FORE Systems

Mark Juliano joined FORE Systems as Vice President of Marketing when they had 15 employees, a product in Beta testing, no revenues and limited $2 million in research financing from the Naval Research Labs (Navy).  FORE received its first round of Venture Capital financing of $5 million in early 1993 from Patricoff and Battery Ventures. The company’s first year of sales was $5 million followed by annuals sales of $25, $75, and $235 million. The company went public (IPO) in May 1994 and was eventually sold to Marconi for $4.5 billion in 1999.

As a Professor at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), Mark Juliano wrote a CASE STUDY about FORE System, which details the early days of the company. CLICK HERE to Read the FULL Case Study.


MORE About FORE Systems (based in Pittsburgh, PA)

(the following was taken from WikiPedia — CLICK HERE for more information about FORE Systems)

Founded in 1990 to supply a US Naval Research Laboratories request for development, FORE initially produced Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) network interface cards for SBus– and TURBOchannel-based computers in addition to ATM adapters for Silicon Graphics computers. FORE’s first ATM Switch – the ASX-100 – connected 16 ATM ports each with a capacity of 155.52 Mbit/s. Later interface adapters for the follow-on ASX-200, ASX-1000, and ASX-4000 switches allowed connections up to 2.5 Gbit/s.

The company established a leading position in the market for ATM switching equipment. FORE created a memory-based ATM switch that captured a strong portion of the ATM market. Other technologies include Internet Protocol, Gigabit Ethernet and Firewall switching. FORE Systems also supported advanced dynamic routing protocols such as the ForeThought Private Network Network Interface (PNNI) and the ATM Forum‘s PNNI protocol.

FORE was created by four Carnegie Mellon University professors in the Pittsburgh suburb of Warrendale, Pennsylvania. The name FORE was an acronym of the founders’ first names: Francois Bitz, Onat Menzilcioglu, Robert Sansom, and Eric Cooper.

It was acquired by London based GEC (now Marconi Corporation plc) to complement its Marconi Communications business and to increase its presence in North America, the world’s largest telecoms market.

GEC acquired FORE on April 26, 1999, near the peak of the dot-com bubble. The £2.8bn (US$4.5bn) ($6.5 billion today) price tag for FORE Systems (and the £1.3n spent on Reltec a month earlier) took a heavy toll on Marconi following the “burst of the dot-com bubble” in 2000/2001. In July 2001 Marconi plc suffered a 54% drop in its share price following suspension of trading of its shares, a profits warning and redundancies. The company survived following a relaunch as Marconi Corporation plc in a debt-for-equity swap whereby the firm’s creditors received 99.5% of the new company’s shares.

In 2006, Ericsson purchased most of Marconi, including the part that used to be FORE Systems.

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