CSE Spinout Arbor Networks Acquired in Tech Transfer Success Story

Farnam Jahanian and Robert Malan

In a story that demonstrates the value of commercializing university research, Arbor Networks, the Internet security and network management company founded by Professor Farnam Jahanian and then-doctoral student Robert Malan, will be acquired by Tektronix Communications, a division of Danaher. Arbor, which has claimed a leading position in the Internet security services field and has experienced rapid growth, will remain a separate operating company alongside sister business units Tektronix Communications, Fluke Networks, and Visual Network Systems.

Jahanian and Malan formed Arbor Networks in 2000, based on findings and techniques developed throughout two research projects led by Jahanian at the University of Michigan: the Internet Performance Measurement and Analysis (IMPA) project in the mid-1990s, and the Lighthouse Project in 2000. Much of the early research that led to the formation of Arbor was published in a 1997 paper by Craig Labovitz, Malan, and Jahanian, entitled "Internet Routing Instability." This paper was recently recognized with an ACM-SIGCOMM Test of Time Award as an outstanding body of research whose contents are still a vibrant and useful contribution today.

Jahanian worked with the U-M Office of Technology Transfer to facilitate the commercialization of technology for Arbor, and took a two-year leave of absence from the University to lead Arbor's management team and raise capital from venture firms and strategic investors. The technology transfer program was instrumental in facilitating the commercialization of technology for Arbor, providing a clear example of how the innovation economy can create jobs and economic growth when universities, government, and entrepreneurs align.

David Munson, Dean of the U-M College of Engineering, commented on the significance Arbor has had in demonstrating the viability of a regional innovation economy. "The launch of Arbor Networks, by Farnam and Rob, was a precursor to the vibrant entrepreneurial culture that we now enjoy at the University of Michigan and in Ann Arbor. Ten years ago, who would have guessed that an industry-leading network security company would be born in the automotive state? Arbor Networks represents a major success for U-M and the economy of Southeastern Michigan."

Today, Arbor has 275 employees nationwide and is a leading provider of security and network management solutions for global business networks, including more than 70 percent of the world's Internet service providers and many of the largest enterprise networks. Its R&D operations are centered in Ann Arbor. Arbor recently made a long-term commitment to the Ann Arbor site, and plans are to continue investing in the site as the focal point for Arbor's Internet security R&D.

"The remarkable team that we brought together at Arbor has ultimately been responsible for a seismic shift in the Internet security landscape despite ever-changing cyber challenges. I am particularly proud of the University's role in enabling Arbor's success and in Arbor's role in regional economic development and job growth," said Jahanian.

Read More:

Tektronix Communications Signs Definitive Agreement to Acquire Arbor Networks - Arbor Networks Press Release
Arbor Networks Acquisition Is a Tale of Two Cities – and a Strategic Move Into Wider World of Wireless - Xconomy
University of Michigan Spinoff Arbor Networks Sold to Tektronix Communications in Major IT Security Deal - AnnArbor.com
Tektronix Communications to Buy Arbor Networks - Boston Globe
Tektronix Buys Into Security

Posted: August 13, 2010