Deregulation Creates Opportunity for Netro
Newbury partner Jay Morrison first started discussing the opportunity for what would become Netro with founder Gideon Ben-Efraim in 1994, and provided him with a small seed financing to further explore the opportunity and develop a business plan. Founded later that year, Netro was to address the emerging market needs for cost effective wide-area wireless data connections. At the time, the telecom markets in Europe were in the early stages of deregulation, with the former Postal, Telegraph & Telephone Companies (PTTs) still controlling most of the customer data traffic. New alternative carriers were beginning to emerge, but in many cases they were dependent on their local PTT to provide the "last mile" circuits necessary to connect to customers. Netro's products were aimed at these emerging carriers, giving them the ability to rapidly and cost effectively offer integrated voice and high-speed packet data services to their business subscribers without depending on the wired infrastructure of the PTT.
After leading the seed round for Netro, and helping Gideon organize a larger first round, Jay worked closely with the founding team to refine the initial product strategy, including presentations to customers and partners in selected European markets. Based on that early target customer feedback, the initial strategy was revised to a substantially more aggressive plan, incorporating both point-to-multipoint (mesh networking) capabilities and support for the emerging Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) protocol. Netro grew rapidly and successfully concluded its initial public offering in 1999. Newbury achieved a substantial return on its total $1 million investment, realizing just over $100 million in proceeds. Netro was acquired in September 2003 by SR Telecom.