banking on high-speed modem technology
Business Journal, 2/23/98
By Lori Houston, Staff Reporter
ROSA - The stream of emerging digital communications technologies
is outpacing the markets in which to realize them. That phenomenon
has created its own business opportunity for startup Alantro
last August, Alantro communications designs and builds
high-performance transmission elements for high-speed modems in
the cable, xDSL, and wireless industries.
technology involves many layers of technologies that are often
developed and produced by multiple entities," explains
president and co-founder Eric Rossin, PhD, who spent two years
with Next Level Communications in Rohnert Park doing high-level
custom chip design before going the startup route.
expertise lies in the physical layer of modem transmission called
the PHY. At different levels, standards have to be created so
different pieces of communications equipment can talk to each
other. Alantro both designs existing PHYs and is involved in
defining new PHYs. We are both broad and narrow: broad in the
sense that we're aimed at a lot of different market areas, but
narrow in that we're focused on the PHY. We're not beholden to how
fast one particular modem technology gets to market."
Rossin cites the cable modem as an example. "It was invented
in 1991, but market implementation is just now gathering steam,"he
co-founder and IEEE fellow Chris Heegard, was instrumental in
inventing the PHY for the current cable modem standards J83b and
MCNS, according to Dr. Rossin. Prof. Heegard, who is now Alantro's
CEO and chief technology officer, taught at Cornell University
where Dr. Rossin completed his advanced degrees.
four-person company, including third partner Scott Petler, Alantro
expects to add as many as 12 more engineering and administrative
personnel by the end of the year.
a lot of high-tech companies, the opportunities we have are
unlimited," Dr. Rossin says. "Our problems will solely
consist of finding qualified technical talent."
Alantro's emphasis will remain engineering, the company plans to
fund continued growth by seeking corporate partners for equity
financing, Dr. Rossin says.
company has been self-funded to date, and we're trying to avoid
the pure venture capital route. Corporate valuations tend to be
better, because companies can see the value we can add to their
products. It's quantifiable to them."
with corporate partners have already generated enough revenue for
the company to lease 2,962sf at 141 Stony Circle, which it took in
more information, call 707-521-3063 or visit
Business Journal, Sonoma/Marin, 2/23/98 issue, p.1 Reprinted with