Why it matters
Entrepreneur Ash Dahod had no experience in the wireless space but foresaw two things: that mobile devices were going to become ubiquitous, as was the need for network operators to support an increasingly vast amount of high speed data economically. By developing a switch box, he made the service six times cheaper, changing the economics and the infrastructure for the way data could be sent through the ‘phone lines.’ Today, his technology maintains the greatest market share, enabling 2 billion users around the world to send emails, watch movies and transfer data quickly from the palm of their hand.
Ed Anderson of North Bridge Venture Partners says the key to Starent’s success – and the reason why he invested in the company -- was its founder, Ash Dahod, whose intelligence and work ethic are formidable. “Ash was quite visionary in deciding what market to focus on initially and what capabilities for the product to focus on,” Anderson says. One of Starent’s key strategies was bringing the technology to China first, and then returning to the U.S. with a bulletproof product that Sprint, Verizon and AT&T all wanted. “That made a huge difference.” Starent was public for 11 quarters and beat revenue and earnings per share every quarter while generating a great deal of cash. “My only regret is that Cisco put a number on the table that forced us to sell the company.” Starent was the second of Dahod’s companies that he had invested in.