Starting with the Right People and Organization
Case In Point: Edward Iacobucci at Citrix
In the fall of 1998, Edward Iacobucci, the founder of Citrix Systems, Inc., a company based in Ft. Lauderdale, FL far from Silicon Valley, was awarded Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in the Software and Information Services category. Before starting Citrix in 1989, Iacobucci was heading IBM’s operating system development team in Boca Raton, FL.
IBM and Microsoft were in a joint venture to co-develop OS/2, an application that was subsequently replaced by the Windows operating system. It was during the development of OS/2 that Iacobucci saw a way to allow any platform of computers to work with each other. This “thin-client” system required very little in the way of hardware function. Basically, any computer, through a thin-client system, could run high-end applications off of a server.
After getting turned down at IBM to develop a thin-client project, Iacobucci packed his bags and brought along a team of developers from IBM. They put together a business plan and raised $16 million from brand-name Silicon Valley-based venture capitalist firms like Sevin Rosen, Kleiner Perkins, and Mayfield. Less than two years later Citrix had 40 employees developing software. At the time of their 1995 initial public offering, they had 80 employees, almost $15 million in sales, and reached a market capitalization of $1.1 billion in 1996. By 2002, Citirx had 1,670 employees and $527.4 million in sales.
Iacobucci convinced a team of leading developers at IBM’s Boca Raton’s prestigious “Skunk Works” to leave. Andy Stergiades was one developer at IBM who followed said this about Iacobucci, “The way he thinks is very high and broad. He was kind of an entrepreneur even at IBM. An incredibly high caliber of people followed him without a lot of assurance. People wanted to make a real impact on the industry.”