June 30, 2003 1:26 PM PDT
Procket Networks chief resigns
A representative for Procket said Randal Kruep resigned for personal reasons last Thursday. Kruep had headed the company since 2001, helping it gather the last of an estimated $277 million in funding. Kruep could not be reached for comment.
Procket named a new interim chief, Paul Matteucci, as it hunts for a permanent replacement. Matteucci is a partner with one of Procket's investors, U.S. Venture Partners.
Industry insiders believe Kruep resigned because the company, despite having technically superior gear, has had trouble making a dent in a market that's now ruled by Cisco Systems and Juniper Networks. The Procket representative denied that was the case.
In April, Procket Networks introduced what it said were the world's first terabit routers, beating Juniper Networks, Cisco Systems and seven others to the market. The gear is aimed at telephone companies and others that need to move huge amounts of data at very fast speeds. At the heart of most of these networks is equipment that operates at a speed of one gigabit per second. One gigabit is a billion bits; a terabit is a trillion.
Analysts predicted Procket would have a rough time because the broadband and phone industry have been battered for three years by overbuilt networks, massive debt and a slow U.S. economy. The telecommunications bust "makes it difficult for start-ups, who must compete on having better technical ideas," Dataquest analyst Tim Smith said.