• News
  • SAN DIEGO
  • General

Telecommunications Finalists

Related Special Reports

Continuous Computing Corp.

Kenneth J. Kalb

CEO & Chairman

Continuous Computing Corp.

Being an entrepreneur seldom means taking the easy way. In 1998 Ken Kalb had a secure position as president of a software development company. All he had to do to ensure a comfortable career was stay where he was. But entrepreneurial vision is a powerful force. Kalb quit his job to fulfill his dream for a new kind of company.

Working out of a living room, Kalb and his co-founders launched the new enterprise with their own money. They called their company Continuous Computing.

Their goal was to do something that, to this day, no other company has done: create a single, underlying platform containing all the hardware and software components necessary to deploy converged telecommunications services.

Somehow, this small group of engineers had to convince global equipment companies to believe that the change proposed by Continuous Computing was viable. When no one else thought it possible, Kalb dared to go after major customers, and within days of its founding, Continuous Computing received its first order from Sun Microsystems.

Just when it seemed the company was headed for a bright future, came the downturn in the industry.

Telecommunications companies stopped spending, and the field was hit hard. Many start-ups were forced to close shop. Kalb adapted the company and kept it alive with careful discipline. The founders sacrificed to keep the business from accruing debt; several of them took no cash for more than a year.

Ultimately, Kalb and his co-founders learned how to transform changes resulting from the downturn to their advantage.

To spring-board the company's momentum, in 2003 Kalb guided Continuous Computing in the acquisition of Trillium Digital Systems from Intel Corp. The business unit became net positive within 45 days of the acquisition, and it was a key move that accounted that year for a 24 percent increase in revenues.

Under Kalb's leadership, Continuous Computing has realized growth of more than 700 percent over the past five years. More than 250 telecom customers worldwide use Continuous Computing hardware and software to deliver solutions that reduce development costs, shorten time to market and increase return on investment.

From one entrepreneur's vision, Continuous Computing has grown into a vigorous worldwide organization with offices in North America, Europe and Asia.

Novatel Wireless Inc.

Peter V. Leparulo

CEO

Novatel Wireless Inc.

The story of Novatel Wireless is one of dire distress and phenomenal recovery. Founded in 1966, over time Novatel fell prey to weaknesses in its management philosophy. Rapid strategy switching, lack of contingency planning and indiscriminate spending put the company in a nose dive. By 2003, most of its competitors, the business community and the capital markets had written off Novatel and assumed it would quietly disappear into bankruptcy.

In January 2003, Peter Leparulo became CEO of Novatel. At that time, the company had one customer in North America and one commercialized product with which to address the market.

Financially, the company had accumulated a large deficit, and its performance in 2002 had resulted in a net operating loss and loss per share.

Novatel defied the expectations of outsiders and focused its efforts and the intellectual capital of its extraordinary employees on a shared vision.

The decision was made to jettison many development efforts, curtail the product portfolio and concentrate efforts on future, and at the time, speculative, technology. There were no guarantees, since it was by no means certain whether that technology would be accepted by wireless carriers. The company and its people were stepping into unknown territory.

The level of sacrifice by Novatel employees to support their company has become folklore. People took pay cuts, some moved their children out of private schools, and others took out second mortgages. Leparulo said, "The company's success since January 2003 is a direct result of our strategy and the sacrifice and perseverance of those who executed on it."

In 18 months, Novatel transformed from an organization in financial straits to the leading broadband communications company in its segment. Revenue has grown by 205 percent year over year, and Novatel products can be found at almost every tier-1 wireless carrier in Europe, North America and Asia, representing a subscriber base of almost 20 percent of the world's population.

Pulse~LINK

John Santhoff

Chief Technology Officer

Bruce Watkins

President & CEO

Waddah Al Mousa

Chairman of the Board

Pulse~LINK

When John Santhoff realized that previously-classified Ultra Wideband (UWB) technology he had worked on for the Air Force in the mid-1980s was nearing commercial viability, the idea for a company was born.

Along with Bruce Watkins and Waddah Al Mousa, Santhoff formed Pulse~LINK in June 2000. Al Mousa brought financial expertise and powerful skills in international finance. Watkins organized the company's resources into an efficient business strategy while generating customer interest and creating a top-flight work environment. Santhoff brought unsurpassed technical vision.

Ironically, just as the business got underway, the tech industry bubble burst. The downturn caused difficult times for the young company, but resulted in unexpected windfalls as Pulse~LINK was able to inexpensively gather up needed equipment from failed competitors.

The founders struggled to keep the firm going through the first years, taking little pay and twice scaling back staff to keep the company viable.

At the same time, competitors were assuring the Pulse~LINK team that their technology would never work. After five years of determination on the part of all of the founders, and unfailing ingenuity on the part of Santhoff and his engineering department, the nay-sayers were proven conclusively wrong.

With its revolutionary CWave technology, Pulse~LINK has pioneered the successful development of a wireless UWB architecture capable of supporting gigabit data rates-the highest UWB wireless data rate and distance in the world.

In addition, Pulse~LINK is the first company in the world to demonstrate UWB over wired media.

By forging ahead into unknown territory, and refusing to be diverted by others' predictions of failure, the Pulse~LINK team has built their company into a leader in the emerging UWB market.

With almost 60 employees, Pulse~LINK occupies a 33,000-square-foot lab facility in Carlsbad. The EE Times recently recognized Santhoff as its "Innovator of the Year," and he is the named inventor of over 100 patents related to Pulse~LINK's technology.

Altogether, the company holds over 220 issued and pending patents in its comprehensive portfolio.

User Response
0 UserComments