Powering the Internet: Acacia Sees Rapid Growth on Tech for Boosting BandwidthDecember 18, 2012
Boston Business Journal
by Kyle Alspach
Maynard-based Acacia Communications, which offers 100-gigabit networking technology for dramatically increasing computing bandwidth, has quietly grown to a staff of nearly 100 and expects revenue above $30 million this year.
"We are playing a key role in powering the next-generation Internet," CEO Raj Shanmugaraj said in an interview. "All these Internet connections touch our technology somewhere along the way."
Acacia, founded in 2009 and backed by three Boston area venture capital firms, has been commercially shipping its components since the fourth quarter of 2011.
The company supplies equipment makers, which in turn supply Internet service providers such as Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ). The increased use of video, mobile devices and LTE is "depleting their bandwidth capacity, and they need to add more," Shanmugaraj said.
Acacia's product combines optical technology, high-speed hardware, novel chip design and other technologies; the product aims to replace the currently dominant 10-gigabit technology.
While Shanmugaraj didn't give a specific estimate on revenue for the year, he said Acacia saw "double digit million" revenue for 2011 and expects to triple that for 2012. The firm may double or triple its revenue in 2013, he said.
Acacia doesn't disclose names of its customers, but Shanmugaraj said the firm has more than 10 customers in total — "and given that the whole (market) is maybe 15 to 18 customers, that's actually a very strong leadership position for us."
The company hasn't disclosed how much VC it has raised. But the amount has been modest compared to some other networking technology firms, and most of the firm's growth has come via profitability, Shanmugaraj said.
Acacia is already starting to develop higher speed technology, he added.
Acacia's lead backer is Matrix Partners, with Commonwealth Capital Ventures and Egan-Managed Capital the other investors. The firm's staff of just less than 100 is up from 50 a year ago.
Acacia was co-founded by CTO Benny Mikkelsen, formerly the founder of Acton optical technology firm Mintera (acquired by Oclaro); Mehrdad Givehchi, director of hardware and software, previously a developer at Mintera; and Christian Rasmussen, director of DSP and optics, who was also a technologist at Mintera.
Shanmugaraj, meanwhile, came to the company after nine years running business development at Alcatel-Lucent.