images-4Isaac Barchas, director of the Austin Technology Incubator, penned a blog post titled “This Sucks” in response to news of the closing of Calxeda this week.
“Recent ATI graduate and rock star, Calxeda, will be shutting its doors,” Barchas wrote. “Investors unexpectedly pulled the plug on the company, which developed a novel architecture to allow low-power ARM chips to drive servers.”
Calxeda, founded in 2008 by Barry Evans, started out at ATI as a dream. Evan’s project also received investment from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, which allowed him to go from concept to prototype.
Calxeda’s technology garnered widespread praise. In 2012, Massachusetts Institute of Technology named Calxeda one of the 50 most innovative companies in the world. (Google, IBM and Facebook also made the list.) Calxeda also partnered with Hewlett-Packard to test its chips in its servers.
Calxeda graduated from ATI in 2012 and it grew quickly.
At the ATI graduation ceremony in January of 2012, Evans gave the keynote speech.
“I thought Calxeda would be big, but I didn’t know what that would look like,” Evans said at that time.
He talked about the company going big.
“Big, when you find it, is awesome,” Evans said. But he also mentioned that the company didn’t focus on its success, but instead its mantra was “TSBW – This Shit Better Work.”
“When you are running a marathon and you finish two miles, you don’t say wow this is great, you think I’ve still got 24 miles to go,” Evans said at the time. He said his company was in “corporate puberty.”
ATI plugged Evans into Austin’s startup ecosystem and other successful entrepreneurs, Evans said at that time.
The company employed 120 people and raised more than $100 million in investment capital.
“Those people just got pink slips,” Barchas wrote. “That’s awful. So is the fact that Calxeda won’t be the company that exploits the beachhead that they made in the ultra-low power server market.
But Calxeda burned bright. It brought a lot of really talented people (and a lot of money) to Austin,” Barchas wrote. “I don’t know what’s going to happen to the core IP or to the core team, both of which are massively valuable assets. I’m pretty sure, though, that this won’t be the last really interesting chip architecture company that’s made in Austin.
To Barry and his team, we raise a glass in sorrow, but also in deep appreciation.”