Last week, VentureNet, a venture capital conference that presented local technology firms to an audience of venture capitalists was held, and we had a chance to speak to a number of the companies. This week, we're featuring some of the interviews we had with those firms. Vincent Yeung, VP Hardware Engineering for Fountain Valley-based Azonic Systems (www.azonicsystems.com), spoke to us about the company's Wi-Max hardware. The firm had an impressive array of hardware and antennas set up in the lobby of the Westin South Coast Plaza to show off its wireless products.
Ben Kuo: What does Azonic Systems do?
Vincent Yeung: We develop wireless equipment, specifically Wi-Max base stations and Wi-Max subscriber stations.
Ben Kuo: How far along is the Wi-Max market?
Vincent Yeung: This is very new technology, and there are very few companies out there actually selling Wi-Max equipment. We're one of the very first. We have equipment in the 5.8 Ghz band and also introducing 3.5 Ghz equipment.
Ben Kuo: Where's the background of the company?
Vincent Yeung: We started back in early 2004, all the people here are from Southern California. All of our founders originally came from Kingston Technology and Broadcom, and other companies.
Ben Kuo: How far along is your system, and are you in deployment yet?
Vincent Yeung: We are in the trial and testing phase. We have some key customers and partners testing out our equipment in the field right now. We are also doing interoperability testing with other vendor's subscriber systems.
Ben Kuo: Who are your customers?
Vincent Yeung: We are focusing on WISPs--wireless Internet Service Providers right now. We are also working with government agencies and homeland security.
Ben Kuo: How do people deploy your equipment?
Vincent Yeung: People typically buy the base station and many subscriber stations to populate a cell site. The deployment is very similar to a cell phone deployment. In cell phone towers, you will place our stations on cell phone towers on top of a building for maximum coverage, and you would mount the subscriber station with integrated antenna on a rooftop or one or two story homes--for outdoor installation. You hook up the base station to a T1 or E1 connection, and you can service many subscribers.
Ben Kuo: How's your company funded?
Vincent Yeung: We were funded back in 2004. We had one round of funding from private investors, and we're looking for a second round of funding.
Ben Kuo: Were those angel investors?
Vincent Yeung: Yes, that's corrrect.
Ben Kuo: How much does equipment like this cost?
Vincent Yeung: A base station is about $3000 dollars. Literally, a mom and pop businesses can buy a base station and provide wireless Internet services. A base station has a range of two to four miles, and can support up to 250 subscribers. You can also divide up a cell into two to six sections for more capacity.
Ben Kuo: Thanks a lot for telling us about your company!