Meraki Founders Say Bye-Bye To Cisco

Just two years after Cisco Systems acquired red-hot, cloud-based networking provider Meraki for $1.2 billion, all three founders have left the company.

Meraki founders Sanjit Biswas, John Bicket and Hans Robertson all have indicated on their LinkedIn profiles that they are no longer employees at Cisco.

The departure of the trio was first reported by blogger Brad Reese, research manager for Alliance Networking LLC, a networking reseller based in Dallas.

[Related: Cisco Beefs Up Meraki With New Cloud-Based Management, Now Pitching It To Enterprises]

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Cisco released a statement to CRN to confirm the departures:

"Cisco can confirm that Sanjit Biswas, John Bicket, and Hans Robertson have left Cisco. Cisco Senior Vice President Rob Soderbery, who oversees Cisco's enterprise segment, including cloud managed networking (Meraki), will continue leading the group. Todd Nightingale is the Vice President and General Manager of the cloud managed networking group (Meraki), reporting into Rob Soderbery," Cisco said in the statement.

"The fact that Cisco paid $1.2 billion for this company when they were $120 million in sales, in my opinion, they were buying the talent and to have these guys leave so quickly, for me, it's somewhat surprising," said a Cisco partner executive who declined to be named during an interview with CRN.

The executive said his Cisco-Meraki business is strong, although he questions how the sales pipeline will look in the future.

"Who's going to be the driving force that Biswas, Robertson [and] Bicket were?" he asked. "These guys started out as hungry MIT guys and made a billion dollars [after the Cisco acquisition]."

Biswas, who was vice president and general manager of cloud networking at Cisco, said he is "taking a break" as of December, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Robertson, who was previously vice president of product management for cloud networking at Cisco, said he is "taking a little time off," as of January, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Bicket, former vice president of engineering at Cisco, said on his LinkedIn profile that he is "taking some time off" as of January 2015.

Biswas and Bicket, two Massachusetts Institute of Technology PhD students, founded the company with Robertson, also an MIT graduate, based, in part, on what was called the MIT roofnet project.

The departures come just as Cisco is moving aggressively to remake the highly regarded SMB cloud-optimized wireless product into one that is capable of managing enterprise networks.

Just last month, Cisco expanded Meraki, including centralized monitoring and management for switching, wireless, location analytics and Intelligent WAN/routing.