What’s in a name?

What do you do when your employer determines your division is no longer needed, and you find yourself without a paycheck? If you’re among the brave and the bold, you take what you learned there and start your own company.

And if you have a warped sense of humor, you christen your company with a name that’s undeniably similar to your former employer’s.

“When Caliber Technology became part of FedEx and the company decided to centralize network management, we decided to start our own company,” says Brian Wagner, president of the Mogadore start-up he and his co-founders launched in March.

“Every one of our founders was, at one time, employed by Caliber, and when we told our former employers we were naming our new company eXcaliber Technology Inc., believe it or not, they all thought it was wonderful and extremely funny.”

Wagner says it was August 1999 when he and his co-founders started tossing around the idea.

“eXcaliber came out of discussions about what we all saw as too small a pool of qualified people in the area of network infrastructure. As employed professionals responsible for supporting our employer’s information and network infrastuctures, we’d all spent too many hours trying to get help when we needed it, and when we did find people, they were either under-qualified or too expensive,” he says.

The colleagues decided to fill the gap for infrastructure design, support, management and implementation — from high-level design of complete electronic messaging solutions to infrastructure monitoring and management.

“We got really serious last November and incorporated in January,” Wagner says. “I personally took the entrepreneurial leap of faith this March. But a couple of my co-founders are still employed at other companies, so they prefer to remain nameless for now.”

Wanting to differentiate themselves, they decided to focus on “glue technologies” that enable companies to optimize intranet and Internet investments.

“We focus more on the stability, security and speed of your Web site rather than what your site looks like,” Wagner explains. “We went this route knowing that, even in larger companies like our ex-employer, this area tends to be last on the minds of upper executives — that is, until systems don’t function properly and the company president can’t read his e-mail or get his stock quotes from his broker’s Web page.”

Currently, eXcaliber employs three people, and projected sales for 2000 are $275,000. Wagner confides that, typical of most start-ups, the new firm has a tight budget and limited resources. Connecting with customers and forming strategic alliances are also challenges.

“But our ingenuity and dedication to solving the most complex problem with limited resources has made us contentious about staying on budget and getting the most out of every purchase we make,” he says. “We’re prepared to not only come in and solve our customers’ problems, but also to set up monitoring and maintenance plans to keep them up and running.”

How to reach: eXcaliber Technology Inc., (330) 352-0600or www.excalibertech.com