Stories by Bob Brown

VCs still pinching pennies on network startups

Network/telecom companies managed to squeeze more money out of venture capitalists in the fourth quarter of 2002 than in the third, but that still didn't prevent last year from being the industry's worst for venture funding since 1998.

Interview: Utility IT exec to explore Web services

Gene Zimon, CIO and a senior vice president at energy company Nstar Corp. in Boston, has an atypical perspective on network technology. While he currently oversees a statewide network for the utility, which serves 1.3 million residential and business customers across Massachusetts, he also has spent time on the vendor side, most recently at Oracle. This is an edited transcript of Zimon's talk with Bob Brown about Nstar's key IT initiatives, including a move into Web services.

Nortel veteran dives into VC waters

Anil Khatod brings a unique perspective to his new job as a venture capitalist at Atlas Venture: roughly 20 years working at Nortel Networks Corp. in numerous capacities, ranging from group president of Global Internet Solutions to chief marketing and strategy officer. His job at Atlas is twofold. He helps the company identify new companies that can sell into the carrier and enterprise network markets, and he figures out the best direction for some of the companies already in the Atlas portfolio. In this interview, he speaks about the challenges and opportunities of investing in today's network industry.

Interview: VC zeroes in on data centre consolidation

Gary Little, a general partner at Morgenthaler Ventures, says one of the best start-up opportunities these days is in data center consolidation. As a veteran of Apple Computer Inc., IBM Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc., among others, Little is attempting to put his expertise in the systems business to use in funding companies that can exploit what he sees as the inevitable redesign of data centers. He recently shared his thoughts on these opportunities with Network World News Editor Bob Brown.

Interview: VC surveys VPN, broadband landscapes

Michael Feinstein joined the ranks of venture capitalists back in 1999, following stints in product marketing at remote access equipment makers Shiva and New Oak Communications, which were acquired by Intel and Nortel Networks, respectively. Feinstein, now a principal at Atlas Venture in Waltham, Mass., currently keeps his eyes open for the next big investment opportunity in the network industry while juggling his duties as board member for a handful of network processor and other product vendors. In this interview, he talks about the VPN market's evolution, the current state of the network industry and more.

Interview: Data centre automation atop VC's hit list

There's no shortage of new company ideas being tossed at venture capitalists these days, but that doesn't mean many of them are going to get funded. Burned by lots of network flops over the past year or two, venture firms have become more careful about which companies they fund. Foundation Capital's Adam Grosser, a general partner, recently spoke with Network World News Editor Bob Brown about which technologies have him most intrigued.

Interview: VC not giving up on carrier market

St. Paul Venture Capital General Partner Rod Randall built a resume within the network industry at product companies such as Ascend, which got snapped up by Lucent Technologies, and Teleos, which was bought out by Madge. With today's grim IPO and merger markets, who knows if his current investments -- carrier infrastructure players Avian, Kenetec, SnowShore and Teltier, will ever go public or be acquired.

Gupta touts Web services

Umang Gupta has a unique perspective on the network industry, having been at the forefront of the client/server application market as the founder of Gupta (now Centra Software Inc.) and now as CEO of Keynote Systems Inc., a company best known for its Web site performance and benchmark services. He spoke recently with Bob Brown about the future of Web-based applications and the Internet itself.

Omegon Management Software

Omegon Ltd., an Israeli firm that recently set up shop in the U.S., is looking to stand out in the crowded network management field by offering software that can test and diagnose net application performance on both sides of the firewall.

Vertical Sky Airs E-Business Package

Vertical Sky, a new subsidiary of Canadian software firm Mortice Kern Systems Inc. (MKS), Monday introduced a software package designed to help companies build e-business Web sites and upgrade them as needed.

NorthPoint CEO Surveys DSL Landscape

Elizabeth Fetter, named NorthPoint Communications Group Inc.'s CEO earlier this year, knows what she's up against in battling the established phone companies in the broadband access market. After all, she has worked at US West Inc., Pacific Bell Corp. and SBC Communications Inc. She recently spoke with News Editor Bob Brown about the competitive environment and NorthPoint's game plan.

Startup Aims to Raise Wireless LAN Ante

Newcomer Atheros Communications Inc. has announced plans for technology to speed up wireless LANs and ensure that wireless devices can communicate with each other even if they support different speeds.