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April - 2000 - issue > Cover Feature
Pradeep Sindhu
Friday, November 21, 2008

Have you ever wondered how companies get their names? Pradeep Sindhu, chief technology officer and founder of Juniper Networks has one of the best answers to this question. In a 1999 presentation at TiE-CON he explained, “my kids loved it.” Of course, the underlying metaphor of trees, data structure topologies and the central importance of IP are equally valid reasons.
In the July of 1995, Sindhu, then working as a principal scientist at Xerox PARC, saw a golden opportunity: an avenue left unexplored, which turned out to be the idea that was the genesis of Juniper. In the plunging costs of bandwidth, the explosive burgeoning of the Internet, the nascent state of router hardware and the “fundamental importance of IP,” Sindhu, 44, saw the vision for this company.

Juniper Networks, Inc. is now one of the hottest players in network technology; its new router has snatched 15 percent market share, posing serious competition — for the first time ever — to Cisco. Obviously a believer in the philosophy of surrounding oneself with talent to be truly successful, Sindhu, who holds a Ph.D. in computer science from Carnegie Mellon, sought out two co-founders, Dennis Ferguson, from MCI and Bjorn Liencres, from Sun, to lend their unique expertise to the venture.

After a series of cold calls to investors, Vinod Khosla (of the venture firm of Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers) agreed to finance and support the company, with $200,000, the initial seed money that kick-started Juniper. Since then, the company has received a total of $62 million in funding from various companies. It also has a strategic relationship with IBM.

Sindhu, aware that engineers might not make the best business people, hired Scott Kriens as president and CEO. His instinct has served him well, , since Jupiter is now one of the most lucrative stocks around. The company’s stock, which opened for trading in June of 1999 at $34 a share, has grown manifold making it one of the hottest stocks of 1999. Its market capitalization exceeds $18 billion. Juniper employs more than 300 people.

Perhaps the best endorsement of the success of Sindhu’s brain-child comes from John Sidgmore, vice chairman and chief executive officer of client company MCI WorldCom when he says, “This company really understands the Internet and the way market focus drives system design to meet ISP’s daily operational needs.”

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