- Altiostar is a stealth-mode company focused on the LTE RAN; per an SEC filing, it has raised over $50 million and seems to have a connection to Cisco.
- What, exactly, the connection between Cisco and Altiostar is remains to be seen, particularly in light of Cisco’s acquisition of Ubiquisys earlier this year.
Everyone loves a stealth-mode company.
Okay, we may not all love the companies, but we like talking about them. We like being a part of the “in crowd,” the people who are connected and have some knowledge that isn’t shared by everyone else. We like the intrigue and challenge of trying to figure out what the company is up to, particularly if it could be disruptive to our own business. And if it looks to be disruptive, we might even think we need to understand the company in order to stave off a future competitor.
Boston-based Altiostar definitely ticks most of these boxes. People in the RAN business know about it, but it’s far from a household name. Its barebones website states, “Our unique LTE eNodeB is designed to improve quality of experience, enhance spectral efficiency, and significantly reduce Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).” If you’re looking for mystery around a start-up’s strategy and product portfolio, this should leave you satisfied. Still, what about the “potentially disruptive” criteria? There’s a zillion stealth-mode companies out there that nobody ever talks about because they hold about a .0001% chance of mattering. People are actually talking about Altiostar, however, for three key reasons: President and CEO Ashraf Dahod is perhaps best known for running Starent Networks when it went public and got acquired by Cisco; an SEC filing from this past August signaled that the company had raised just over $50 million from an unidentified investor; and that same SEC filing listed Kelly Ahuja as a director (it would be a pretty major coincidence if this wasn’t the same Kelly Ahuja who serves as SVP and GM of Cisco’s SP Mobility Business).
So, we have a company with a lot of money in the bank, focused on the LTE RAN and with a connection to Cisco (some would suggest Cisco is the unidentified investor). This leaves an obvious question. With small-cell RAN and SON acquisitions just completed this year, and LTE plans telegraphed, what would Cisco want with a company like Altiostar?