Though his real full-time job is being a partner for the venture-capital firm Norwest Partners, Vab Goel also currently wears the CEO hat for networking services startup Virtela Communications, which sells global managed IP virtual private network (VPN) services.
Far from being just a money overseer, Goel has a hands-on networking background. Before joining Norwest in 2000, Goel was vice president for emerging technologies at Qwest, where he built relationships with companies like Juniper and Corvis, among others. Prior to that, he helped build the strategic IP infrastructures at Qwest and before that at Sprint.
Networking Pipeline sat down with Goel recently to get his take on a range of topics, including why mid- to larger-size enterprises should outsource their network plumbing, and why Juniper's purchase of Netscreen does not signal a return to the boom years of networking buyouts.
Networking Pipeline: We have to spend some time talking about Juniper's purchase of Netscreen. Does this mean we're back to the boom?
Vab Goel: It's very important to fill up the holes in your strategy. Sometimes, if you don't fill up those holes right on time, it can become an issue of survival. That said, I do not think it's "back to the boom." It'd be a mistake to see the numbers [for the Netscreen deal] and say this is the trend going forward. That's what got us into trouble in the past, thinking that it's a race to build companies so you can have a fast IPO or a fast acquisition. There are no shortcuts. If you look at both companies, they both executed very well. They are both strong in different markets, so it's a good fit. I do not think there's going to be too many of these types of deals.