Firetide – Profile
HQ: Los Gatos, CA (originally based in Honolulu)
Founded: 2003 (originally Landmark Networks)
Management: Bo Larsson is CEO. He’s a Swede with experience at Emuzed (a company we’ve never heard of) and at Ericsson, where he was he was Corporate Vice President and General Manager of Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications, Inc. Original CEO Tareq Hoque resigned when the company decided to relocate to California in search of venture dollars.
Investors: $18.8 million in 2 rounds. Series B round of $15.6 million closed in August 2004. Investors are Menlo Ventures, HMS Ventures, Hawaiian Electric Industries, Mitsui & Co. Venture Partners (these guys came in 3.5 months late on the Series B round – a bit odd, but not unheard of).
Business Model: Many “wireless” networks still need to connect via optical or Ethernet cable to a wired infrastructure. Firetide’s mesh network does away with wires and is ideal for building out Wi-Fi networks where wiring is difficult, disruptive, or expensive. Currently has deployments in a variety of hospitality environments like hotels, marinas, airports, convention centers, and municipalities. Fireside most recently landed the Holiday Inn in downtown L.A.
Competitors: Tropos Networks, Strix Systems, Clearwire, Bel-Air Networks
Dirt: This space is hotter than a HotZone, but it’s also loaded with competition. The thing that’s always intimidated us about these infrastructure plays is the reliance on large chunks of capital – and the corresponding need to generate a hefty return for investors. Firetide is rightfully proud of the fact it has deployed its technology in three Holiday Inns – but come talk to us once you’ve deployed in 300 Holiday Inns.