Summary:

Ruckus Wireless cleared $126 million in an IPO that valued the company at $1.2 billion, though the stock tanked when it began publicly trading Friday morning. The company, however, is now well positioned to make a big mark in the carrier Wi-Fi market.

A Ruckus Wireless Wi-Fi hotspot/small cell
photo: Ruckus Wireless

Wireless networking startup Ruckus Wireless graduated to public company status on Friday, appearing on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker RKUS after clearing $126 million in an IPO. Ruckus sold 8.4 million shares at $15 a piece, valuing the company at $1.2 billion, but when trading commenced this morning the stock price fell steadily throughout the day closing at $12.30.

Based in Sunnyvale, Calif., Ruckus makes both enterprise and carrier-grade Wi-Fi gear, which mobile operators use to augment their 3G and 4G mobile broadband networks. Wi-Fi has been a hot space in wireless in the last two years, as carriers look for ways to add cheap and plentiful capacity. Ruckus and its biggest competitor BelAir Networks both benefited from the trend, landing huge carrier deals to build massive outdoor Wi-Fi systems. BelAir got acquired by networking giant Ericsson, but Ruckus opted to remain independent, partnering with Ericsson’s competitors.

While the company’s initial investors sold off 1.4 million shares, its largest venture capital investor Sequoia Capital stayed all in and now owns 24 percent of the public company, BusinessWeek reported. The company’s co-founders Bill Kish and Victor Shtrom are remaining with Ruckus, serving as CTO and chief wireless architect respectively. The CEO role remains in the hands of Selina Lo, a veteran of another startup that went public Alteon Websystems.

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