securities) of at least two times the outstanding loan balance"

FiberGuy 12/5/2012 | 12:24:27 AM
re: Light Reading's Top Ten Private Companies It sounds like they are a worse position than the last time I heard abou them.
fantom 12/4/2012 | 11:50:01 PM
re: Light Reading's Top Ten Private Companies
Why are companies like Force10 and Luminous not on this list? They have consistently more revenues for last 4 quarters than companies not producing much revenue like Atrica and others. Isn't success of the product biggest indicator most likely to succeed company ?
FiberGuy 12/4/2012 | 9:37:48 PM
re: Light Reading's Top Ten Private Companies Anyone have comments on these?

- Movaz
- Photuris
- Lightconnect
- Dicon
- Chorum
- Xtera
- Celion
Yoda88us 12/4/2012 | 9:37:27 PM
re: Light Reading's Top Ten Private Companies Movaz...has sales...beats Corvis when it was private....

Photuris sounds neat, but its just getting started.

Xtera...Does the market need this?
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