Loris Degioanni: What we did was, we created a new project based on the same code base. It was called Wireshark. This was 2006. Wireshark was an immediate success. We put a bunch of resources behind it. We told Gerald, “Just keep working on this and make the community happy.”
After 13 years, Wireshark is still one of the most successful open source projects in the history of open source. It has a huge community. It has a huge backing from many companies around the world. It has a vibrant community of developers.
Based on it, we started building a business around this open source community. Since neither of us had any business experience nor any kind of connections or credibility in Silicon Valley, we bootstrapped the company. We just rented an office. We started working. We did consultancy in the beginning to pay for our minimal salary.
We started having a few people to build products. We managed to turn the business into a product business. We grew it nicely for a few years until in 2010, we were acquired by Riverbed. My first business was created in 2005 and was acquired in 2010. We’d reached around 30 people. It was a relatively small acquisition.
If you can imagine, for somebody who had never worked before, it was completely life-changing. For the first time in 2010, I had a real job in the sense that somebody else was paying a salary to me. It was a strange feeling because it had never happened to me before. I was always the one who was doing it free or was paying somebody else.
Sramana Mitra: What year did you sell the company?
Loris Degioanni: At the end of 2010. At that point, myself and my team became part of a company called Riverbed. It’s a successful company based in San Francisco. One of the founders of Riverbed was essentially the creator of TCP Dam. It was the original inspiration for me when I started my project.
Joining Riverbed was a life-changing event for me and my family. It was a continuity in what I had built. It was the chance to work with the person who was a big mentor to me. I went to Riverbed very enthusiastically. I spent two years at Riverbed as the CTO of one of their business units.
I learned a lot while being there. I actually learned running a business and scaling a business. I worked with the leadership team there. It was definitely very practical. It gave me the opportunity to make lots of friends at Riverbed.
Riverbed was a great company with a lot of smart people. Sitting around these people and absorbing lessons from them was very important in my career.
Sramana Mitra: By this time, you had moved up to the San Francisco Bay Area?
Loris Degioanni: Both John and I were in Davis when I arrived. When we got acquired, Riverbed opened an office here in Davis. The majority of the team moved to the Bay Area. I stayed in Davis where I still live. Even if our office is in downtown San Francisco, I commute every day by train.
The main reason why I’m still in Davis is that in parallel to the adventure with CACE, I also had a personal adventure. I met my wife Stacey here in Davis. We got married. We had twins in 2010 right while I was negotiating with Riverbed for the acquisition.
I remember we were at the hospital with Stacey delivering the twins. John came to the hospital and knocked on the door to make me sign papers.
Sramana Mitra: Big life changes all at once.
Loris Degioanni: It was a very memorable part of my life. Definitely, a lot of pain during that time. I had a lot of sleepless nights for all my children – my biological child and for my company. It’s those times in your life when you remember just being tired but happy.
This is another thing is that having kids and having a company is similar. You get this gratification and excitement. I didn’t want to move from Davis.