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Top Ten Private Companies: Early Summer 2004

As spring melts into summer, the days are getting hotter. Heat is building, too, in the editorial offices of Byte and Switch, where we've been cooking up the latest iteration of our Top Ten Private Companies list.

Yes, we know: We're late. Very late. In fact, we're shockingly late. No excuses offered. Suffice it to say that fate and schedules intervened to stall our efforts beyond what we'd planned, and from here on we intend to update this list at least quarterly. Honest!

Given the time lapse since our last update, it's no surprise that our list is nearly completely revamped. We're looking at a whole new ballgame in storage networking, as renewed interest in the public markets spurs a flurry of pre-IPO talk we haven't heard in four years. What's more, a faster-moving market means it's taking less time for startups to ride the conveyor belt to stardom or stalldom.

Not surprisingly, the companies on the Early Summer 2004 Top Ten reflect market segments where demand is beckoning new companies: We have four software specialists and two IP SAN suppliers, along with SAN and NAS makers.

Our basic criteria for consideration: Each company must be privately held and have shipping products and named, revenue-producing customers. Beyond that, the companies on this list are the ones we think most likely to succeed in terms of profitability in the near term. Why? Our methods are our own.

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