Wednesday, September 8

Why Adrew Foss is Serially Successfull?

Redherring interviews serial entrepreneur Andrew Foss & discusses today’s company-launching hurdles and his success in the networking & telecom startups. Just last week, his latest enterprise, Swan Labs, secured a $15 million Series A round. His first company Network Translations which built firewall was acquired by networking giant Cisco and his second venture Caw Networks which made the software for analyzing application traffic on the WAN was acquired by Spirent Communications.

Red Herring: A lot of people outside the Valley believe the only way to make money on a startup is to do an IPO. Is it easier to do a deal with a big buyer?
Foss: Acquisitions can have great financial results, but when we plan to build a company, we look toward eventually doing an IPO. With Caw, we had a product, a market, a team, and a great space. We could have done an IPO. But in 2001 and 2002, there was no public market.

Red Herring: How do you keep a company innovative?
Foss: The number of companies that go public and stay in business is too few. There are too many one-trick ponies. Most startups have a great idea and get tunnel vision on it. They don’t keep reinventing. We have a saying around the office: It’s okay to be wrong, but it’s not okay to stay wrong. That’s often times how we push the ball forward.

Red Herring: The companies you have been involved with targeted network niches. How do you find the right angle into a full field?
Foss: It’s more important to look at what can be improved on rather than look at how crowded the field is. Each of the companies worked with connecting applications with networking.

It’s like the old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercials, where the two guys bump into each other on the street and one says “you got peanut butter on my chocolate,” and the other says, “you got chocolate on my peanut butter.” The applications networking space is the same way. There, the apps people say “your networks are slowing down my applications” and the network guys say, “your applications are clogging my network.” There’s a lot of finger pointing. We’re out to solve this problem once and for all. MORE...