In what looks to be an asset sale based on the published reports, Agito Networks, an early pioneer in the concept of the mobile PBX, has been sold to ShoreTel for $11.4 million dollars and likely there's a patent or two there that may bring them some value, plus market understanding of how to put a cellphone onto a PBX network.
For a period of 3 years or so, I served on the Advisory Board of Agito and was always impressed with the direction the company was heading, as their fundamental efforts were on the enterprise business market. They raised over $20 million dollars, with most of it coming from Battery Ventures, one of the Bay Area's more established and older VC firms. Founded by Pej Roshan, and ex Cisco marketing executive, the company was the first to commercialize the concept of an extended enterprise on the Blackberry, accomplishing that largely without much help from RIM, or so I was told after resigning from their advisory board this past January. Personally, I'm happy for Pej as he's worked to make this day a reality.
Agito's early moves were like many VOIP and FMC companies, well ahead of the market, but unfortunately without more cash infusion Agito was never going to gain more traction with the mobile operators any more than they had early on. Having worked for a few years and been an advisor to BridgePort Networks earlier on, the FMC space was a land mine filled road between the operators and the enterprise market, with neither side really grasping the potential when it was presented to them.
So here's a possible ShoreTel's play with Agito. It's Skype. A year or so ago, ShoreTel became one of the first IP-PBX players to embrace Skype for SIP, which is now called Skype Connect. Agito's understanding of the Blackberry devices, and other mobile handsets, and the know-how to integrate with them could be meaningful. Unfortunately, there hasn't been much in the way of developments at ShoreTel around Skype other than integration.
But vision and execution are two very different matters.