The 2006 10 Start-ups To Watch

The Mu-4000 appliance is intended to uncover unknown weaknesses in network devices (though not at the application layer) in a lab environment. As such, it can help vendors catch security flaws before their products ship and provide enterprise customers with a way to find glitches. The Mu-4000 also is capable of comparing products. Since it may uncover a wealth of unknown vulnerabilities, use of the appliance, generally available this month, could spur considerable dialogue on protocol-based security. A danger is that the Mu appliance might be used by attackers, giving them insight into new ways to subvert security.

How did the company get its start?

Having identified the need for better tools to discover vulnerabilities in network equipment, security entrepreneurs Kowsik Guruswamy and Ajit Sancheti launched the company in March 2005 after the previous company they worked at, OneSecure, was acquired by NetScreen (now Juniper). Guruswamy, who is CTO, and Sancheti, who is CEO, came up with a technique they call "protocol spidering" to allow in-depth probing.

Who's leading the company?

Ajit Sancheti

How much funding does it have?

$4 million, from Accel Partners and Benchmark Capital, in one round closed in January.

Who's using the product?

Undisclosed vendors and large enterprises, including government agencies

How did the company get its name?

"Mu" is said to stand for "mutate the protocols" because the security-analysis appliance bombards a target device with hundreds of thousands of attacks that simulate how hackers could manipulate routing, authentication, FTP, HTTP and other protocols to gain access to or bring down a network device.

Founded: March 2005

Funding: $4 million

CEO: Ajit Sancheti

Customers: Undisclosed

The name: “Mu” is said to stand for “mutate the

protocols” because the security-analysis appliance bombards a target device with hundreds of thousands of attacks that simulate how hackers could manipulate routing, authentication, FTP, HTTP and other protocols to gain access to or bring down a network device.
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NeoPath NetworksMountain View, Calif.

What does it offer?

The NeoPath File Director, an appliance that consolidates file systems residing on distributed file servers and network-attached storage devices into a virtual environment that can be managed from a single console.

Why is it worth watching?

The ability to aggregate file storage for better utilization, provisioning or migration is in high demand. NeoPath is representative of a number of companies that aim to provide this functionality, including 1Vision, Acopia, Attune Systems, NuView (recently acquired by Brocade) and Rainfinity (acquired by EMC). Like others, NeoPath's appliance manages unstructured data, an area that the Enterprise Strategy Group says comprises more than half the data on networks.

How did the company get its start?

It was founded in April 2002 by former Ingrian Systems executives and engineers who came up with the idea while trying to manage the accumulation of files across computers on their home networks. Founders are Rajeev Chawla, executive vice president products; Anand Iyengar, CTO; Panagiotis Tsirigotis, vice president and chief software architect; and Thomas Wong, vice president of engineering.

Who's leading the company?

CEO Alan Baratz, who was the first president of Sun's Software Products and Platforms (JavaSoft) division.

How much funding does it have?

$18 million, including $12 million second round closed in September 2004. Investors include August Capital, DCM-Doll Capital Management and Gabriel Venture Partners.

Who's using the product?

Ball Aerospace & Technologies and Ubicom, among others.

How did the company get its name?

Named for providing a new (neo) path to information.

-- Deni Connor

Founded: April 2002

Funding: $18 million

CEO: Alan Baratz

Customers: Ball Aerospace & Technologies, Ubicom

The name: Selected because the product provides a new (neo) path to information.
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Reva SystemsChelmsford, Mass.

What does it offer?

The Reva Tag Acquisition Processor, a rack-mounted network appliance and Java software to manage large numbers of RFID readers, capture and process lots of data from RFID tags, and push this data into line-of-business applications.

Why is it worth watching?

Reva's product gives a system-wide view of an entire RFID network, collecting not only tag data but also data about the behavior of the readers and the state of the radio waves. The software can adjust the radios, bring readers online or offline, assess data quality continuously, and pinpoint problems and their locations. A variety of APIs link Reva to back-end databases, messaging services and enterprise applications. Cisco validated Reva's approach last fall when it unveiled a Catalyst 6500 blade featuring an embedded version of RFID middleware from ConnecTerra (now BEA Systems). In this rival infrastructure, the blade filters raw RFID traffic at the network edge and passes it to the data center and on to applications.

How did the company get its start?

It was founded in April 2004 by Ashley Stephenson and Dave Husak, with backgrounds, respectively, in high-speed Internet access equipment and network processor design. Looking at the RFID market, they concluded that what customers would need to make large-scale deployments possible was an RFID infrastructure that would integrate with existing enterprise nets and applications.

Who's leading the company?

CEO Ashley Stephenson, who also founded Xedia, a maker of high-speed Internet access equipment acquired by Lucent in 1999.

How much funding does it have?

$6.5 million, raised in a first round that closed April 2004. Currently raising a second round, with $10 million pledged so far; lead investors are Charles River Ventures and North Bridge Venture Partners.

Who's using the product?

Accenture and HP are publicly announced customers, though Reva says several others also have installed the appliance and software in production mode.

How did the company get its name?

One of the first employees suggested Reva, which is a Sanskrit word meaning "new beginning," as well as the name of a river in his native India. It met co-founder Husak's non-negotiable criteria: two syllables and an available Internet domain name.

- John Cox

Founded: April 2004

Funding: $14 million

CEO: Ashley Stephenson

Customers: Accenture, HP

The name: This Sanskrit word, which means “new beginning,” met a co-founder's non-negotiable criteria: two syllables and an available Internet domain name.
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Silver Peak SystemsMountain View, Calif.

What does it offer?

The NX Series of network acceleration appliances.

Why is it worth watching?

Silver Peak offers an alternative to traditional WAN optimization and application acceleration technologies while reducing the need for dedicated servers and storage at branch locations. The NX Series appliances install in the data center and all branch offices with no changes to clients, servers or applications. They communicate with each other over the IP layer.

Within each appliance, Network Memory technology inspects all inbound and outbound WAN traffic - be it from TCP or UDP, interactive or transactional, or real-time or streamed applications - and stores a local instance of the data in memory on each appliance. The appliances then compare real-time traffic streams with stored patterns. If a match exists, Network Memory sends a short reference pointer to the appropriate remote NX appliances and instructs those devices to deliver the traffic pattern from the local instance. The client application is irrelevant; employees at one branch office might download a CEO presentation off the corporate Web servers while employees at another location get the presentation via e-mail. The data will still come from the same local instance. If content is modified, the appliance detects the change at the byte level and updates the memory. Only the modifications get sent across the network; the local appliance combines the modifications with the original content. The appliances come in three versions. The largest provides 2TB of local storage and support for as much as 155Mbps WAN bandwidth, and the smallest provides 500GB of local storage and support for 10Mbps of WAN bandwidth.

How did the company get its start?

Founder David Hughes, who has held senior architect positions at Cisco, Nortel and a variety of other network vendors, conceived an idea for a next-generation WAN optimization and application acceleration appliance while working as an executive in residence at Benchmark Capital. In June 2004, he founded the company and took on the CTO role to develop a product that would take a network-layer, application-independent approach to reducing the amount of data needing to traverse the WAN.

Who's leading the company:

CEO Rick Tinsley, who co-founded Turnstone Systems in 1998 and served as its CEO for six years.

How much funding does it have?

$21.5 million, including a $13 million second round that closed in January. Benchmark Capital, Duff Ackerman & Goodrich, Greylock Partners and Pinnacle Ventures provide funding.

Who's using the product?

The company says 150 enterprises, across a range of industries, are in varying stages of product evaluation, testing and deployment. Construction firm Quality Built is one publicly named customer.

-- Beth Schultz

Founded: June 2004

Funding: $21.5 million

CEO: Rick Tinsley

Customer: Quality Built

The name: Represents common values executives want associated with the company — silver is a valued commodity, and is used to convey maturity; peak indicates the highest point.
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TelloSan Mateo, Calif.

What does the company offer?

Tello Basic and Tello Enterprise, for instant communications and collaboration between networks, applications and devices. The Basic service is for individual users, while the Enterprise version is for corporatewide deployment.

Why is it worth watching?

Tello is upping the collaborative ante by offering users a tool that ties together disparate real-time communications applications. Whether it is using AOL's Instant Messenger or Sprint's ReadyLink push-to-talk application, Tello customers will know which business partners are available and can communicate with them using the company's service.

How did the company get its start?

Tello was founded in late 2004 by wireless pioneer Craig McCaw, VoIP visionary Jeff Pulver, John Scully of Apple fame, and Michael Price, senior managing director at investment firm Evercore Partners.

Who's leading the company?

Doug Renert, in his first gig as CEO. He comes to Tello from an eight-year stint at Oracle, where he most recently was vice president of applications development.

How much funding does it have?

$5 million in one round, closed in April 2005, by Eagle River, Evercore Ventures, Intel Capital and Rho Ventures.

Who's using the services?

Tello has no enterprise customer names to share at this time.

How did the company get its name?

Co-founder John Scully came up with the word "Tello" by joining the word "telecommunications" with the greeting "hello" creating a logical name for a real-time communications company, he believes.

Founded: Late 2004

Funding: $5 million

CEO: Doug Renert

Customers: Undisclosed beta testers

The name: Co-founder John Scully came up with the word “Tello” by joining the word “telecommunications” with the greeting “hello” creating a logical name for a real-time communications company, he believes.
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