Catching up with MetaGeek – while it pivots its sales method (Idaho Business Review)

This article was originally published by Sharon Fisher in the Idaho Business Review on Dec 12, 2018. Click here to read the article on idahobusinessreview.com

MetaGeek, shown here with founder Ryan Woodings in 2015, is hoping a change in the way it sells its products will bring it back to profitability in 2019.

MetaGeek, one of the more venerable members of Idaho’s startup community, is pivoting product delivery to help it get through a rough patch.

The Boise startup, founded in 2005, makes tools for managing WiFi networks. “We started out making hardware and expanded into making software sold through transactions,” said Brian Tuttle, who became CEO in June after being chief operating officer and chief technology officer. “We’ve evolving into subscription and offering software as a service (SAAS).”

Brian Tuttle, MetaGeek CEO

The company is also creating hardware as accessories to its subscription offerings and focusing on software for mobile platforms as opposed to on the desktop, he added.

MetaGeek’s products are intended to make it easier to debug WiFi networks, Tuttle said. “It gives you the ability to see WiFi, because WiFi is invisible,” he said. “The great challenge for our users, who are network administrators, primarily, is that in the past you’ve been able to troubleshoot physically. You can plug a cable into a different port, look at the lights, and see if they’re blinking. What we do is try to create as much of that visual troubleshooting process as we possibly can for WiFi.”

For example, MetaGeek’s products let network administrators determine whether other devices in the office – whether it’s computers, smartphones, or smart thermostats or light bulbs – are interfering with the WiFi’s radio signals, Tuttle said.

But as the years have gone by, not just the technology, but also the way products are sold, has changed, Tuttle said. “2018’s been a tough year for MetaGeek,” he acknowledged. “We haven’t been growing our revenues for a few years.”

In fact, for only the second time in the history of the company, it hasn’t been profitable, he said.

The problem is MetaGeek offered free software updates to its customers, which meant it was running out of new customers. “As we’ve saturated the market for people who troubleshoot WiFi networks, we’ve been able to get less and less revenue,” Tuttle said.

Consequently, the company was hesitant to update its products. “We felt that continuing to give those things away was harmful to our business,” he said.

But the result is the product fell behind its competitors. “What that’s done is make us less relevant in the marketplace,” he said.

Now, MetaGeek has switched to a subscription model, which brings it a steady stream of income, and has started releasing updates to its software again, Tuttle said.

In addition, the company – which has been entirely self-funded for its lifetime – still has a significant amount of cash in the bank to fund recovery as it restructures its product portfolio, he said. “We still have enough capital to operate another year and a half at our cash burn rate, and it’s already turning around,” he said.

However, part of the reason Tuttle took over from founder and CEO Ryan Woodings, who now runs the product team, is his willingness to consider changing that self-funded approach. “Part of my job is to be willing to fundraise, and see this transition through if it’s necessary,” Tuttle said, though he thought it would be pretty unlikely.

In the meantime, MetaGeek is down to 16 employees, from a high of 32 in 2016, partly through attrition and partly through layoffs. The company laid off about 10 people in 2016, and lost four employees this year and another four or five last year, Tuttle said. Consequently, the company is considering moving its offices from the Owyhee Building, where it settled in 2015, he said.

That said, the one other time MetaGeek wasn’t profitable, it turned around quickly. “We had one period in our history where we didn’t make an annual profit, and after that, we enjoyed the best three-year period in our history,” Tuttle said. “I feel pretty good that once we make it through this, we have a good basis for returning to profit and growth for 2019. But it’s been a hard year.”

This article was originally published by Sharon Fisher in the Idaho Business Review on Dec 12, 2018. Click here to read the article on idahobusinessreview.com

Perform Multi-Channel Packet Capture and Analysis With Eye P.A. 2.1

We are super excited to announce a new release of our Eye P.A. visual Wi-Fi packet analytics platform!

With Eye P.A. 2.1, you can quickly perform multi-channel 802.11ac packet capture and analysis utilizing supported wireless adapters! We’ve also added beta support for .pcap/.pcapng files captured from a variety of supported enterprise access points (Cisco, Meraki, Ruckus, Aruba, AeroHive).

Multi-channel and expanded .pcap/.pcapng support have been the most-requested features in Eye P.A., by far. We hope you’ll love the update and please keep sending us your requests. We love the feedback!

For more information about Eye P.A., visit: https://www.metageek.com/products/eye-pa/

New Features

  • Added the ability to capture packets on multiple channels simultaneously utilizing multiple supported wireless adapters
  • Added duration and channel columns to the Packets table (right click on the Packets table headers to show the new columns)
  • Added beta support for .pcap/.pcapng files captured from enterprise access points (CiscoMerakiRuckusArubaAeroHive)

Bug Fixes

  • Improved parsing of files containing some invalid packet types in addition to 802.11 packets
  • Fixed the calculation of guard intervals for 802.11ac packets with RadioTap headers
  • Fixed a copy-to-clipboard issue in the Packets table

How Can I Buy the New Eye P.A. 2.1?

Eye P.A. 2.1 is available for purchase online at https://www.metageek.com/products/eye-pa/ as a bundle with a compatible WiFi adapter. The price is $799, a $400 drop in price from the Eye P.A. + AirPcap Nx bundle!

MetaGeek Complete includes Eye P.A. 1.12, along with the rest of our most popular WiFi tools.

You can also buy Eye P.A. 2.1 as part of the popular MetaGeek Complete bundle, which includes Eye P.A., a compatible WiFi adapter, Chanalyzer + Report Builder, Wi-Spy DBx, and Device Finder 2.4 GHz Directional Antenna. This bundle combines our most popular tools and gives the user the solutions they need to identify and fix the most common WiFi problems: interference, insufficient coverage/dead spots, airtime utilization, channel saturation, and packet loss/retransmission. It can be purchased from our bundle page at https://www.metageek.com/products/complete/

I Already Own Eye P.A. How Do I Upgrade to 2.1?

To get the new update, simply open Eye P.A. and you should receive a prompt to update to the new version (requires active MetaCare). Once installed, follow the prompts to set up Eye P.A. to capture packets using a supported WiFi adapter. You can also download the new version directly from our Downloads Page

Click here if you need to update your MetaCare subscription so you can access the update to v2.1.

The adapters supported are widely available via Amazon, Best Buy and other major electronics retailers.

MetaGeek and Oscium Announce New Strategic Partnership

MetaGeek and Oscium team up to double down on mobile-first Wi-Fi analytics tools

The next-generation Wi-Spy® hardware will be available for pre-order in December 2018 and will ship in Q1FY19. This new offering is the first result of nearly 18 months worth of collaboration and development.

 

SAN DIEGO, CA—October 17, 2018—MetaGeek and Oscium, both Wi-Fi industry leaders, today announced a new strategic partnership at CWNP’s Wi-Fi Trek conference. Their initial collaboration–quietly in progress for the past 18 months–will bring the next generation of Wi-Spy® Wi-Fi diagnostic hardware to market, in addition to a new Wi-Fi insights software platform.

As part of the agreement, MetaGeek has named Oscium as a preferred hardware provider to support the company’s growing global customer base. MetaGeek plans to partner with Oscium for additional hardware offerings moving forward as part of the company’s shift to focus on the software side of their industry-leading Wi-Fi analytics solutions.

Comments on the News:
● “We have been looking for ways to partner with Oscium for some time,” said Brian Tuttle, CEO of MetaGeek. “We are really excited use our combined capability to deliver more valuable insight into network performance and security. This will be a huge win for our customers and partners.”
● “This partnership is natural; MetaGeek and Oscium together will allow each company to leverage their respective strengths and bring the best possible Wi-Fi solutions to market,” said Bryan Lee, President of Oscium.

As part of the strategic partnership, the companies will initially deliver the the next generation of the gold-standard Wi-Spy® Wi-Fi diagnostics solution in early 2019.

Pricing and Availability
● Pricing and pre-orders will be available December 2018 at https://www.metageek.com
● Production units will ship early Q1 of 2019

Connect with MetaGeek
● Like MetaGeek on Facebook at https://facebook.com/metageeks/
● Follow @metageek on Twitter

About MetaGeek
MetaGeek, a leader in Wi-Fi visualization, troubleshooting, and optimization, enables users to manage Wi-Fi networks that work. With a complete line of analytics hardware and software solutions for Wi-Fi, more than 150,000 customers worldwide rely on MetaGeek to improve the performance of their Wi-Fi networks. For more information about MetaGeek solutions and Wi-Fi troubleshooting, visit www.metageek.com

About Oscium
Oscium delivers innovative test equipment accessories that connect to a smartphone or tablet transforming the host device into a portable troubleshooting tool for field technicians. Oscium has been delighting customers since 2010 and currently offers the following products for purchase: iMSO-204x (handheld oscilloscopes) and WiPry 5x [WiFi Spectrum Analyzer (2.4 & 5 GHz) with Cross Platform Support].
The Future of Test Equipment is Here. Please visit www.oscium.com for more information.

Press Inquiries:
Peter Vomocil
CMO
MetaGeek
(208) 639-3140 x 103
peter@metageek.com
www.metageek.com

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