Vivato – Profile
(originally Mabuhay Networks)
HQ: San Francisco
Founded: December 2000
Investors: Vivato is the single largest investment vehicle in the Wi-Fi space with well over $60M to date. Investors are: Advanced Technology Ventures, Intel Communications Fund, US Venture Partners, Walden International, Leapfrog Ventures, Silicon Valley Bank, and GATX Ventures. Company did a big C round of $44.5M in June 2003, following on from a B round of $20M in April 2002.
Management: Hailed as a Wireless Dream Team at launch, the company has come down to earth along with the rest of the Wi-Fi sector. VCs tossed the company co-founder, chairman and CEO – Ken Biba – within 6 months of closing the C round. New CEO Donald Salter, is much less impressive than Biba, but played-out his reputation as a hatchet-man and downsized the staff by 23 people to 78 and replaced much of the management team – apparently he sliced much of the marketing department, as content on Vivato’s Web site is out-of-date. Salter’s strategy seems to be: cut costs, focus on R&D, and sell what it has so that the comapny can reach a series D round.
Business model: Wi-Fi base station for corporations that integrates 802.11-based wireless systems with gigabit Ethernet switching through its unique antenna design. Base stations sell for about $10K a pop. The company targets large-scale wireless LAN networks — both indoors and out — in warehouses, universities, air and sea ports, and conference centers.
GW Bush wants one.
Competitors: Bandspeed, Symbol Technologies, Nortel, and Cisco.
Dirt: This space has suffered the perfect storm of too much venture capital, slower-than-expected corporate market uptake, and Cisco in the middle. More than $1B of VC greenbacks have been plowed into Wi-Fi startups since 2002, and the Darwinian battles are proceeding at breathtaking speed. According to a recent Business 2.0 article (subscription required), Vivato has only 50 customers, less than $3M in revenues for 2003, and it has burned through most of its cash. Dead Man Walking.