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Andiamo Crew Reunites With Cisco

Former Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) spin-in exec Mario Mazzola is back in the fold -- or 80 percent there, anyway.

Late yesterday, Cisco announced it's taken 80 percent ownership of Nuova Systems, the startup founded by Mazzola, Luca Cafiero, Prem Jain, and Soni Jiandani -- a quartet of former Cisco executives who left the company just more than a year ago.
(See Cisco Funds Nuova and Cisco Names Data Chief.)

They left to found Nuova, apparently, and the project has been a source of Silicon Valley buzz ever since. Now up to 76 employees, Nuova was funded by its founders and reportedly turned down all venture capital offers. (See Cisco/Andiamo Vets Try Something 'Nuova'.)

Mazzola and company have done this sort of thing before, sort of. They were at the helm of Andiamo Systems, a storage switching company that was an explicit "spin-in" -- that is, Cisco nurtured the company with the intention of acquiring it. (See Ciscos Secret SAN Strategies Revealed, Cisco Owns Up to Andiamo, and Cisco Buys Andiamo Finally.)

That wasn't the case this time. "They funded the company independently," a Cisco spokesman says, noting the execs didn't leave Cisco knowing they'd get acquired back in. "Subsequently after the formation, they talked with Cisco, and then this deal came about," the spokesman says.

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