Keerti G. Melkote
Senior Vice President and General Manager, HPE Aruba Group
Co-Founder, Aruba Networks
For his tremendous entrepreneurial success and technological achievements in fundamentally advancing the world of secure wireless networks
As an engineer, Keerti Melkote applies constants in his equations, but in his life and career, he embraces change. “That’s why I was driven to be an entrepreneur,” he explains. “I didn’t want to see things change around me and not know why. I wanted to drive the change.”
At high school in Hyderabad, India, Melkote had a head for math and a keen interest in physics. Engineering did not run in his family, but the engineering career path felt natural for him. The creative aspect of engineering inspired him. He liked the idea that he could apply his knowledge to create new things.
After earning a bachelor’s degree from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, a top engineering school, Melkote came to Purdue for his master’s in electrical engineering.
“The whole experience was absolutely fantastic. Working with professors like Ed Delp in electrical engineering and Doug Comer in computer science — learning from them was fantastic.”
He found a job in the High Energy Nuclear Physics lab where he helped researchers connect their computers to linear accelerators and other lab devices. “It was an improbable thing for an engineering student to do,” Melkote recalls, “but that’s where I learned the ropes, the practical aspects of connecting networks.”
“To this day, nearly 25 years later, I’m still in the field of networking. Everything I learned at Purdue, I still apply.”
After earning his master’s degree in Electrical Engineering, Melkote moved to Silicon Valley, where his entrepreneurial spirit took flight. He says, “When you’re here, the startup mindset rubs off on you.” He wanted to try his hand at innovation, to bring about change in the networking industry. He prepared himself over the following decade, working in leadership roles at companies like industry giants Cisco and Intel Corp.
At the time, corporate America distrusted Wi-Fi networks, which were notoriously slow and unsecure. But Melkote foresaw the game-changing advantages of wireless networking in the enterprise, namely, mobile computing.
In 2002, he created Aruba Networks, a startup focused on wireless networking technology. “We set out to solve the performance challenges, the security issues, all the problems with Wi-Fi in the enterprise,” he says.
Within five years, Aruba Networks had helped pioneer watershed change, transforming office networks into mobile-ready ones. Melkote took his company public in 2007. “Of all the things I’ve done in my career, growing this company is the one I’m most proud of,” he says.
In March 2015, Hewlett-Packard (HP) acquired Aruba Networks for $3 billion. Announcing the move, HP CEO Meg Whitman explained that Aruba’s technological strengths would enable HP to offer “the simplest, most secure networking solutions” for companies seeking to take their networks mobile. Melkote is staying with the newly acquired company, where he serves as the Chief Strategy and Technology Officer.
Today Aruba does over $1 billion in annual revenues, has shipped $4 billion in products worldwide, and employs 2,000 people. “The whole journey, 13 years of building the company from scratch, it has been a total dream.
“My job is fascinating, and a lot of fun,” Melkote says. “That’s why I’m still here and driving the company.”
In addition to strategizing Aruba’s future in mobile and cloud computing, Melkote serves as an advisor and angel investor for Silicon Valley startups.
As leader of Aruba, he cultivates a sense of family, an extended personal network that enables employees to integrate their work and family life. “It’s a less stressful, easier way to live,” he says.
At home, Melkote enjoys spending time with his wife and three young children. He gets outdoors as much as he can, playing sports with his kids and cultivating his garden.
|2002-present||Senior Vice President and General Manager, HPE Aruba Group; Co-Founder, Aruba Networks|
|1998-2002||Senior Director, Product Management, Shasta Networks|
|1995-1998||Product Line Manager for workgroup switches, Cisco Systems, Incorporated|
|1993-1995||Network Architect/Engineer, Intel Corporation|
|1993||MSEE, Purdue University|
|1991||B.Tech, ECE, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad, India|