Startup Company Profile #6: Ellacoya Networks

Ellacoya Networks has been through its share of corporate and product restructuring since its inception in 1999. However, through the process, the Merrimack, N.H.-based company now offers a finely-tuned service control switching platform. Founded at the height of the telecom bubble, Ellacoya has raised $132 million in six funding rounds. Investors include Lightspeed Venture Partners, Atlas Venture, Flagship Ventures, Canaan Partners, and BCE (Bell Canada Enterprises) Capital. The company recapitalized in January 2003, bringing in two new investors. Of its total funds raised, $35 million have come in since the recap.

Ellacoya counts 80 full-time employees, plus contractors, with some R&D and engineering resources in India. The company's announced MSO customers include Eastlink and Shaw Communications in Canada, as well as VTR in Chile. In total Ellacoya says it has more than 125 different customers worldwide, a mix of MSOs, independent telcos, major service providers and wireless providers. Its largest single customer deployment covers over 2 million broadband subscribers.

Ellacoya's IP Service Control System is based on the e30, a flow-based IP switch with Layer 1-7 awareness. The e30 and Ellacoya's software gives broadband providers the ability to monitor, shape and control traffic on a per-application and per-subscriber basis. In a PCMM or PacketCable Release 2 environment, the e30 can serve as an application manager to enable services with dynamic QOS through policy servers and CMTSs. Ellacoya also offers a Voice Quality Reporter (VQR) module for the e30, enabling MSOs to monitor and report on VoIP quality.

Cisco jumped into the service control space by buying start-up P-Cube Inc. for $200 million in 2004. In March 2006, service control start-up Sandvine Inc. completed an IPO on the London AIM and has seen its market cap climb to over $260 million. Both bode well for Ellacoya's possibilities.

    Start-up: Ellacoya Networks
    Innovation factor: 8 (out of 10)
    Likely Acquirers: The Public Market
    Handicap: 3-1 odds on an IPO. Sandvine's IPO scored well. Why not Ellacoya next?

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