Forbes: NetGear’s Home Invasion Plan

LAS VEGAS – In 1976 Patrick Lo arrived in America with $200 in his pocket and a scholarship to Brown University. A China native reared in Hong Kong, he raised from family friends the money for a $700 airline ticket to the U.S.
It was a warm-up act for what would come later in his career. He’s now the president and chief executive of NetGear (nasdaq: NTGR – news – people ), and in 2000 he was raising millions in venture capital money to fund the company’s separation from Nortel Networks (nyse: NO – news – people ). NetGear is now one of the market leaders in the ever-growing but margin-thin home networking business.
Lo, now 48, took Santa Clara, Calif.-based NetGear public in July, and the company is on track to clear $293 million in 2003 sales.
The timing certainly was right. As home broadband Internet connections have grown–almost 50 million Americans have a broadband connection, according to Nielsen NetRatings–more home Internet users are connecting two or more PCs to a network that shares the broadband connection. According to one estimate by market research firm InStat/MDR in Scottsdale, Ariz., the number of networked homes in the U.S. and Canada, which numbered only 9.2 million in 2002, will grow to 28 million by 2007.
And while it’s one thing to connect a few computers to share an Internet connection and a printer, the main force encouraging these novice networking engineers is digital entertainment. Lo is making a big push to broaden NetGear’s entertainment-related products. This dovetails with one of the overarching themes–the mainstreaming of digital entertainment–of this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), where we caught up with Lo last week. (full story)