This semester I’m a TA in the Local Networks course at my faculty. The classes are held in a lab paid for by IXIA Romania. This last Friday I was at a friend’s lab when we had a surprise visit from Errol Ginsberg, the President and CEO of IXIA. He talked a little with the students and answered some of their questions. Here are some of the things that he talked about.
IXIA started in a small office in LA in may 1997. Mr. Ginsberg’s goal was to build a company with 30 employees, but now he has 800.
IXIA was lauched when the internet switching market had just started. The first testing system was built from nothing in just 1 year. In June 1998 Cisco became their first major client. In those days, ATM was still the big thing, and betting on the Ethernet like IXIA did was a big gamble. Fortunately, he was right, and the companies that were in ATM are not here anymore.
IXIA have an important office in Romania. They make software and test their devices and are trying to start some hardware design here, but for now the hardware is made in California. The other major development center is in India.
One of the TA’s asked him how old he was when he started and what do you need when starting a company. Mr. Ginsberg first said “I was 10 years younger than I am now” :D, and then admitted he was 41 in 1997. By that time, he had 17 years of experience and had already failed with another start-up because he hadn’t managed to get the right people in his company. He started IXIA because he saw a gap in the market. The first switch testers was the SmartBits line from Netcom Systems. There was an opportunity for another competitor in that space, because clients want competition. Netcom fixed the prices and were not responsive to the client’s problems.
He finished his speech by saying that nowadays it’s hard to start a networking company, but there is plenty of room for Internet companies, if you have the right financing and the right people to work for you.