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Kumar Malavalli, Cofounder, Brocade Communications

Kumar Malavalli is the cofounder of Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) and advisor to Greg Reyes, Brocade's chairman and CEO. He is Reyes' eyes and ears (and nose and throat) for technology. In a nutshell, he has overall responsibility for shaping Brocade's technology direction and product strategy.

Malavalli is also an angel investor in Alpine Technologies, Cloverleaf Communications, InterSAN Inc., Karthika (acquired by Kasten Chase), LightSand Communications Corp., and SV Systems -- interestingly, all storage networking startups.

Why did he invest in these companies in particular, you ask? Is there a link with Brocade? All will be revealed in good time, patient reader. First a little background on our latest Byte and Switch interviewee.

Prior to Brocade, Malavalli was Hewlett-Packard Co.'s (NYSE: HPQ) senior Fibre Channel architect. A key contributor to the industry team that originated the Fibre Channel architecture, he guided the technology through the industry standards committees and holds several U.S. patents in Fibre Channel.

In 1995, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, Seth Neiman of Crosspoint Venture Partners, contacted Malavalli after hearing of his work in the area of FC. Neiman, with Malavalli's help, went on to launch Brocade in August 1995.

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