Channel Partners

November 1, 2000

11 Min Read
Cool New Companies

Posted: 11/2000

Cool New Companies
Industry Startups Worth Watching

Sometimes that single word expresses all you feel when a new company
describes what it is doing, shows its products or releases the names of industry
giants who have come aboard. When competition is great, as it is in the
telecommunications industry, it is difficult for startups to survive in this
dog-eat-dog business.

And even then, a company with a new, innovative idea that helps meet consumer
demands from the industry likely will be acquired or will enter a strategic
partnership with a carrier or manufacturer that provides the equipment needed to
make it all work.

Still, in a dynamic, fluid industry, in which it seems exciting innovations
are introduced daily, the realities of survival remain afterthoughts to many
companies that are placing their stamps on the telecom stage.

We call these Cool New Companies. The toughest question we asked in
assembling the following profiles was: what constitutes "new?" If the
company is three years old, is it still new? For our purposes, we decided to
stay within a year’s time (give or take a month or two). Even so, we are sure
there are others out there, which may not yet be media savvy, that could have
been included. Likewise, we may have stretched ourselves a bit to include a
company that may not actually fall within the time period because we believe
what the company is doing is cool. This particular list was compiled by the
PHONE+ staff, with help and suggestions from some industry analysts and some
companies who alerted us to why they should be included.

Cool New Company:

abridean (

Leader of the Pack: Sean Sears

The Pack: 52

The Mission: To help ASPs provision the software applications they are
hosting in data centers and manage their business relationship with their
customer, which will simplify an otherwise complex process.

Proof Is in the Success: Introduction in July of the abridean Suite
which includes: The ability to provision applications to manage and bill for
parts of an application its customers want; easy-to-use administration tools for
the ASPs support personnel; end-user self-administration tools that allow
business customers to order or modify their own services; and usage metering and
bill collection for all services.

Cool New Company:

American Fiber Systems Inc. (

Leader of the Pack: David G. Rusin

The Pack: 17

The Mission: To become the metromedia fiber network of medium-sized
cities by bringing them the dark-fiber infrastructure that provides access to
the best communications technology available, and to eliminate last-mile

Proof Is in the Success: Attracted the attention, venture capital and
support from Lucent Venture Partners.

Cool New Company:

Atrica Inc. (

Leader of the Pack: Avinoam Rubinstain

The Pack: 75

The Mission: To deliver the most cost-effective, high performance
optical Ethernet platforms to service providers who are building next-generation
metro networks.

Proof Is in the Success: Launched as an independent company on Sept.
18, after graduating from 3Com Corp.’s (
directed start-up program. The two had worked together in the development of
Ethernet, but Atrica believes it is ready to take the next step by making
Ethernet the foundation for the metro network. It closed its first round of
financing with $16 million from Accel Partners (
and Benchmark Capital (,
and from global investors including France Telecom (

Cool New Company:

buyersonline (

Leader of the Pack: Theodore Stern

The Pack: 90

The Mission: To deliver the highest quality essential products and
services at the lowest possible price; to perform customer care at a level that
exceeds member expectations; and to provide members an opportunity to reduce the
cost of goods and services.

Proof Is in the Success: First round of national television
advertising launched Aug. 19, featuring Della Reese, Marie Osmond and Dick

Cool New Company:

BuyTelco Inc. (

Leaders of the Pack: Steven A. McKean, David S. McKean and Kurt Scott

The Pack: 18

The Mission: Provide services via an Internet business-to-business
portal for small businesses, system integrators and value-added resellers (VARs)
to learn, research, provision and manage telecommunications. Also to provide
tools to help small businesses select bundled offerings from long distance to

Proof Is in the Sucess: Launched its Partner Place program (Sept. 18)
during PHONE+’s AgENt Conference & Expo in New Orleans, which is designed to
complement partner solutions with a national offering of diverse telecom
services; three days earlier, it announced that industry veteran Brownell
Chalstrom had joined its advisory board.

Cool New Company: Inc. (

Leader of the Pack: Vlad Shmunis

The Pack: 45

The Mission: Keeping customers online and in touch by providing
Internet call waiting, free voice mail and call control functionalities, which
are designed to make all communications messaging easily managed from anywhere
and from any device.

Proof Is in the Success: An August New York Law Journal article that
sports the question, "Why didn’t I think of that?" notes that you
could have ordered voice mail from your phone company for $10 or so, but you
still would not have known about the call until after you have completed the
online session. It calls Internet call waiting a concept that fills a void for
many solo work-at-home professionals.

Cool New Company:

Callisma (

Leader of the Pack: Ralph Troupe

The Pack: More than 250 since it was founded eight months ago.

The Mission: To help clients meet their strategic business objectives
by equipping them with the best network architecture, communication technologies
and products available.

Proof Is in the Success: Signed this year a strategic alliance with
Cisco Systems Inc. (, and
secured $25 million in second round funding.

Cool New Company:


Leader of the Pack: Larry J. Laurano

The Pack: 8

The Mission: Provide reliable bussiness grade bandwidth solutions to
business throughout the country.

Proof Is in the Success: Signing partnerships with NetConstuct, Inc.,
RoseTel Systems (,
Futurelink (, Network
Access Solutions (,
Intermedia Communications Inc. (,
True Choice Communications.

Cool New Company:

ConvergencE LLC (

Leader of the Pack: Britten V. Wolf

The Pack: 25

The Mission: To make Las Vegas a magnet for e-commerce companies from
California. The company offers clients neutral, secure and power-protected
collocation space for computer and telecommunications systems; especially
dedicated to ILECs and IXCs.

Proof Is in the Success: Before the Nov. 1 opening, ConvergencE could
recite a list of partners that includes: Cais Internet (,
Level 3 Communications Inc. (,
Metromedia Fiber Network (,
Nevada Bell (, Sierra
Pacific Communications (,
Silicon (,
Sprint Corp (, WorldCom Inc.
( and XO Communications (

Cool New Company:

Kenetec (

Leader of the Pack: Kuldip Bains

The Pack: 60

The Mission: To provide next-generation broadband communications that
capitalize on changes and opportunities that have emerged since implementation
of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which includes an access solution that
delivers "always-on" high-speed connections and services from multiple
service providers.

Proof Is in the Success: Attracted Ascent Venture Partners (,
Commonwealth Capital Ventures (,
Delta Capital Investments Ltd., OnLake Investments LLC (
and St. Paul Venture Capital (
to help support its development of access solutions for small and medium-sized
businesses in the multitenant unit (MTU) market.

Cool New Company:

LighTrade (

Leader of the Pack: W. Theodore Pierson Jr.

The Pack: 25

The Mission: To provide real-time interconnection and QoS monitoring
services for the delivery of telecom capacity sold through any means.

The Proof Is in the Success: A $50 million agreement with Lucent
Technologies ( to create a
new network for its global bandwidth trading.

Cool New Company:

MagNetPoint Inc. (

Leaders of the Pack: Ron Hooper and Kayvan Alikhani

The Pack: 30-35

The Mission: Develops intelligent, interactive messaging solutions
that address the market need for advanced universal messaging–mobile/remote
access, device-independent and cross-platform delivery, wireless and personal
digital assistant-based commerce, and integration of disparate systems and
devices. Its three key markets are carriers, ISPs and ASPs.

Proof Is in the Success: With the completion of its final beta test,
MagNetPoint’s worldwide relationship channel is under development and positioned
to lead the high-growth messaging market.

Cool New Company:

Riverstone Networks (

Leader of the Pack: Romulus Pereira

The Pack: 43

The Mission: To provide routers and switches that help ISPs, managed
service providers (MSPs), ASPs and CSPs turn bandwidth into profitable services.
These routers are the only ones that offer the bit-slicing, accounting and
security features that service providers need to offer enhanced data services
without sacrificing high performance–and bulletproof reliability under all
network conditions.

Proof Is in the Success: This engineering and management team has been
successfully developing switch routers since 1996, when their products became
sensations for its former company Yago Systems. The staff believes in the
products so much, 43 of the 45 Yago employees came over to Riverstone when it
was founded.

Cool New Company:

TalkingNets (

Leader of the Pack: John Philips

The Pack: 21

The Mission: To deliver innovative and cost-effective telephony
services to the small and medium-sized business and branch offices by providing
a wholesale telephony solution that allows ISPs and data CLECs to provide
advanced voice services.

Proof Is in the Success: TalkingNets has introduced a solution that
actually permits ISPs and data CLECs to offer voice services to their business
customers, selected Cisco Systems Inc.’s (
IP backbone and adopted telecom technologies inc.’s (
softswitch technology to support its next-generation nationwide local exchange

Cool New Company:

TelecomCareers.Net (

Leaders of the Pack: Quinn Jones and Dennis Watzke

The Pack: 6

The Mission: To be the world’s premier online telecommunications
employment center. The career center, powered by, is a job
seeker’s own personal development center, providing telecom professionals with
industry articles, quick polls, salary surveys and an ask-the-expert column.

Proof Is in the Success: In less than a year, the employment center
has attracted more than 25,000 job postings, has more than 15,000 resumes on
file and has welcomed more than 350 employer clients.

Cool New Company:

TeleGea (

Leader of the Pack: Steven Domenikos

The Pack: 58

The Mission: To be the leading provider of telecom e-business
solutions. Using extensible markup language (XML), it has developed a unique
platform that enables the secure, real-time, online sale, delivery and
web-enabled management of telecom services.

Proof Is in the Success: Quickly established strategic partners with
Nissho Iwai Corp. (,
Boston Communications Group Inc. (,
Exodus Communications Inc. (,
Synchrony (, ConeXus
Ltd. (, Dell Computer
Corporation (, Linx
Communications Inc. ( and
Interpass Net Technologies (
Its model attracted a WorldCom Inc. (
executive to its board of directors.

Cool New Company: (

Leaders of the Pack: Hensley E. "Buddy" West, Jeffrey A.
Jones, James Kilkelly, John Duffy and William H. Cadogan

The Pack: 45

The Mission: To be a total global resource for efficient and
cost-effective trading of telecom equipment and bandwidth by blending
traditional business practices with the power of the Internet to facilitate
business and commerce. It offers wholesale capacity by providing a
post-and-browse style exchange for bandwidth, minutes, dark fiber and VoIP, as
well as new and pre-owned refurbished and surplus carrier-class and CPE.

Proof Is in the Success: Successfully facilitated a deal for a
bandwidth route between Los Angeles and St. Louis that saved the buyer more than
$250,000 and helped the seller dispense one of its low-use routes, demonstrating
the value of the exchange and the merits of the business model.

Cool New Company:

TeliSmart (

Leader of the Pack: Michael Anderson

The Pack: N/A

The Mission: To let buyers control the purchasing product in a shorter
amount of time than the traditional bidding process; to modernize or upgrade
network infrastructure at reduced costs; and to ensure complete customer

Proof Is in the Success: On Sept. 6, unveiled its new
community section, offering industry-specific content provided by a growing
roster of leading product research and analyst firms, as well as its own telecom

Cool New Company:

Truly Global (

Leader of the Pack: Michael Spencer

The Pack: 21

The Mission: To let users take the world with them. This web-based,
consumer-driven Internet telephony portal provides voice services and total
flexibility so subscribers can customize their Internet communications.

Proof Is in the Success: The spin-off is the result of five years of
VocalTec experience in the Internet telephony market and customer input. A key
aspect to Truly Global is that it allows customers to create web-based personal
pages that will let them access data according to their preferences from home,
work, vacation or anywhere else.

Cool New Company:

VoicePump Inc. (

Leader of the Pack: Cole Erskine

The Pack: N/A

The Mission: To provide product-oriented embedded voice-over-packet
network software programs. For use in the implementation and integration of
innovative speech coding and telecom algorithms for VoIP and VoDSL appliations.

Proof Is in the Success: DSP Group Inc. (
acquired approximately 7 percent of the outstanding VoicePump shares in March.

Cool New Company:

Voxeo (

Leaders of the Pack: Gary Reback and Jonathan Taylor

The Pack: 55

The Mission: Provide the predominant infrastructure for connecting the
phone, web and people. Provide telecom and web companies a free, open,
standards-based platform for the rapid creation of phone services, including
speech-based voice portals to network-based follow-me/find-me.

Proof Is in the Success: Interest from well-known Silicon Valley
venture capitalists Mayfield Fund (
and Crosspoint Venture Partners (;
and an idea that others have discussed, but no one else has pushed to

Cool New Company:

Vroom Technologies Inc. (

Leader of the Pack: Richard K. Coleman

The Pack: 150

The Mission: To make account executives better at their jobs by
providing the information required to target and qualify leads, and reduce the
time to close. By incorporating telecommunications processes and best practices
into its software, Vroom’s products make it easier to create proposals or know
if services are available. This allows agents to focus on selling.

Proof Is in the Success: Strategic partnerships with Daleen
Technologies Inc. (,
Microsoft Corp. ( and
Neon Software Inc. (

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