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Geyser Networks marks entrepreneur's latest venture

Networking start-up king Wu-Fu Chen is at it again, with the creation of Geyser Networks, a firm that will focus on synchronous optical network technology.

The founder of several successful networking start-ups is building again.

Wu-Fu Chen, who helped found Cascade Communications and Shasta Networks, has launched Geyser Networks, a company that aspires to make products based on synchronous optical network technology (SONET), a stalwart of telecommunications networks. SONET is regarded by some as the primary means to handle the convergence of voice and data networks based on the Internet Protocol (IP).

"I enjoy technology," Chen said. "My strength is spotting business opportunities within a technology architecture. In this market space, the Internet is driving demand so high and the infrastructure of communications is going through a change. There's a lot of opportunities."

With only ten employees, Geyser has received $7 million in its first round of funding from venture capital firms Crimson Ventures and Sequoia Capital.

Including his latest move, the 49-year-old entrepreneur has launched a total of 11 networking start-ups. Success seems to follow him, as he has shown an obvious knack for selling his start-ups for huge sums of money.

Cisco Systems in 1997 spent nearly $200 million to acquire Ardent Communications, a voice, video, and data hardware firm that Chen helped create. That same year, Ascend Communications bought Cascade Communications for about $3.5 billion. And Nortel Networks purchased Shasta Networks in April in a deal worth about $340 million.

Chen is now running four networking start-ups. He's chairman and acting chief executive officer at Geyser, six-month-old OptiMight Communications, and four-month-old Santera Systems. He is also chair and former acting CEO of an 18-month-old start-up called Anda Networks.

Chen said he will stay on as interim CEO at his start-ups until the companies ship their products. He added that he's considering launching two or three more start-ups.