Former Cisco exec launches networking start-up

The company's former chief technology officer announces the creation of Packet Design, a start-up that will develop technology aimed at improving the Web's performance.

Cisco Systems' former chief technology officer re-emerged today with the launch of a networking start-up.

Judy Estrin, a Silicon Valley veteran who left Cisco in April, today announced the creation of Packet Design, an eight-person start-up that will develop technology aimed at improving the Internet's performance.

"As we're using the Internet in new ways, some technology enhancements are needed," said Estrin, Packet Design's chief executive. "There are three initial areas we're pursuing: enhancing the Internet infrastructure to support the numbers of users, new applications and new devices; security; and the wireless and mobile world."

Packet Design has received $24 million in initial funding. Estrin said investors include Foundation Capital and individual investments from Sun Microsystems chief scientist Bill Joy and former Netscape chief executive James Barksdale. The company is also co-founded by Estrin's husband, Bill Carrico, who serves as Packet Design's chairman of the board.

The pair are no strangers to the start-up world, having launched three start-ups in the past. The duo founded network equipment maker Bridge Communications in 1981 before it was purchased by 3Com in 1987. Estrin and Carrico also created Network Computing Devices and Precept Software. When Precept was acquired by Cisco in 1998, Estrin became Cisco's chief technology officer.

Estrin said Packet Design's business strategy is to either license the technology it develops or to spin off technologies into separate product companies. No further details on the products were available.