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Optical/IP

Is BTI Heading for an IPO?

Optical transport vendor BTI Systems Inc. has hinted that it might be in the run-up to an IPO with the appointment of a new CFO with public listing experience.

The Canadian firm has named Ken Taylor, onetime finance executive for Newbridge Networks, as its new finance chief. Taylor, who is described by BTI as having "25 years of experience in finance, operations and public offerings," most recently served as CFO for IP video surveillance system vendor March Networks. He follows former CFO Peter Allen, who remains with BTI as corporate treasurer.

As ever, though, privately-held BTI is not committing itself. A company spokesman told Light Reading Monday only that "all are options are open in the future regarding an IPO," but that there is nothing to discuss for now.

News of the appointment came as BTI, which earlier this year raised another $10 million from its VC backers, boasted of a fruitful first half of 2013, citing new customer wins and explosive revenue growth. (See BTI Systems Boasts Growth and BTI Raises Cash, Embraces SDN.)

The vendor has had particular success in Asia/Pacific of late, citing regional deployments with data center giant Equinix, Indonesia's Moratel and Cambodia's S.I Net. (See BTI Systems Wins Indonesia Deal and BTI Systems Deployed in Cambodia.)

The company didn't, though, reveal any actual revenue numbers, though back-of-the-envelope calculations by the Light Reading team (well, OK, two of us) suggest that its annual run rate should be around or above the $100 million mark by now, especially as it is now boasting more than 380 customers.

And, of course, we should also note that BTI hasn't missed out on the rush to software-defined networking (SDN), having announced its "SDN-enabled" Intelligent Cloud Connect platform, specifically targeted at the data center interconnection market, in recent months.

Why this matters:
This could be a big year for BTI. Taylor's hiring is notable not just because of his experience with Canadian networking legend Newbridge, which he helped sell to Alcatel back in 2000, but also because he claims IPO experience.

And his appointment comes as BTI shows continued market momentum – the vendor's ongoing customer successes and growth certainly hint at the kind of further revenue potential and corporate stability that beg for an IPO, especially in a market where at least similar vendor, Cyan Inc., has gone down the public listing route recently. (See Cyan's Not Blue Over NYSE Debut.)

Key to BTI's ongoing momentum is its success with what it calls "large content [providers]," which we're sure refers to Google. That's a great name to have on the reference list and one that helps to attract other potential customers. (See Is Google Fueling BTI's Growth?)

BTI's progress shows that even smaller vendors with focused strategies -- BTI's being data center interconnection -- can find real market opportunities in the optical transport space. That progress could prove attractive to networking investors when the time comes.



— Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading

DOShea 8/5/2013 | 7:02:54 PM
re: Is BTI Heading for an IPO? "intra-day high" that is...
DOShea 8/5/2013 | 6:55:29 PM
re: Is BTI Heading for an IPO? Worth noting: Cyan's IPO in May opened at $10.05, below its $11 pricing. It was at an intra-day $11.29 earlier this afternoon.
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