Viptela is now part of Cisco.


Viptela is a Sequoia-funded startup that is fundamentally transforming how Fortune 500 companies build and secure their network infrastructure.

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Praveen Akkiraju, CEO

Praveen Akkiraju is Chief Executive Officer of Viptela, the leader in Software Defined WAN technology. His team is building a network fabric which helps customers to dramatically simplify the infrastructure connecting the network edge to applications in the cloud. Praveen has built several billion dollar businesses in data center and enterprise networking over the course of his 25 year career. Prior to Viptela, as CEO of VCE, a division of Dell EMC, he led the converged infrastructure provider to the No.1 market share position, while tripling revenues to $2.1B and turning it around to profitability. Prior to VCE, he spent more than 19 years at Cisco building and leading every major routing platform business. In his last role, he was senior vice president & general manager of Cisco’s Enterprise Networking group, where he rebuilt the strategy and business for the multi-billion dollar ISR and ASR product portfolio. Praveen holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Louisiana State University and is an alumnus of the Harvard Business School. He serves on the Advisory board of Mist, Mosiaxsoft and the non-profit Industry Initiatives for Science & Math Education (IISME).

Amir Khan, Co-founder and CEO

Amir Khan, Co-founder & President

Amir Khan is a 20+ year veteran of the networking industry with a strong track record of driving multi-billion dollar product lines in both enterprise and service provider segments. Prior to Viptela, Amir led the enterprise routing business & product management for MX and M series routers at Juniper. Before Juniper he served as Director of Product Management at Cisco, leading the critical components of IOS like MPLS, routing, QoS and multicast technologies for switching and routing products. He was also responsible for product strategy of the next generation campus solutions for wired and wireless product lines with over $10 Billion in revenues. Prior to that, he was Director of Product Management at Procket Networks, and Bay Networks. Amir holds a Master of Science in Computer Engineering from University of Colorado at Boulder.


Khalid Raza, Co-founder and CTO

Khalid Raza, Co-founder and CTO

Khalid is a former Distinguished Engineer at Cisco and widely regarded as a visionary in routing protocols. In a career spanning over 20 years, Khalid has played an instrumental role in architecting networks for Global Tier-1 carriers and Fortune 100 companies, and defining innovative grid solutions for the healthcare industry. He has been awarded the pinnacle of Cisco certifications: Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr) and Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE). Most recently, at Hewlett-Packard, he was honored as Distinguished Technologist, and he created the vision for the company’s Next-Generation Datacenter and Wide Area Network architectures. Raza holds patents in Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) and Open Shortest Path First (OSPF) and is the author of a book titled “Large-Scale IP Network Solutions.” He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from NED and a Master of Science degree from Wichita State University.


Nehal Bhau, Chief Software Architect

Nehal Bhau, Vice President of Engineering

Nehal Bhau brings more than 18 years of startup and software development experience across a broad range of networking areas to Viptela. Prior to joining Viptela, he served as a Principal Engineer and Director in Alcatel-Lucent’s IP Division (formerly TiMetra). He led Alcatel-Lucent’s BGP team, designed and implemented several routing features in the areas of OSPF, BGP, Layer-3 VPNs, Layer-2 VPNs and Multicast VPNs. Additionally, he led a team that integrated Arbor Networks threat management system to the 7750 routers. Before Alcatel-Lucent, Nehal was a technical leader in the IOS and IOS-XR routing team at Cisco. He contributed to various critical product features such as Routing Policy Language and carrier class high availability for IOS-XR routers, which power half the Internet today. Before Cisco, Nehal held senior engineering positions at AYR Networks (Cisco), Tasman Networks (Nortel) and 3Com and worked on a diverse set of areas from layer-2 protocols, device drivers to unicast and multicast routing protocols. Nehal holds a Master of Science in Computer Engineering from the University of Southern California and started his career working on computer networks at the famous Information Sciences Institute (ISI).

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Russ Harris, Senior Vice President of Operations

Russ Harris has more than 17 years of executive experience heading up business operations, manufacturing and worldwide distribution. He joined Viptela from Breathometer,  a global provider of breath analysis technology, where he was President & COO. As Senior Vice President, Operations at networking vendor Echelon (NASDAQ: ELON), Harris was responsible for manufacturing, materials sourcing, inventory management, logistics, quality, technical support, training and cost reduction for over 300 products and components. Before Echelon, Harris was Vice President of Operations for NetDynamics and Director of Operations for SGI. Harris holds a B.S. and an M.S. in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University.

Ramesh Prabagaran, Vice President of Product Management

Ramesh Prabagaran, Vice President of Product Management

Ramesh Prabagaran has a track record of bringing disruptive and innovative networking products to market focused on carriers and enterprises. Most recently at Juniper Networks, he was a senior product line manager establishing the product vision for enterprise and datacenter routing products (M and MX Series), and WAN-focused solutions for Fortune 100 companies. He launched Juniper’s mid-range routing platforms (MX5-MX80) and demonstrated stellar double-digit growths for eight quarters. He has defined Juniper product strategy for access and mobile backhaul (ACX series). Before that, he has developed engineering teams from the ground up to deliver Layer 3-7 services for Juniper routers. Ramesh holds a Master of Science in Computer Engineering from University of Kansas, and a Master of Business Administration from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.

James Winebrenner, Vice President of Sales

James Winebrenner, Vice President of Sales

James Winebrenner has more than 12 years experience in global sales management, business development and technical marketing in both the security and networking industry. Most recently, he was director of sales in the financial-services division for Cisco, leading top-tier financial accounts, where he was recognized for consistently beating aggressive sales targets. Earlier, for Siegeworks, he managed the Major Accounts team serving Fortune 200 customers, and he led the transition of sales and business-development teams in the company’s merger with Fishnet Security. Before that, as vice president of consulting services for Network Presence, James played a critical role in bringing significant improvements in profitability of the security practice. Earlier, he held leadership roles in sales, business development, technical marketing with Check Point Software Technologies. He also holds a professional certification as Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).


Atif Khan, Vice President of Technology and Customer Support

Atif Khan, Vice President of Systems Engineering

With more than two decades of networking industry experience, Atif Khan has designed and supported the networks of scores of Fortune 500 enterprises and major service providers. He has held senior Customer Support, Product Management, and Network Design Consulting positions at Huawei U.S., Juniper Networks, Procket Networks (acquired by Cisco), Timetra (acquired by Alcatel Lucent), and Cisco. Most recently, he served as Director of Product Management in the Carrier IP Products division of Huawei U.S., where he was responsible for defining the product direction for the North American market. Atif’s credits include defining, deploying, and supporting the requirements for many best-of-breed carrier IP core and edge products, including the Procket Networks Pro/8800 Series routers, the Timetra 7750 Series routers, and the Juniper Networks MX/T Series routers.