This Story Posted:
January 4th
12:4 PM/CST

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Monday, January 4th

Top Story
[12:41 PM]
New Startup Company To Make Mac Peripherals
Former IXMICRO founders have announced a new company called Eskape Labs (the name comes from SKP, the last initials of the three founders) to make Mac peripherals. The company will focus on graphics, USB, and other products. According to Eskape:

"Supporting both traditional and newly developed form factors such as CardBus, Universal Serial Bus (USB) and FireWire (1394), Eskape Labs plans to launch cross-platform graphics, digital video and convergence peripherals that extend the capabilities of individual platforms."

Eskape's first product is a USB video capture device. This product is part of the Phoenix family of USB full-frame-rate video capture devices for the iMac and USB-equipped Macs. The product will be demonstrated by appointment only at MacWorld Expo this week. Eskape expects to ship the product in mid-February in the US$149 to US$249 range.

The company was founded only two months ago by Frank Paniagua -- president and chief executive officer, Dave Smith -- chief technology officer and executive vice president of engineering and Christopher Knight--executive vice president of sales and marketing. Mssrs. Paniagua and Knight were previously with IXMICRO while Mr. Smith was with RasterOPS.

"There is growing list of advanced technologies and other intellectual property that is being brought to market for Wintel platforms only," says Christopher Knight. "This is not because these technologies are intrinsically incompatible with the Macintosh, but because the innovative companies designing new technologies tend to be small and unable or unwilling to expend the resources necessary to build in Mac compatibility."

Of significant importance is the fact that Mr. Paniagua told The Mac Observer that they have already received financing, having almost finished their entire first round of financing. This has been possible in part due to some business deals the company will be announcing at MacWorld. According to Mr. Paniagua:

"We have a big OEM customer we will be announcing at MacWorld. In addition to that, we have a whole exciting plethora of product announcements we will be making during the next year. This is a very exciting company and we think we have everything in place to do it right. We have a founding team with a proven track record and a company with demonstrable products and a lot of business acumen."

One thing Eskape will be focusing on is bringing existing intellectual property to the Mac market from the Wintel world. According to Eskape:

"Eskape Labs is currently in negotiations with industry leaders to license technologies and create unique, multi-platform peripherals that respond to unaddressed segments of the industry."

This differs from some other Mac companies that have their roots founded in developing their own proprietary technologies to fill niches in the Mac world. By leveraging Wintel technologies, Eskape may be able to introduce products at a lower price point.

The Mac Observer wishes Eskape the best of luck!

The Mac Observer Spin: The fact that Eskape Labs has been able to achieve outside funding is very significant in and of itself. During the last two years it would have been literally impossible for a startup company to gain any significant outside financing if their main focus was Mac products. Venture capitalists and other financiers were simply unwilling to risk money on a platform that so many analysts had ben predicting would be dead.

Eskape Labs has been at this for only two months and has not only closed their first round of financing, they have also successfully negotiated with major Wintel players. This more than anything else is a testament to both the Eskape executive team's clout as well as the general clout that Apple has regained.

It is not just market share numbers that tell the tale of Apple's turn around, it is stories like this one that really tell about the health of our platform.

Eskape labs does not yet have a web site



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