The Pittsburgh Technology Council took a trip down memory lane with former FORE Systems founders and executives last night. They even provided the crowd with some valuable tech business building lessons learned along the way.
Onat Menzilcioglu, Founder, VP Engineering and President; Francois Bitz, Founder; Eric Cooper, Founder and CEO turned Chairman of the Board; Thomas Gill, President and CEO; and Mike Green, Global VP of Sales all gathered for a panel discussion recounting key milestones along the path of FORE Systems meteoric rise to tech stardom.
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 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.
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 in 1999 for $4.5 billion to complement its Marconi Communications business and to increase its presence in North America.
The panel discussed how they navigated their growth in Pittsburgh (including raising capital and building their team), what they learned along the way, and the effects they have had on Pittsburgh’s current entrepreneurial community.