Dan Proch Talks About Netronome

netronomeTEQ: So Dan, tell us about Netronome and what is your role in the company?

Proch: I am the Sr. Director of Product Management for Netronome. We are a fabless semiconductor company based in Cranberry Twp. building high-speed computer processors, accelerated network interface cards for commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) servers, and reference hardware platforms based on our flow processors. Very interesting to have a computer processor company in Pittsburgh!

TEQ: We’d say it’s cool! So how did Netronome get its start?

Proch: TEQ readers might remember the Pittsburgh technology success story that was FORE Systems, a pioneer in high-speed computer networking products. After FORE Systems was acquired in 1999, some of the company visionaries moved on and founded other technology companies in the area.  Netronome was one of these startups, founded by several key members of the senior management and engineering teams at FORE Systems. One of Netronome’s founders, Niel Viljoen, was the Chief Technology Officer at FORE, and our other founders were key members of the company in the technology strategy and software engineering. Netronome was started in Pittsburgh in 2005 with funding from two of the founders of FORE Systems, one of whom remains our Chairman of the Board, venture capital, and with help from the Pittsburgh Technology Council.

TEQ: What was the vision of the founders at the time?

Proch: Netronome was founded on the promise of flow-based processing of traffic, open networks and virtualized networking functions in accelerated commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) servers, all of which are fundamental to new technology areas that are catching on today, including software-defined networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). These new technology areas and the more overarching move of computing and storage resources from private enterprises into the “cloud” is causing a tectonic shift in network architectures and networking devices. As happened in the generalized computer market, Netronome’s vision is that networking and security devices are transitioning away from incredibly complex and expensive customized hardware and software—as was the norm for networking devices—toward more general, commoditized platforms and open operating systems. Netronome realized, though,  that standardized COTS server platforms were not powerful enough to keep up the incredible growth in bandwidth and numbers of flows that we are experiencing in networks today, and that specialized processors are required to deal with these networking and security computing workloads.

TEQ: Tell us a little bit more about what’s happening in computer networks and how that affects your company vision?

Proch: The increasingly “networked” nature of everything in our daily lives has created a situation where it is no longer sufficient for devices in computing infrastructure to simply forward packets blindly. Rather, our communications network needs to be capable of intelligently and securely processing every piece of data to ascertain its nature rather than just its destination. At the same time as we need the ability to process traffic more intelligently, the bandwidth in our networks is growing like mad. Estimates say that in 2015, we will have a zetabyte of data traversing our networks… that’s a 1 with 21 zeroes. This incredible growth is fueled by your PCs, streaming movie downloads, tablets, gaming, and mobile computing as examples.

Just like there are computer processors that power our everyday tools like laptops and mobile phones, there are also very powerful processors that power and secure the networks that run our large data centers, the cloud networks, and even the Internet. To realize our vision, at Netronome, we build high-speed computing processors specifically designed for networking and security workloads. These processors are used to make networks faster and more secure at a time when more users and devices are coming on-line, causing networking speeds and overall throughput to explode.

TEQ: Where are these processors used?

Proch: While the processors that we use every day in our personal computers have one to two brains, or “cores” as they are called, Netronome’s processors are very different. Netronome’s processors pack up to 216 processing cores on a single chip. That means that Netronome’s processors can process more than 200 billion bits of data per second while offering the capability to not only forward traffic based on its destination, but also look at all of the traffic intelligently and securely to understand its content, rather than only its destination.

These processors are used primarily in extremely high-speed networks like the hyperscale cloud data centers, carrier infrastructure, and enterprise Fortune 500 companies. Netronome’s solutions include flow processors, accelerated network interface cards (NICs) for COTS server platforms, and reference hardware platforms that scale to 400 Gbps. Along with these hardware offerings, Netronome has a variety of flow processing software that makes integrating Netronome’s processors into any solution a seamless process.

Target applications for Netronome’s technology are in cyber security, network analytics, test and measurement equipment, and intelligent switching applications: any type of high-speed networking and security applications where data need to be deeply analyzed at very high throughputs.

TEQ: How big is Netronome and do you have other locations?

Proch: In total the company is 210 employees with 90 in Pittsburgh, and we are growing like crazy. We also have locations in the heart of Silicon Valley in Santa Clara, Calif., as well as Boxborough, Mass.

TEQ: Are you guys hiring in the area?

Proch: We sure are! Netronome is truly a Pittsburgh success story. The company has recently opened a state-of-the-art site in the Cranberry Twp. area and currently has 15 openings in Pittsburgh, mainly in hardware engineering, software engineering, and manufacturing. SEND US RESUMES!

TEQ: What else is going on in this market in the Pittsburgh area?

Proch: Two of Netronome’s major customers are opening
sites in the area so that they can be in close proximity to our technology.  It’s a guarantee, that without Netronome’s presence in the area, that these top-tier, global, cyber security vendors would not have a presence here—and that’s good for Pittsburgh. But now, Netronome needs to fight these companies for recruits.

Read the entire issue of TEQ online.

Tech 50 Finalist Preview: Innovator of the Year

Don’t miss Tech 50 on November 1.

The Tech 50 Awards gala event is only a few weeks away so be sure to learn a little bit about each finalist beforehand. Below, are brief descriptions of finalists in the Life Sciences of the Year category. More information on each finalist can be found by navigating to each company’s website. Look for a preview of each Tech 50 category on TechBurgher every other business day until the event on November 1.

For more information on the Tech 50 event or to register, contact the PTC Events Team at (412) 918-4229.

Aquion Energy, Inc.

Aquion Energy is developing and commercializing a safe, reliable and affordable battery for stationary energy
storage applications. Aquion recently selected the
Westmoreland RIDC facility as the site for its full-scale battery manufacturing plant, opening in 2013.

Bayer MaterialScience LLC

Bayer MaterialScience manufactures high-tech polymer materials and develops innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The company invested $17M in green renovations to its Pittsburgh headquarters, which recently garnered LEED-CI gold level certification.

CombineNet, Inc.

CombineNet is the leader in advanced sourcing and spending management technology solutions for today’s global supply chains and business, with 21 U.S. patents and 12 years of market experience in delivering solutions to nearly every industry.

Epiphany Solar Water Systems, LLC

Epiphany SWS designs and assembles concentrated solar-powered water purification systems. The solution can provide clean water from contaminated or sea water in volumes from 100 to 100,000 gallons per day economically and reliably.


kWantera provides leading-edge energy management software to large commercial buildings, industrial
manufacturers, universities, hospitals, data centers and other business applications. kWantera’s Analytics
product analyzes large volumes of data and uncovers hidden anomalies in the power infrastructure that lead to
significant cost savings.

Liquid X Printed Metals

A Carnegie Mellon University spin-out company, Liquid X Printed Metals is an advanced materials manufacturer of functional metallic inks that can be printed and, upon heating, convert to metal films or lines with conductivities close to that of bulk metal, even at nanometer-scale thickness.

Metis Secure Solutions

Metis Secure Solutions delivers breakthrough in-building and outdoor emergency communications and notification systems for office buildings, industrial and research facilities, and university campuses.

nanoGriptech Inc.

Spun off from Carnegie Mellon University in 2009, nanoGriptech is developing and mass-producing contamination-resistant adhesive materials inspired by the foot hairs of geckos. The startup was recently awarded a National Science Foundation Phase II SBIR grant to optimize the mass production of biologically-inspired micro/nano-scale adhesives.


Netronome is a fables semiconductor company and leader in flow processing. Netronome’s solutions include flow processing silicon, software, tools and acceleration platforms that scale from 1 to 200 Gbps.

PPG Industries Inc., Architectural Coatings

PPG Industries’ vision is to continue to be the world’s leading coatings and specialty products company. PPG’s Digital Color Platform digitizes the consumer paint color selection and purchase process like never before. Proprietary technology gives consumers the most powerful suite of color tools available to them on any device.

RE2, Inc.

RE2 creates innovative and cost-effective robotic solutions for warfighters and first responders. RE2’s modular mobile manipulators provide operators with greater dexterity and control than with any other robot on the market.


Seegrid was founded in 2003 to bring robotic vision-guided technology to the materials handling industry. Seegrid robots are revolutionizing material movement in the manufacturing and distribution environments.

Hey Yinz Guys…Its Friday!

It’s a Good Friday all right. Perfect timing for another edition of “Super Rad Pittsburgh Tech News Update”! The latest news we couldn’t squeeze in until now. It was worth the wait:

Wombat Announces Cymbel Corp to New Channel Partner Program

Wombat Security Technologies, a leading provider of cyber security training solutions, is announcing their channel partner program which enables IT security solution providers to offer Wombat’s assessment and training solutions to their prospects and customers. After experiencing triple digit growth in 2011, Wombat developed this program to improve the reach and availability of their solutions to the organizations that need their security awareness training programs to provide measurable positive behavior change. Aaron Reibstein, President and CEO at Cymbel Corporation, Wombat’s first official partner in their new channel partner program said, “Wombat’s simulated attack service and interactive training modules are very effective and offered at a great price. Their innovative uses of game theory and web services solve many of the limitations found in traditional security awareness training.”

Netronome to Build World’s Highest Performance Flow Processors

Netronome, the leading developer of flow processors, today announced an extension of its strategic relationship with Intel Corp. in which Netronome’s next-generation flow processors will be manufactured on Intel’s leading 22nm process. Netronome will offer the world’s first flow processors based on Intel’s market-defining 3-D Tri-Gate transistor technology and will shatter system benchmarks for flow processor performance, power and cost in network and security applications. “Access to the Intel Custom Foundry is a key differentiator for Netronome and enables them to take advantage of the industry-leading performance and power efficiency of Intel’s 22nm 3-D Tri-Gate technology,” said Linley Gwennap, principal analyst at The Linley Group.


Outfit Your Office with Furniture on the Cheap

ECI Telecom is closing their Pittsburgh office. They called Techburgher to find out if we knew of any start-ups/new companies who might be interested in buying any of their equipment. They have an office of 140 people, so the equipment includes…

  • 132 cubes
  • Chairs (for the cubes)
  • More Chairs (from the conference rooms, which are only 1-yr old)
  • Whiteboards
  • Steel case bookcases
  • Cabinets, etc.

Richard Wilkie is with ECI, and is the point person if anyone wants to purchase something.




TrueFit Keeps Pumping Out More Apps!

TrueFit, a leading innovation firm which helps entrepreneurial start-ups and large enterprises bring new product ideas to market, and Act Right Productions LLC, a Nevada-based technology company, today announced the launch of the Timed Text app for iPad & iPhone. The Timed Text app allows users to schedule timed text messages at specific dates and times. Unlike more simple reminder-oriented apps, Timed Text ensures automatic delivery, once date, time, and contact are selected. The Act Right Productions team partnered with TrueFit to conceptualize the screen by screen flow, look and feel of the app, and to develop a smooth, easy user experience.

A unique feature of the app includes the ability to send texts even when the phone is in the ‘off’ position. Users can view scheduled texts, and set up schedules for future texts. The owners of Act Right Productions, Eddie Canonico and Mike Clark, noted, “Our goal is to help users schedule important notifications in advance. There are countless examples of how Timed Text can be valuable, such as a happy birthday or anniversary, wishing congratulations, remembering a business meeting, and many others. We’re very happy with the TrueFit team. We are excited to work with them on future iterations of Timed Text, as well as other app concepts.”

Member Spotlight: Meet the members of the Pittsburgh Technology Council







The Pittsburgh Technology Council has more than 1,300 member companies throughout SWPA. We’ve got some of the most innovative tech ventures here in our backyard. We thought it would be most excellent to put a small spotlight on a handful of our members each and every week, so you can see the great diversity and talent that we have out there.  We encourage you to learn more about these technology companies:


Adhere Solutions is a Google Enterprise Partner and authorized Google Apps Reseller providing products and services that help organizations accelerate their adoption of Google technologies and cloud computing. Adhere’s team of consultants help customers leverage Google’s Enterprise Search products, Google Maps, and Google Apps to improve access to information, productivity, and collaboration.

CommVault is an enterprise data and information management software company.  CommVault helps enterprises manage data growth, cut costs, and reduce risk by simplifying data management functions through a single platform and architecture.

Empire: Investigation & Security specializes in technical surveillance counter-measures (TSCM). It provides expert technical consulting in the areas of privacy protection, vulnerability analysis, the protection of intellectual property, and other related areas of concern.

ICON Consultants, LLC provides consulting and engineering services related to robotics and automation.

JibberJobber started out as a job search spreadsheet to track and organize a job search, and quickly evolved into a long-term relationship manager for your personal career management.

Netronome is a leading developer of highly programmable semiconductor products that are used for intelligent flow processing in network and communications devices.  Netronome’s solutions include network flow processors and acceleration cards that scale to more than 20 Gbps.

Presidio Networked Solutions is a leading provider of business enablement solutions delivered through advanced IT infrastructure and managed outsourcing solutions, focused on advanced technologies for enterprise, commercial and government customers. Presidio Networked Solutions’ comprehensive portfolio consists of unified communications, wireless, security, optical, telepresence, storage, managed and hosted services as well as supporting network, systems and Microsoft infrastructure solutions.

Solutionary Inc. is an information security company that delivers a wide range of monitoring and managed security solutions and professional services to reduce risk, increase security and ensure compliance for medium-to-large businesses.  The company’s services are based on next-generation security intelligence and offer true security and compliance management.

ThoughtForm Inc. specializes in making complicated information clear, vivid, and engaging. The ThoughtForm team is made up of designers, writers, illustrators, and software engineers who love to explain complex topics in elegant visual form.  ThoughtForm helps organizations with a variety of communication challenges, from developing Web sites to creating branding programs.

Wizzard Software Corp. provides digital media publishing tools, worldwide distribution and monetization services to podcasters.  Wizzard is the largest podcasting network in the world with 1.4 Billion podcasts downloads.

Netronome Secures $23 Million in Series D Funding

Netronome, a developer of network flow processors, today announced it has closed a $23 million Series D round of funding. The funds will accelerate Netronome’s growth in the rapidly expanding network flow processor market. With the new investment, Netronome will scale technical support for numerous customer design wins and expand global operations in sales, marketing and manufacturing.

The oversubscribed round was led by new investor DFJ Esprit, and included previous investors Raptor Group, Tudor Ventures and Top Technology. The round also included investment from industry luminaries – FORE Systems founders Robert Sansom and Eric Cooper, and Analysys founder David Cleevely.

“Netronome’s award winning network flow processors have changed the way people are building intelligent networking products,” said Krishna Visvanathan, partner at DFJ Esprit and new member of the Netronome board of directors. “Netronome’s record revenue growth and new design wins at top-tier networking OEMs confirm the momentum and make clear the opportunity to remain the leading provider of network flow processors. We look forward to working with the management team to drive this next phase of growth.”

The new funding comes during a period of record growth for the company, including a five-fold increase in annual revenue and five consecutive quarters with record sales. Netronome plans to more than double its revenue in 2010. In addition to its accelerated growth from current products, Netronome recently announced it began shipping its new flagship product, the NFP-3240, to customers in late 2009. Customer design wins include shared service blades in switches and routers, 3G and LTE wireless infrastructure, security appliances and virtualized servers. The products resulting from these top-tier network equipment OEM partnerships will reach production in the second half of 2010.

“Many customers share our vision for intelligent and secure networking platforms based on x86 processors. More importantly they recognize that network flow processors are the key component in scaling these designs,” said Niel Viljoen, founder and CEO of Netronome. “This funding will allow us to successfully manage our growth by providing the additional sales support, design assistance and manufacturing supply required by our increasing number of design wins.”