PTT overdrive: Revisiting the Fierce 15 class of 2004

In the second of our six-part series looking back on the Fierce 15 winners of the past, we revisit the Fierce 15 2004 award winners. These 15 startups were selected for their entrepreneurial spirit and smart, innovative business propositions, and our selections reflect several of the trends that were hot that year.

Back in 2004, Nextel Communications was the darling of Wall Street with its high-ARPU, low-churn enterprise and public-safety customers who loved the company's iDEN-based, Direct Connect push-to-talk service.

Because of Nextel's successes, PTT (the walkie-talkie radio service of pre-cellular days) suddenly became an intriguing concept that cellular carriers wanted to mimic. Lured by the potential of high-ARPU customers, Sprint, Verizon and others investigated ways to mirror Nextel's service over their own cellular networks. And firms like Kodiak Networks and fastmobile and Sonim Technologies (all Fierce 15 winners) offered PTT solutions that made them appealing choices for the Fierce 15 award.

Of course, today we know that PTT never really lived up to the dream. Although carriers like Verizon and AT&T deployed PTT services and still offer them today, it never became the must-have service that many envisioned. And when you have a product based upon a vision that doesn't live up to expectations, companies are forced to evolve or risk becoming obsolete. Some of our Fierce 15 winners evolved, some didn't. You'll have to read our Fierce 15 2004 feature to find out more.

Click here to see our recap of the Fierce 15 class of 2004.