Lightspeed Drafts Former Juniper VP

Where in the world is former Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) vice president of marketing, Carl Showalter?

Today Lightspeed Venture Partners announced that Showalter had joined their company as a partner. [Disclosure: Lightspeed is an investor in Light Reading.]

Showalter had gone missing since CEO Scott Kriens announced during the company’s first-quarter earnings call on April 11th that he had left the company to become a venture capitalist (see Juniper: No Surprises).

Why Showalter left Juniper is unknown. Officials at the company say he wanted to pursue other interests. Showalter himself, along with the rest of the Lightspeed team, are keeping quiet, except for the press release that was issued today (see Showalter Joins Lightspeed). But the general consensus is that he left Juniper on good terms.

Truth be told, Lightspeed could use some help. Like many venture capital firms lately, Lightspeed has seen many of its investments suffer under the weight of the sagging telecom market. For example, the company still has an interest in Ellacoya Networks Inc., a maker of IP service gear. Ellacoya, which raised a total of $111 million, now appears to be on its last legs as it cuts its staff down to the bare bones (see Ellacoya Cuts Staff -- Again). Lightspeed also poured significant amounts of money into five-year-old core routing startup Pluris Inc., before deciding not to invest in the company’s most recent washout round (see Washout Rains $53M on Pluris).

So has the company had any hits? Yes. When times were good, back in the day when Lightspeed was still known as Weiss Peck & Greer, the company scored some big wins by picking hot companies like Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN), which has since become a market leader in optical transport and STS1 grooming switches. It also scored big with with Sirocco, a multiservice provisioning platform startup that sold to Sycamore Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: SCMR) for $2.9 billion back in June 2000 (see Sycamore Gains Access).

Showalter, who was only with Juniper since June 2000, brings 12 years of communications experience with him. Before joining Juniper, he served as vice president of dial and broadband services for UUNet and WorldCom Inc. (Nasdaq: WCOM). While there, Showalter directed a 300-plus person global business unit responsible for the delivery of dial and broadband services for UUNet worldwide. As part of this role, he was also responsible for the engineering, planning, and provisioning of UUNet's dial access and digital subscriber line (DSL) networks; and he was responsible for the product marketing, management, and strategy for the company's wholesale dial and DSL services. Before that, he worked as the director of product management at ANS, an AOL company.

— Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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