Wireless IPOs Are Like Buses
So, could we be on the verge of another wave of wireless IPOs? Maybe, but I'm not convinced -- simply because you have to ask yourself which other companies have the actual need and the sheer balls to go public in these interesting times.
Aruba and Clearwire both need cash to grow and compete with the massive incumbents in their respective marketplaces. The other company that some industry types were talking about as an IPO prospect was Airgo Networks Inc. -- and they just got bought. (See Qualcomm Buys Airgo, RFMD Assets.)
There are two other obvious sectors -- to me, at least -- where startups face established competitors but play in markets that could still yield handsome rewards.
One is the mobile email market, where everyone and his dog is trying to find the magic formula to loosen BlackBerry 's BlackBerry grip. Seven Networks Inc. and Visto Corp. could be possible candidates. Like Aruba and Clearwire, they are well funded ventures with definite footprints in the marketplace. It must be pointed out, though, that Seven has already had a run at an IPO and backed off. (See Seven Ducks Float.) The other niche is WiFi security, an area where Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) increasingly make their presence felt, but a number of large startups still roam free. AirDefense Inc. , AirMagnet Inc. , and AirTight Networks Inc. are all players to take into consideration here.
If the Aruba and Clearwire floats go well there could also be the "me too" factor to take into consideration. That is, of course, a big if, given the recent history of tech IPOs.
For instance, our old friends Trapeze Networks Inc. have been pretty quiet for a tech startup of late. Unstrung analyst and all-round bon vivant, Gabriel Brown, reckons that they are growing sales fast now and may even rival Aruba in the WiFi switching market soon. I don't know this for dead certain yet, but if Trapeze is getting bigger and its old rival has a successful IPO, well, you could see how that might tempt them to follow the same path.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung