The Secrets of Success: How to Become a Technological Entrepreneur

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

WORCESTER, Mass. - Worcester Polytechnic Institute's Venture Forum, devoted to developing technology-based entrepreneurship, will begin its 2000-2001 season Tuesday, Sept. 19, at 6:30 p.m. with Surya Panditi, chief executive officer of Avici Systems of North Billerica, Mass. Panditi's talk is titled "Starting a Business."

A developer of next generation Internet routers, Avici Systems recently led the pack of 10 other initial public offerings on the busiest IPO day since last October. On the first day of trading following its IPO in August, Avici shares rose from $65.75 to $96.75. The company currently has a market value of $4.45 billion. Avici competes with Cisco Systems and Juniper Networks in the market for the most powerful computer networking equipment.

"With the number of Web sites doubling every two months and with predictions of $116 billion in electronic transactions over the Internet this year, the need for circuit-based technology increases every day," says CEO Panditi. "Systems originally designed only to carry voice are now expected to transfer huge amounts of data and provide the most up-to-date support for video conferencing, exponentially increasing e-commerce applications as well as a host of other technologically advanced services. Avici was founded specifically to address these critical infrastructure needs."

Panditi has more than 14 years of experience in the networking and telecommunications industry. Prior to Avici, he served as vice president and general manager of the LAN Infrastructure Business Unit at US Robotics, where he was responsible for the development, worldwide management and marketing of the Ethernet and ATM switching business. In this position, he increased company revenues to a $30 million run rate. Panditi has held other senior management positions at Ungermann-Bass, Telco Systems and Intel and earned an MBA from Wharton School of Management at the University of Pennsylvania.

Venture Forum's monthly programs take place on the third Tuesday of the month in WPI's Kinnicutt Lecture Hall, room 115, in Salisbury Laboratories. The program begins at 6:30 p.m. with registration at 6. Admission is $5 for members, $10 for non-members and free for those with a WPI identification card.

Created in 1990 to promote entrepreneurial spirit and to serve those who engage in technology-based enterprises, WPI Venture Forum provides advice, support and education. The forum fosters entrepreneurship through its monthly programs, business plan contest, monthly newsletter and weekly radio show, airing each Saturday from 5-7 p.m. on WTAG (580 on the AM dial).

Part of the Collaborative for Entrepreneurship & Innovation in the Department of Management at WPI, the forum serves those seeking to begin technology-based businesses; founders, presidents and senior managers of start-up or early-stage companies; senior company managers starting or making a transition from one mode of operation to another; and employees leaving large companies due to a reduction in force or to start businesses. Its members are all volunteers from the local business community: entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, accountants, lawyers, consultants and other service providers as well as members of the WPI faculty, staff and alumni. It is directed by a volunteer executive board made up of WPI alumni and other leaders of regional businesses and service organizations.

For more information, contact WPI Venture Forum, Collaborative for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Department of Management, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 100 Institute Road, Worcester, MA 01609, telephone 508-831-5075, e-mail ventureforum@wpi.edu or on the Web at www.wpiventureforum.org.