Mayan Calls a Time-Out

Optical networking startup Mayan Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: ADSP) last week mandated that about 80 employees take a four-week paid furlough while the company "takes time to evaluate" its product strategy going forward, according to Andrew White, vice president of corporate development at Mayan.

The move essentially freezes development of the company in its current form, and it's unclear whether employees will be asked back. A skeleton crew will be left on at Mayan, and development of its optical networking product, the Unifier SMX, has stopped, according to company officials. The product was designed to aggregate, groom, switch, and provision voice and data traffic over metropolitan access and transport networks.

White says that the market viability of Mayan's SMX product will be evaluated during the hiatus and that if the company feels there is still a market for the product, employees will be asked back. The product is in various customer trials at the moment, according to Mayan officials.

"We would like to recall some, if not all, of the employees," says White.

It seems unlikely that the company will continue in its original form. Sources close to the company said Mayan officials were forced to close the doors because of a high burn rate and a lack of funding to finish the product.

The company recently took the rare step of completing a reverse merger with public company Ariel Corp., which at the time was trading with a market capitalization of $18 million (see Mayan Buys Ticker Symbol). Ariel stock is now trading at 78 cents, giving the company a market value of $10 million.

At that time, the company was restructured as Mayan Networks Inc., with a new board and CEO. Esmond Goei, the founder and chairman of Mayan, and also the vice chairman of Ariel's board, became CEO of the new company, replacing Ariel CEO Dennis Schneider.

— R. Scott Raynovich, Executive Editor, Light Reading

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fk 12/4/2012 | 8:18:41 PM
re: Mayan Calls a Time-Out Bloodied and battle scarred, Mayan is sputtering with the last feeble gasps of life. This is the last stage of the death spiral. Mayan is quickly running out of options. The people who have been furloughed had best be polishing up their resum+¬s as it's unlikely there will be many callbacks in the offing.

The after-effects of overfunding in the optical arena are here. Bad news for the Mayans, but those that are left will benefit from the consolidation
jess 12/4/2012 | 8:18:30 PM
re: Mayan Calls a Time-Out Mayan is doomed to death. Executives are bunch of nuts who doesnt have any idea what the road map to success is. None of them has startup experience and doesnt have a successful excecution till date. Best they can do (or Did) is mess with Engineering talent. With TDM product one cannot architect to provide total solution to dense metro world. It is too late to realize where the major players are heading in metro space. Another startup in dead rolls.
Bill Johnson 12/4/2012 | 8:18:29 PM
re: Mayan Calls a Time-Out I am not here to agree or disagree; however, a person should learn how to properly write and speak before shredding others. Perhaps the author of "Doomed to death" is merely a disgruntled employee that was passed up at his/her last review?
jess 12/4/2012 | 8:18:23 PM
re: Mayan Calls a Time-Out Bill,
Refer to previous articles on Mayan and also the mailing list. You will know why Mayan is not successful. The essence of the post is to highlight the reason behind Mayan not becoming a successful company.

If you cannot agree/disagree, get a life
optigenie 12/4/2012 | 8:18:17 PM
re: Mayan Calls a Time-Out Mayan made a brilliant move to "furlough" its 80 employees. It gives Mayan the opportunity to determine the direction of the company with a skeleton crew without having the distraction of a large group of people around. That, coupled with some imminent turnover, will reduce expenses tremendously.

When Mayan decides what it will do, probably within 1-3 weeks, it has the opportunity to take advantage of the talent it hired by asking people back (considering they don't all quit, but I suspect almost all will). As long as Mayan doesn't take too long to decide whom to call back, they may be in luck.

It was stated in a press release that the combined companies (Mayan and Ariel) would have something like $50M after the merger, so I suspect Mayan still has a lot of money. Therefore, even if Mayan scraps its current product, it still has sufficient funds to develop a new product. Perhaps it can integrate its current product with a new product that it develops.

Granted, Mayan needs leadership, vision, good product/business development team, and outstanding marketing, but it can be done. I suspect Mayan will call back key people to move forward. Why would it want to give up after all it has already developed? It just needs to find the "right" market for its current product (hint to make sure it has a great marketing leader).

With the telecommunications industry in a lull, at least for buying equipment, it gives Mayan and other companies the time they need to research and market quality carrier class products. Realistically, Mayan hasn't done anything that has "doomed" it to complete failure.

A lot of startup companies are quiet right now. They have capital, they're developing products, and some will succeed. Rather than "slamming" the management, we should wish Mayan, and other companies in similar positions, well. We're not just talking about advancing technology, we're also talking about jobs and livlyhood.
theforce 12/4/2012 | 8:18:08 PM
re: Mayan Calls a Time-Out Sorry...Mayan is dead period!!!! Those 80 employees are scrambled to look for job.
ext88 12/4/2012 | 8:18:06 PM
re: Mayan Calls a Time-Out
I hate to differ with you, but Mayan Networks is DEAD! Period! Their product sucked from the very beginning and no one wanted to buy it. Who do you think would buy a "router" that could not do line rate ethernet and only handle 50k packet per second. Anyone who thinks that the recently furloughed employees will be asked back are crazy.


This was one of the most disorganized, poorly run organizations that I have ever experienced.
fk 12/4/2012 | 8:18:03 PM
re: Mayan Calls a Time-Out That's a pretty delusional take on the Mayan situation, IMO.

Mayan was a marketing project designed to take advantage of an anomaly on the public market which allowed, for a time, companies with partially hashed ideas to IPO or be sold at a handsome profit to the shareholders. Mayan was meant to be flipped. Their architecture doesn't support the minimum performance needed to actually get customers. The bad news is that the market has changed almost 180 degrees. Now, not only are pseudo companies whose business worth is defined by a set of powerpoint slides and a slick web site not able to "go public", but even real companies with actual business plans and working products can't go out either. We're in full backlash mode, folks. The furlough is designed to provide a cushion for management and the board of directors to devine an exit strategy that will result in at least some retention of capital for the investors (so the principals can try again.)

It could hardly be clearer that Mayan is acting out of desperation. With no customers and no real prospects, their future is so bleak that they've completed a reverse takeover (and in the process cost the acquired company half of its market cap!) and furloughed most employees. The writing is on the wall in red lipstick. How much clearer do you think that "signs" get, anyway?
optikteck 12/4/2012 | 8:17:53 PM
re: Mayan Calls a Time-Out The product only "sucked" from an IP standpoint. There is not another product on the market today that has the port density and cross-connect ability of the Unifier. It was simply poor sales and marketing and unfortunate that potential customers had filed Ch 11. (there were 4 total; 3 with PO's). So, it's obvious that you are a disgruntled employee looking to bash your former company.
optikteck 12/4/2012 | 8:17:53 PM
re: Mayan Calls a Time-Out Ever heard of Transwitch (gee Esmond started that company too) I would consider that both startup experience and a successful execution. Check your facts before you embarrass yourself.
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