Dr. Hemant Kanakia
Dr. Hemant Kanakia was born in Bombay, India in 1951. After receiving a degree in Engineering from Bombay's premier Indian Institute of Technology, he borrowed enough money to travel to the United States and study at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Although the first several years were difficult, he was able to save enough money by working at several jobs to bring his fiancée to the U.S. Both he and his wife completed degrees at Case and were offered opportunities to study at Stanford University. Upon completion of his PhD in Electrical Engineering at Stanford, Dr. Kanakia went to work for AT&TBell Laboratories. For seven years, Dr. Kanakia led an elite research team composed of AT&T's leading engineers that designed advanced data network switching technology. The research performed by that team developed into some of the core technology of today's Internet.
In 1996, his wife accepted the invitation to become a professor and together they moved to Washington D.C. Later that summer, Dr. Kanakia founded Torrent Networking Technologies and in his own words, "It was a typical pre-dot-com start-up." In the beginning, acquiring venture capital was a challenge; however, Dr. Kanakia's vision and previous research experience propelled Torrent into the limelight and almost immediately it began to receive attention from several major equipment manufacturers. Less than two years after it was created, Torrent was sold for $500 million. Dr. Kanakia continued to serve as Torrent's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer through January of 1999. Later that year, Ericsson purchased Torrent and it became the core of Ericsson's global IP strategy and became the IP Infrastructure division.
Under Dr. Kanakia's leadership, Torrent assembled the premier high technology engineering and management teams in the Washington, D.C. area. From its inception in his home in University Park, Maryland, Torrent/Ericsson grew to over one hundred and fifty employees located in the Silver Spring, Maryland headquarters, the Research Triangle Park, North Carolina development facility, and the numerous sales offices around the world. In May of 1999, KPMG awarded Dr. Kanakia with the 1999 High Tech Entrepreneur of the Year Award for his impressive contribution to the region's technology industry.
Dr. Kanakia has gone on to start two more companies, Photuris, Inc., an Optical Networking Equipment start-up and the other, Gemplex Internet Inc. is an International IP Service Company building a global backbone and offering value-added services to 32 metropolitan areas around the globe. Currently, he sits on boards of PriceHawk, Photuris, Inc., Pipal, Inc., ViaGate technologies and is a private investor in start-ups focusing on Internet Infrastructure companies. Dr. Kanakia credits the American system for providing him with opportunities and allowing him to live out his dreams.
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