Strategy: Nevis Networks

Nevis Networks was founded in 2003. Radha Shelat and Raghu Iyer are the directors. Work in the area of LAN security. Started by making chip sets using embedded software. In those times the concept of security was limited to anti viruses – and Nevis was ahead of its times. It was a 40 person maverick product company – which managed to attract 75 m $ of VC funding.

The company had enough hardware DNA inside. One of the founders had worked on building PCs using Motorola chipsets, way back in 1982. But the Wintel franchise nipped that project in the bud. Ambitions were high – they tended to view them in the heady days after funding as Cisco beaters. The VC who invested was the very respectable Vinod Dham, the father of the Pentium chip.

To cut a long story short – with too much of money spent in product development – and the unfortunate demise of the founder CEO, the company ran out of the funding in a few years time. In hindsight, Radha says that it is much better to raise money from customers than investors. Probably having a good CFO would have also helped. Another learning was to have a shell company in the US to route all orders through. Indians love buying American products. And the regret that this Indian product company will always have is that the Indian government in its own tenders specifies that bidding companies need to have a minimum of 10% global marketshare.

The company website is Nevisnetworks.com

Discussion question: If you were the CEO of the company, what would be your first priority?