Irfan Ali

Irfan Ali is president and chief executive officer of Lambda OpticalSystems, an advanced optical network solutions provider. Ali leads the company, applying his extensive experience in the telecommunications industry to manage Lambda OpticalSystems’ continued growth as a provider of all optical switches and sophisticated optical network management tools to telecommunications carriers, government agencies, and research institutions.

Prior to joining Lambda OpticalSystems, Ali served as president of CommWorks Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of 3Com. Prior to this position, Ali was vice president of marketing for 3Com’s carrier networks business unit, where he led development of the company’s global business, with particular focus on Asia Pacific and Latin America.

Previously, Ali worked for Newbridge Networks, Inc. (acquired by Alcatel in May 2000), where he first served as assistant vice president, building the ATM and frame relay businesses for the company. Subsequently, he served as vice president of marketing for Newbridge Networks, Inc. Prior to that, Ali worked for Nortel, both as part of the scientific staff and in market development. He was also founder of the ATM Forum. Ali holds a master’s degree in business administration and a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering from the Southern Methodist University.

Gerald Butters

Gerald Butters is an acknowledged dignitary in the communications industry. His career, spanning more than 39 years, included appointments as president of NTI (a Nortel Networks US subsidiary), chairman of the board of AGCS (a joint venture of GTE and AT&T), president of Lucent Technologies’ Global Public Networks, and president of Lucent’s North American marketing, sales, and services. While at Lucent, he formed the Optical Networking Group and became its first president.

Butters retired from Lucent Technologies in 2000 as senior vice president of strategy, marketing, and business development. He continues to serve as a board member and advisor to several innovative companies. He is also a fellow of the International Engineering Consortium.

Cliff Higgerson
Partner, ComVentures

Cliff Higgerson has more than 35 years of experience in research, consulting, planning, and venture investing. Combining the market insight of an analyst with a keen ability to identify blockbuster technologies early in their development, Higgerson has backed some of the most successful companies in the communications industry. He focuses his investments on telecommunications with an emphasis on carrier systems and equipment.

Recent investments and board seats include Astute Networks, Hatteras Networks, Kotura, Ygnition, and Xtera Communications. Prior investments and board seats include such industry leaders as Advanced Fibre Communications (Nasdaq: AFCI); America Online; Ciena (Nasdaq: CIEN); Digital Island (acquired by Cable & Wireless); Digital Microwave, now Stratex Networks (Nasdaq: STXN); Tellabs (Nasdaq: TLAB); MCI (Nasdaq: MCIP); Octel (NYSE:OTL); and Tut Systems (Nasdaq: TUTS).

Prior to ComVentures, Cliff was a general partner with Vanguard Venture Partners. He has also served as a managing partner and Director of Research for Hambrecht & Quist, and as a special limited partner and Director of the Communications Group for L.F. Rothschild, Unterberg, Towbin.

Cliff holds an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Illinois.

Amra Tareen
Partner, Sevin Rosen Funds

Since joining Sevin Rosen Funds in 2000, Amra Tareen has worked with telecommunications companies. Her previous experience includes management positions at leading communications companies Lucent Technologies and Ascend Communications, where she played a key role in growing Ascend’s DSL business.

She currently sits on the boards of Clovis and Lemur Networks.

Tareen’s principal business strength, an in-depth understanding of specific technologies coupled with an expertise in strategic planning, product positioning, and customer relationships, is the rule rather than the exception at SRF. “We’re here to help our portfolio companies to be successful,” says Tareen. “It’s so easy for people to focus on the nitty-gritty of technology and lose sight of the other elements of a healthy venture.”