I appreciate the fact that Janice Roberts lives in the Silicon Valley town next to mine, and that she also likes Italian food – naturally, we caught up over lunch at an Italian restaurant in early 2018. Janice Roberts grew up in a small village in Wilshire, England, in the Cotswolds. Even in her career’s early development, she was set on technology and business.
The path that would lead Janice to 3Com became clear with her role running the networking division at the UK conglomerate BICC. When 3Com's execs set their sights on an acquisition of BICC, they too set their sights on Janice, quickly seeing that she would be a great addition to the company. Of the acquisition deal, which ended up being much more favorable to 3Com than to BICC, Janice said, “I tried to get [BICC’s negotiators] to not accept warrants and do stupid stuff, but they wanted to. It was a terrible deal for BICC, and a great deal for 3Com -- It was an unbelievable deal for 3Com. Honestly, I don't like talking about the deal terms because I think it just wasn't right for [BICC]. What I do feel good about was that the people that came with the acquisition did really well.”
We cover more about the BICC acquisition and how it contributed to 3Com's early success. Janice, an active and successful VC today, is recognized by all those whom I spoke with as a great people person. She is effective in negotiating under practically any circumstance, and was involved in just about every major deal that we cover in the book.
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