Cisco buys Reactivity for $135 Million

Super quick post this morning, but I’ll flesh this out later today.

However, I had to say a big Congratulations to the entire Reactivity team, and in particular, the close friends of mine who are founders. John Lilly, Brian Roddy, Bryan Rollins & Mike Hanson, a very special congratulations. Mike & Brian, I think this means your going to be working for Cisco for a while. 🙂

Here is the official press release from the Reactivity website.

Reactivity was in the XML Gateway market, which means that they made a secure, fast box that would allow the routing of XML messages. For modern distributed development, which involves exchanging messages in the XML format, a new level of security and management software is needed.

I feel very close to Reactivity, even though officially I was never an employee. The company was founded while I was roommates with John Lilly, and I even attended one of the earliest (if not the earliest) classic Silicon Valley lunches where the model was sketched out on a napkin. The idea was to build a technology business around the very best people coming out of top schools – people who wanted to start their own companies, but hadn’t found the right mix of people or ideas to get going.

Reactivity’s original mail server was my old PowerMac 8500, and I believe my old color laser printer went into the company as well. Later in life, as a venture capitalist, I was able to consult and help advise structuring during their Series B. I always felt good when I could be helpful to my friends and to the company.

Reactivity went through several generations. It began as a stand-alone product consultant and innovation factory, incubating people and startups. They were the hot place to work in the late 1990s for smart, savvy Stanford & MIT engineers and entrepreneurs. Zaplet came out of the company, as did Raplix (which became CenterRun). They became VC backed, getting funding from Peter Fenton and Mitch Kapoor at Accel. In the downturn, the company re-started with a focus on product, and their new product and platform was born.

A special congratulations to the team again. What a great way to start a day. I’m going to have an extra spring in my step all through the week.

Update:  Some nice words from John Lilly, on his personal blog, about the acquisition and about this post.  Funny.  I forgot the laser printer was called the 800 lb. Gorilla.  It was an Apple Color Laserwriter 16/600.  It was HUGE and LOUD.  Funny.

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