Kineto Wireless – Profile
HQ: Milpitas, CA
Investors: $59M in 3 rounds from 3i, Mitsui & Co. Venture Partners, Storm Ventures, Seapoint Ventures, Sutter Hill Ventures, and Venrock Associates. Oak Investment Partners led $35M C round in June 2004.
Management: Pasty-faced British telco dweebs in Milpitas. Kurt Hellstrom, retired CEO of Ericsson, recently joined the board, bringing a good Viking pillaging/conquering sensibility to the outfit.
Business Model: Convergence stories make for tremendous acronyms. Dissect Kineto’s rollout of MoWLAN via VoIP (Mobile over Wireless Local-Area Network via Voice-over Internet Protocol). Kineto is certainly targeting a trend that will make for a lot of happy people – the use of mobile phones as the primary phone by making QoS (one of our all-time favorite acromyns) as good as land-lines and cutting minute charges. This will allow subscribers to roam seamlessly between mobile networks and WiFi LANs located within homes, offices, and hotspots. Company sells a box that, when deployed with a mobile switch, can handover voice and data traffic to a wireless LAN as a user moves from wide area network coverage to LAN coverage.
Competitors: BridgePort Networks, Cisco Systems, Ericsson, and the triad of Avaya, Proxim and Motorola.
Dirt: Chicken ‘n egg – the company is waiting for a broad market of available handsets enabled for voice over WLANs. Before that happens, carriers are not going to be buying its boxes. For example, Cisco and Nokia say they will offer comparable technologies by the end of the year, however, analysts say that carriers are reluctant to support them. Kineto has a war chest to get them through this trough, but surely the Brits are tossing darts in a Milpitas pub cursing the stupid, lazy carriers.