Acacia Communications expands to Ottawa for 'unique' telecom talent pool

Acacia

Lured by local talent and with an eye on future growth, an American telecom and cloud services firm has tapped Ottawa for its latest global expansion.

Acacia Communications (NASDAQ:ACIA), a Massachusetts-based company, has leased about 10,000 sq ft at 309 Legget Dr. in Kanata. Ten people make up the team for now, but Bhupen Shah – the company’s vice-president of engineering – says the talent in Ottawa aligns with Acacia’s growth strategy.

“The type of skills that we need are unique skills in some ways, but Ottawa has such skills available, and we expect that overtime that we would grow the Ottawa office,” he says.

The firm currently employs 350 people around the world, with offices in Massachusetts, New Jersey, the United Kingdom and India, to name a few.

Acacia launched eight years ago as a venture-backed startup to address growing bandwidth demand from cloud and telecom services providers. The company provides technologies that act as subsystems for service providers, connecting multiple data servers, for example. While it doesn’t disclose its customers, companies such as Cisco might integrate Acacia’s tech into their own network systems and sell it to the service providers.

“Services like that would ride on top of our backbone,” Mr. Shah says.

When it first started offering products in 2011, Mr. Shah says standard bandwidth speeds were 10 GB/sec, while Acacia’s speeds were tenfold. Today, their standard products allow for 400 GB/sec, with some speeds going as high as a TB/sec.

With the adoption of rapid 5G network connectivity coming down the line, Mr. Shah anticipates a boom in business.

“Going to 5G means increased bandwidth demand in the network, which means increased demand for our products.”

The company has had mixed results since going public a year ago. Shares of Acacia hit the market at around $37 last May, rising as high as $123.44 over the summer. Since then, shares have trended downwards, coming in at around $46 on Thursday.