Li Named to Procket's Board
Three-year-old router startup Procket Networks Inc. today announced that Tony Li, chief scientist and a founder of the company, and Daniel J. Warmenhoven, CEO of Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP), have joined the board of directors (see Procket Adds to Board).
Li and Warmenhoven fill vacancies left by venture capitalists Atiq Raza of Raza Foundries and Irwin Federman of U.S. Venture Partners, who were both on Procket's board last year but have since stepped aside. (It had been rumored that former Cisco vice president Bill Conlon would fill one of the spots -- see Procket Recruits Cisco Connection.)
The addition of Li comes as big news, as he is known as the software engineering brain behind Procket and there has been much speculation about his role at the company.
“Tony [Li] has been at every board meeting since the company was founded,” says Randall Kruep, Procket's president and CEO. “I have felt for a long time that it was important for him to expand his role, given his unique experience and expertise."
Kruep also revealed some information about the company’s funding. So far, he says, the company has raised $272 million in three rounds, each valued more highly than the previous one. The last one closed in June 2001. The company had not previously disclosed how much it had raised.
Li and Warmenhoven join existing board members: Richard Lowenthal, formerly founder of Lightera and vice president of engineering of Stratacom; William Lynch, founder and CTO of Procket; Stuart Phillips, general partner with U.S. Venture Partners; Geoff Yang, general partner with Redpoint Ventures; and Kruep.
Warmenhoven worked at Network Equipment Technologies Inc. (net.com) (NYSE: NWK), Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HWP), and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), before becoming CEO of Network Appliance in 1994. He led NetApp through an initial public offering to become a billion-dollar company.
Before starting Procket, Li had become a routing legend, helping develop the GSR 12000 for Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and the M40 platform for Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR). Lynch, the company’s other founder, had worked at Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW), developing high-performance microprocessor technology.
Fellow founder Lynch is already a member of the board. So why wasn’t Li named to the board before this? Kruep said it was Li's choice: "He didn’t choose to be on the board previously."
Rumors had circulated throughout the industry that Li was thinking of leaving Procket, but he has continually denied these claims. With this announcement, Kruep says the rumors can finally stop.
“I think this shows that Tony has not left, and he is not leaving. He is here for the long haul. This time he is a founder, and he isn’t going anywhere.”
Since its inception in 1999, Procket has been tight-lipped about its product plans, giving little to no details about what is happening behind the company’s closed doors. Some have speculated that it has changed its focus from working on a core router to working on an edge router (see Is Procket Heading Toward the Edge?).
Kruep would not comment either way. "Everybody tries to classify someone as a core or edge player, so they can put you in a nice box and put a bow on it,” he says. “Yes, there are differences in interfaces and software functionality that are called for in different parts of the network. But that being said, there is a need for a network-wide architecture that looks at the network holistically.”
— Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editor, Light Reading