Founded: May 1996
NVP Investment: $7.25 million
NVP Partner: Promod Haque
IPO Date: April 9, 1999
Market Capitalization: $3.9 billion (8-99)
Revenue: $98 million (fiscal year ended 6-30-99)
Employees: 280
Location: Santa Clara, CA
Company Mission: Our mission is to provide the building blocks for networks that connect to the Internet. Our customers include service providers and large enterprise users.

About Gordon L. Stitt
A co-founder of Extreme Networks, Stitt has 20 years of marketing, sales and general management experience. Stitt co-founded Network Peripherals in 1989 and served first as its vice president of marketing, and then as vice president and general manager of the OEM Business Unit. Under Stitt's leadership, Network Peripherals
pioneered the market for high-speed switches. Before co-founding Network Peripherals, Stitt worked in corporate marketing at Sun Microsystems and was director of marketing and sales at Ven-Tel. He holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley and a BSEE/BSCS from Santa Clara University.

About Extreme Networks, Inc.
Extreme Networks designs, develops, manufactures and sells high-performance local area network (LAN) solutions that adapt swiftly to change and enable future applications for the new enterprise. The company's family of Summit™ stackables and BlackDiamond™ modular switching systems combine Ethernet and the Internet Protocol (IP) with wire speed Layer 3 Switching to increase the flow of information and allow for future network growth.




 

What was Extreme Networks' founding vision?
Extreme Networks saw a change sweeping through LANs being driven by web technologies. These new applications, combined with the convergence of Ethernet becoming the dominant LAN technology and IP becoming the dominant networking protocol led us to the conclusion that two new technologies would be critically important: Layer 3 switching and quality of service (QoS). We believed that these technologies could be the basis for a line of products that would redefine local area networking.

Why did you choose to pursue a relationship with Norwest Venture Partners?
When you're in the financing business it really comes down to people, and it was clear that Promod Haque would bring incredible background to our board of directors. Our agreement when we first met with Promod was that he would come in as an equal partner with other venture capital firms, but he immediately stepped up and said that he wanted to lead our second round of financing. We were impressed with Promod's background and experience in working with companies and helping them grow into large and significant organizations–that is really what we were looking for. We didn't want to go down the path of a quick sale of the company or a quick cash out. We really wanted to build something strong, and Promod Haque and Norwest Venture Partners have helped us accomplish this goal.

How did Norwest Venture Partners add value to Extreme Networks?
Norwest Venture Partners has been an extraordinary business partner, providing us with tremendous guidance and helping us understand the dynamics of building a large and successful organization. Promod Haque and his associate, Paul Vabakos, have been of incredible value. They have put us in touch with the right people and always encourage us to open our eyes and look beyond our immediate business to a broader market.

What are Extreme Networks' key elements for success?
Our key elements for success really come down to the early company culture and group of people that we've hired. If you hire the right group of people at the beginning, they'll hire additional great people down the road. I think we're very fortunate to have built a strong management team and we're pleased that our first group of employees has stayed with us. This group has in turn hired quality employees with similar views and the cultural perspective of wanting to deliver multiple products to customers–I think this has really been the underpinning of our success. Certainly beyond that, we've had a very intense focus on our target market and have not been distracted from obtaining our overall goals. We're pretty tough competitors as well. I think this has also been an element for success at Extreme Networks.

What are the future plans for Extreme Networks and for you?
Our plans are to continue our quest. We still have a long way to go in our current market of Layer 3 switching for service provider and enterprise markets. We have some exciting new product plans coming down the road and we see a lot of growth in this space. We certainly are looking at new markets for our products as well. Our tagline is "building networks that connect to the Internet." What we see in the future is that the definition of what a network is and does will change. The exciting part for us is basically tracking and leading the networks that make that change.

As for myself, I'm having a lot of fun right now–so I want to keep having fun. Fundamentally, that's what it comes down to for me and the other employees at Extreme Networks. We enjoy the day-to-day battle of fighting the "bad guys" and that's what makes it a thrill. I expect to continue this for quite awhile.

What are some fun and interesting details about yourself?
The name Extreme Networks actually came from "extreme skiing" so I think it's safe to assume that I'm a skier and so are many of the people at Extreme Networks. My wife actually came up with the company name when we were driving home from a ski weekend from the Kirkwood ski resort near Lake Tahoe. We thought the name had a lot of the right connotations.. When you think of extreme skiing, you think of pushing the edge and doing things that people didn't think could be done. We thought the name would really fit what our technology does and what we were trying to do–we basically wanted to upset the "world order of networking." The market has become a cozy group of four companies, and we thought coming in and disrupting this group would be pretty "extreme"–so as it turns out, the name has really worked over the years. We also named our main conference room "Kirkwood" after the origin of "Extreme." When I'm not upsetting the world order of networking, I enjoy spending time with my wife, my 5-year-old son, my two-year-old daughter and our beagle. And of course, fitting in a couple of days skiing in the winter.

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