Sun Shines on Packet Design
Packet Design Inc., the IP technology incubator started by Judy Estrin and Bill Carrico, announced Wednesday that it has received its first corporate investment dollars from Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW). The company won't say how much Sun invested, only that it was a multimillion-dollar transaction (see Packet Design Gets Sun Funds).
The technology startup was founded in June 2000 and had previously raised $24 million in venture capital from Foundation Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners [Disclosure: Lightspeed is an investor in Light Reading] and others. Its individual investors include Estrin, who was most recently Cisco Systems Inc.'s (Nasdaq: CSCO) CTO; Carrico, also a Cisco vet; former Netscape CEO Jim Barksdale; and Sun's chief scientist Bill Joy. The company says much of this money is still available.
Instead of producing products and taking them to market, Packet Design was founded to develop and spin out technologies, either by licensing the technology to other companies or by creating entirely new companies to sell it. It spun out its first company, Vernier Networks Inc., a wireless networking company, in March 2001.
Estrin and company haven't been very specific about what it is they're working on outside of naming some Internet-related problems they hope to solve. These include developing technologies that address how the Internet will scale to handle an increasing number of disparate users; how Internet data can be sent and received more securely; and how the wireless infrastructure will need to evolve to support personal broadband connections.
The company coyly says it will have some interesting news coming up at the beginning of next year.
The new investment means Packet Design is worth watching for more than its odd business model or the pedigree of its employees. The corporate interest from a big networking vendor in this recession signals that the company's projects are being taken seriously.
Packet Design's board of directors includes Carrico, Estrin, Foundation Capital's Bill Elmore, former Cisco executive vice president Gary Daichendt, and investment banker Frank Quattrone.
- Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading