How Gigamon’s Founders Bootstrapped a Networking Hardware Company to Profitability

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both the NASDAQ exchange and the New York Stock Exchange—and it expects to sell them a new generation of equipment soon as businesses start to upgrade from 10 gigabit-per-second networks to 40 (and eventually 100) gigabits.

With help from the Highland cash, the company has tripled in staff over the last 18 months to almost 100 people, and will continue to hire sales and business development staff. “We just don’t have enough people out in the field—customers are looking for us,” says Ho.

Currently Gigamon has the network access switch market to itself, and Ho says he’s not worried that Cisco or Juniper might redesign their own equipment in a way that would make Gigamon’s extra plugs unnecessary. “If they had a customer-centric focus and really listened to their customers, they would understand,” says Ho. “But we talked with a couple of Tier One customers for Cisco, and they say they are still selling them million-dollar switches and not listening.”

That kind of talk makes it sound unlikely that the startup’s journey would end with a strategic acquisition by Cisco or Juniper. Ho says the company hasn’t decided yet what the best exit might be for the co-founders and their unofficial CFOs. “You only have three ways,” he says. “One is to build the company like a family business, and I don’t think we can keep doing that. Second is a public offering, and third is M&A. For now we are just trying to build a great company. When the time comes, we will pick the right way.”

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Wade Roush is a freelance science and technology journalist and the producer and host of the podcast Soonish. Follow @soonishpodcast

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