Tellabs, Inc. is a global network technology provider providing services towards both private and governmental agencies. Tellabs traces its roots to a meeting in 1975 over a kitchen table in suburban Chicago. According to company founder Michael Birck, a group of six men with backgrounds in electrical engineering and sales drank coffee and brainstormed ideas for a new telecom company. They aimed to build a company that offered customers products and services that met their specific needs. After raising $110,000 in capital, they incorporated as Tellabs in the spring of 1975; the name combined the idea of telephones and laboratories. The start-up only had a one-man research department, a second-hand soldering iron picked up for $25, and an outdated oscilloscope. In a matter of months, Tellabs began making echo suppressors, which suppress annoying echoes on phone calls. During this time, the founding partners drew no salaries. The company went public in July 1980, ending the year with sales of $43.7 million. In September 1981, Tellabs introduced the industrys first echo canceller, an advance over the original echo suppressors that synthesized an echo and electronically subtracted it. By 1990, Tellabs had grown to 2,000 employees at 25 locations globally and sales of $211 million. Tellabs made several acquisitions and expanded globally in the 1980s and into the 1990s, including Coherent Communications Systems Corp. and Martis Oy in Finland. In 1991, the company took a new direction, releasing its SONET-based TITAN 5500 digital cross-connect system. These systems switch traffic from one circuit to another, connecting traffic inside and between networks.