In February Vikas Aggarwal , right, sold his Alexander Road-based firm, Fidelia Technology, to Network General, of San Jose, California, for an undisclosed sum. Fidelia’s major product, NetVigil software, locates and identifies problems on data networks and Internet sites.
“Fidelia had about 70 customers and had been profitable for the past three years,” says Aggarwal. “All of our employees (including me) became part of the 600+ employees at Network General. Some employees are relocating to San Jose as needed.”
When Aggarwal founded his firm in 2000, some customers had been using his products for more than a decade. Aggarwal is an alumnus of JvNC.net, the Internet service hosted by Princeton University in the 1980s. Back then he devised such freeware packages as Nocol, an early network management tool. Early customers for the paid product, which had a selling price in five figures, were Sony Online (the videogame company) and Yale University
Network General, a 19-year-old firm, claims more than 13,000 customers.
Because NetVigil works on Linux and Solaris and NT platforms, it is appropriate for those who want to change their operating systems. “Most products focus on either finding the fault or performance monitoring,” said Aggarwal in 2002. “We designed it from the beginning to do both. We can take data, store it long term, and do trend analysis and be proactive about what will go down.”
Aggarwal compared NetVigil to how an MRI surveys your body in an organic way, as opposed to having X-rays taken of different body parts. “Most other products are composed of five network management tools, but our product looks at your system end to end,” he said then. “With IT staffing at lean levels in today’s economy, having multiple products for fault and performance management is no longer a viable option.”
Aggarwal grew up near Delhi, India, and earned his mechanical engineering degree from a regional college. He has a master’s in computer science from Stevens Institute, and joined JvNCnet along with another Stevens graduate, Sergio Heker. Heker morphed JvNCnet into a private company, Global Enterprise Services, and sold it to Verio, a Colorado-based Internet Service Provider.
Aggarwal stayed at Verio and had moved to Denver to be vice president of overlay engineering when, at a party, he met a potential investor in his NetVigil idea. The investor persuaded him to quit Verio and start his own company in Denver. When the Denver economy soured, he moved back to West Windsor with his wife and two preschool children. His company has 15 to 20 workers here and in India.
Aggarwal had always expected to sell his company rather than go public. “Public is a tough word right now,” he said in 2002. “If the company grows, we would expect it to get sold.”
Fidelia Technology Inc., 300 Alexander Park, Suite 205, Princeton 08543; 609-452-2225; fax, 609-452-2662. Vikas Aggarwal, CTO and founder. www.fidelia.com