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Vivek Ranadive
Friday, November 21, 2008
Vivek Ranadive — founder, chairman and CEO of Tibco Software, Inc. — calls his fledgling company a plumber for the Net. That is to say that the company is not as glamorous as other high-tech ventures, but just as important, providing the guts for the new information age. Tibco Software enables other Internet-based businesses to exist and to function profitably and well. And Ranadive’s idea, if not glamorous, is hugely profitable: the 42-year-old heads a company that handles transactions worth trillions of dollars.
Tibco is barely three years old. Ranadive nourished it from an idea in 1997 into a juggernaut that earned $96 million in its third year. The phenomenal growth is echoed in Tibco’s skyrocketing share price, which grew from a rather low $15 per share in July 1999 to a whopping $195 per share in December 1999.

Although Ranadive’s success seems won overnight, it was actually many years in the making. He earned an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he was a Baker Scholar and did his bachelor’s and Masters from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Ranadive arrived at Tibco after paying his dues as the president and founder of a UNIX consulting company. He had also held management and engineering positions at Ford Motor Company, Linkabit and Fortune Systems. After he sold his previous company, Teknekron, to Reuters in 1994, the savvy entrepreneur made sure he retained the patent on his multi-tasking protocol so that he could use it in the most profitable way. Teknekron was renamed Tibco, Inc. by Reuters and Ranadive founded Tibco Software as a spin-off in 1997.

It seems fitting that the man who created a company that has a Nasdaq stock-market value of about $10 billion helped revolutionize Wall Street in the mid ’80s. He did that by automating delivery of real-time quotes by using the patented technology of The Information Bus, TIB — which is the product that Tibco Software is based upon. Today Tibco’s products are being embedded in Cisco’s product line, a company through whose products direct and channel about 90 percent of Net traffic. In fact, Cisco believed in Tibco enough to contribute to its $20 million seed money. It has proved itself to be a good name to believe in: customers include 3Com, NEC, Netscape, Glaxo-Wellcome, Mobil and Yahoo.

Ranadive is realistic rather than optimistic about the future of his Palo Alto-based venture, saying, “This company can be the Microsoft of the Web.”

He created this young empire because he had a dream of letting people share information. Stated simply, as he did in a recent interview with the San Francisco Examiner, “What we invented is the key to all computing in the future.”

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