Continuing Computer Business Review’s series of profiles, we examine the achievements of Jyra Research Inc.
Jyra Research Inc is already valued at $100m, yet it was only set up last May, started work in earnest on its network management software suite in October and launched its first product last month. The reason? Jyra is engaged in not one but two fashionable, fast-growth areas – building network management tools using Java. The company claims that writing in Java allows its Service Management Architecture suite to reproduce the high level of network monitoring enjoyed in end-to-end IBM mainframe environments in the distributed client-server field. Chief executive Paul Robinson, formerly a sales manager in the UK for networking giant Cisco Systems Inc, decided to set up the company with two friends in 1995: I found that what people wanted was not something that manages network devices but something that manages the network services. The company’s technical director is Peter Lynch, a former networking researcher at Wang Laboratories Inc. Prior to that, Lynch worked in research and development for the now defunct Prime Computer Inc. He and Robinson’s big idea was to use Java because the platform independent capability of Java could overcome the multiplicity of systems and standards common on the average corporate network in a way that was difficult using other languages. Says Lynch: Java is a good language for doing distributive systems and is less monolithic than C++. We did think of using other technologies but could not see another technology that was going to do the job. In addition, because the product is heavily ‘componentized’ users can easily re-write individual components and Jyra can, therefore, update the software component by component. In order to achieve a global reach in minimal time, Jyra is currently in talks with some of the biggest names in services, including Cap Gemini Sogeti SA.
Design simplifies management
The product appeals to services vendors, says Lynch, because its design simplifies the management of networks in complex outsourced environments. Initial funding for the company of $1m was secured in July last year from a private share sale to a consortium of 58 leading fund managers in America and Europe, reflecting the stockbroking background of finance director Archie Adams. The shareholders promptly floated the company on the private NASD OTC over the counter market. The shares opened at 90 cents and rose to $2.40 before a further $3m was raised in November in a second private placement. Today, the shares trade at between $15 and $16. An SEC registration has recently been obtained and a full Nasdaq listing is scheduled before the end of the year. A new head office in California has been set-up and offices will be opened in New York and Sydney to support global business partners, with research and development will remain at Hemel Hempstead, UK. Long-term Jyra has big ambitions to take on market leaders Tivoli Systems Inc and Computer Associates International Inc. Revenue projections are ambitious. The company expects to be profitable by year-end with revenues of $6.8m. In 1998, that figure is expected to have quintupled to $35m and will double again in 1999 – more than Tivoli’s revenues when IBM Corp took it over in 1995.