Avidia Systems (Wallingford Connecticut – near Hartford) was founded by Paul Sun, a successful entrepreneur in the semiconductor and telecommunications industry. Paul recruited me (Mark Juliano) to Avidia from FORE Systems (both companies were in the high-speed Asynchronous Transfer Mode – ATM – Industry). I joined in September 1996 as Vice Chairman and VP of Marketing, and was instrumental in raising our seed round of $2 million, as the Venture Capitalists wanted a full management team, and someone with direct ATM market experience.
FORE had gone public in 1994 and by 1996 was a large company — and I wanted to find a new startup. While FORE was in the highest end of the ATM industry, Avidia’s focus was the low-mid end of the Local Area Network (LAN) market. The two companies were not direct competitors.
By the end of 1996, the telecommunications and Internet markets were at the beginning of their huge expansion — leading to the dot.com boom of the late 1990s. Avidia launched its products and company in the Fall of 1996.
As “fate” or “luck” would have it, Avidia was contacted by PairGain who was interested in acquiring the company and technology for use in DSL internet access products. Being in Beta trial, and with no sales yet — Avidia accepted PairGain’s stock offer of $94 million and the acquisition was completed in March 2007.
PairGain (based in Southern California) was only interested in the Engineering team, and Mark Juliano (Marketing), and Mike Centrella (Sales) were “no longer needed” by PairGain. While this may sound like a “bad” thing to many of you, it was quite the opposite. Our shares were vested and we were allowed to exit the company. The Engineering staff and Paul Sun remained for at least 2 years.
Paul went on to be founder of DSL.net, which did a successful IPO during the dot.com peak — and later IronYun, Inc.
Telecommunications: Analysts say the $94-million deal broadens the Tustin firm’s already commanding position.
TUSTIN — Moving to gain a foothold in an emerging segment of the telecommunications industry, PairGain Technologies Inc. on Wednesday agreed to buy a Connecticut developer of new networking technology for $94 million in stock.
AVIDIA Systems Inc., a leading developer of technology used to smooth the flow of data and voice traffic over phone lines, would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Tustin-based PairGain under terms of the acquisition.
Analysts said the deal broadens PairGain’s already commanding position in its corner of the telecommunications market. PairGain, one of the nation’s fastest growing high-tech companies in recent years, makes devices that improve the capacity of old-fashioned copper phone lines to handle voice and data traffic