The Canadian-born Stanford computer science prof has quietly invested in nearly two dozen tech startups over the years, but he appears to be taking a more active role in one of his portfolio’s firms. David Cheriton is a founder and chief scientist at Apstra, which develops software for managing networking devices from multiple vendors. (Or, to use the company’s description, it builds “the first and only vendor-agnostic, intent-driven distributed operating system.”)
It’s brainy stuff, no doubt, which is not out of character for Cheriton. He made his initial billion by writing Google its first cheque—for $100,000 in 1998. He used the money he made to invest in various technology startups, including his own Arista Networks, which he co-founded in 2004. It went public in 2014, resulting in another huge payday for the professor.
Cheriton’s extensive investments have created at least one conflict, however. One Cheriton-backed venture ended up suing Arista in a contract dispute, leading to his resignation from Arista’s board.
Updated Thursday, November 9, 2017