Nishan Swaps Out Sales Team

Replaces most of them with former Cisco sales execs

November 6, 2001

2 Min Read
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IP storage startup Nishan Systems Inc. has eliminated all but one member of its sales team and replaced the majority of the group with sales executives from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO).

Roughly ten sales employees were let go over the past two months, along with about five other staffers from various departments. Nishan's total headcount now is 130.

Terry Eger, acting VP of sales at Nishan, led the complete swap-out of the sales team. Eger was one of the first eleven people at Cisco and is credited with hiring CEO John Chambers (see Nishan Talks Some Trash).

We are shifting hiring towards sales rather than engineering and development, and Terry has put his old band together,” said Randy Fardell, VP of marketing at Nishan. The band includes Robert Stout, Merril McAdams, Charlie Barzilla, and Andrew Hiscox. All four were among the first senior sales people at Cisco, hired by Eger. Now they're back with him at Nishan.

Nishan seems to like the comparisons with Cisco that the recent hires have encouraged. “Cisco was a lot like Nishan is now,” said Fardell. “It started with an enterprise-class product with a lot of potential -- but it was an unknown and it required a 'prove it to me' kind of sale… Nishan is in this position now."Nishan's also under pressures similar to those of other startups in the storage networking sector. "The VCs are telling us to save cash," Fardell said.

So far, the company appears to have sufficient funds. It received an initial $10 million investment in May 1999 from Altos Ventures, ComVentures, Discovery Ventures (no Web site), Lightspeed Venture Partners (disclosure: Lightspeed is an investor in Light Reading), and Sofinnova Ventures. A $20 million second round followed in December 1999 from the same group. And a $50 million round from Dell Ventures, Quantum Technology Ventures, Siemens Venture Capital, and Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) came in September 2000.

— Jo Maitland, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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