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Kruep Steps Down From Stoke

Randall Kruep has left Stoke Inc. , handing the CEO job to former Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) exec Vikash Varma.

Kruep stepped down in February, vacated his board seat, but he remains a shareholder. When he left, he was temporarily replaced by Dennis Barsema, a Stoke board member. Barsema was the CEO who took Redback Networks Inc. public, and he went on to lead startups Onetta and Tahoe Systems.

There's conflicting word around the industry as to why Kruep left, but the official story from Stoke is the board just wanted new leadership for this point of the company's life. "The time is right for Stoke to kick it up a notch," Varma tells Light Reading.

Such moves aren't too unusual for startups. Venture investors often bring in new management as a company makes the transition from research toys into real sales.

It's also possible Kruep has moved to another startup. Kruep was sales VP at Redback when he left to run core-router startup Procket. But he got bumped from Procket just after the company announced its product. Procket never did fly, and eventually it got bought on the cheap by Cisco. (See Kruep Leaves Redback for Procket, Procket CEO Resigns, and Cisco to Pay $89M for Procket Assets.)

Light Reading's attempt to contact Kruep wasn't immediately fruitful.

But how about this new guy? Varma was president of P-Cube, a company that did deep packet inspection (DPI) before the technology got known by its initials. After Cisco bought P-Cube in 2004, Varma says he waited out his "obligatory one year" before leaving to help run CloudShield Technologies Inc.

Now he's come to Stoke, which has been revealing bits and pieces about itself after raising $50 million in funding. Its Stoke Session Exchange (SSX) product would let user sessions flip between different types of access, including both wireline and wireless networks. (See Stoke Cashes In, Comes Out .)

"We'll have examples through the course of this year where carriers are using us as a high-performance, high-density edge device with a lot more intelligence than a single-network B-RAS [broadband remote access server] device," Varma says.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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Alpine 12/5/2012 | 3:07:15 PM
re: Kruep Steps Down From Stoke Craig,

Sorry but your article was a softball. Randall wsa in this to be Founder, CEO and King. His history of hiring and driving off talent, underestimating development and market challenges and not being able to close deals caught up with him again.

To quote you - "Such moves aren't too unusual for startups. Venture investors often bring in new management as a company makes the transition from research toys into real sales."

I disagree in this case. His one purported strength was supposed to be selling so why leave know that the company is making the transition to real sales. From the quote below it's supposed to be his strong suit.

"Randall is a great promoter and sales executive," said one venture capitalist in the Valley who didnGÇÖt want to be identified. "If anyone can sell this product, it would be Randall. He was able to sell the Redback product to carriers even when it still had some problems. And that was largely due to his skill as a salesman."

Strike 2 for Randall. He's racked up nearly $300m in spent vc money with no revenue to show for it. Maybe it's time to suggest he got lucky with a hot product at Redback and makes a crappy CEO.

Just my opinion.
Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:07:15 PM
re: Kruep Steps Down From Stoke Maybe it really is the right time to change CEOs. But oftentimes, something like this means something's up.
rainbowarrior 12/5/2012 | 3:07:14 PM
re: Kruep Steps Down From Stoke
I heard that they were replacing the "St" in their name to "J".
light-headed 12/5/2012 | 3:07:14 PM
re: Kruep Steps Down From Stoke I don't know Randall and have never worked with him but I know people that have and he doesn't sound like a great leader or manager. He apparently did a good job selling Redback gear into Asia during a period of time when EVERYONE was selling ANYTHING everywhere.

I think that it is well-known that there are many people who were very successful in the late 90s but some were just lucky and not necessarily good. The guys that navigated companies through 2001-2004 and came out successful are good AND lucky. I think VCs will learn this lesson eventually.

...also, he was NOT a founder of Procket. Not even close and everyone in the Valley knows that so you should correct your story.
fmc_man 12/5/2012 | 3:07:13 PM
re: Kruep Steps Down From Stoke I think all you Procket whiners should go in on some group therapy and GET OVER IT. You probably blame your Mom for your personal problems like you blame Kruep for your professional missteps.
Alpine 12/5/2012 | 3:07:13 PM
re: Kruep Steps Down From Stoke Good point lightheaded - Randall wasn't founder of Procket but he did a great job of trying to run them all off. It's an insult morally, technically and professionally to Bill, Tony and Sharad to even put Randall in the same sentence as those guys.
geof hollingsworth 12/5/2012 | 3:07:12 PM
re: Kruep Steps Down From Stoke You could look it up.....

Start-up Procket Networks names CEO
By Wylie Wong
Staff Writer
Published: February 9, 2001

A Redback Networks executive will take the helm of secretive Silicon Valley start-up Procket Networks.

Randall Kruep, formerly Redback's senior vice president of worldwide customer operations, will become Procket's new chief executive and president in March. He will replace co-founder Sharad Mehrotra, who will continue as chairman.

Procket has created a buzz in the networking business because of its management team of former Cisco Systems and Sun Microsystems engineers--and because the company has quietly been building what some sources believe is next-generation networking equipment that can take on Cisco and Juniper Networks.

Procket, which has raised $34 million in venture capital, was co-founded by Tony Li, a former Cisco and Juniper engineer who created some of the key technologies for those companies. The two-year-old start-up was also co-founded by former Sun engineers Mehrotra and William Lynch, who designed forthcoming versions of Sun's flagship UltraSparc processors.

Kruep's hiring as CEO will allow the three co-founders to continue developing their product, said Mehrotra in an interview.
Googoless 12/5/2012 | 3:07:10 PM
re: Kruep Steps Down From Stoke Anyone who knows about P-Cube knows that Vikash Varma was not the CEO of P-Cube.

Stoke is his 1st CEO gig.

Let's see if he can indeed "kick it up a notch" like Emeril.

Bang!
Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:07:10 PM
re: Kruep Steps Down From Stoke Simply a mistake on my part. Apologies all 'round., and I've corrected the sentence in question.
grunt 12/5/2012 | 3:07:10 PM
re: Kruep Steps Down From Stoke Yes - its amazing how many founders and co-founders there seem to be out there.

I understand why some people choose to say things like this and put them on a resume, but why, LR, if you did not talk to Randall did you choose to call him a founder?

Confused...
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