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Pivot3 Puzzle Probed

Like a red flag to a bull, the term stealth mode is all that's needed to attract tons of unwanted attention, as Pivot3 Inc. has been finding out. This two-year-old startup wants to maintain a low profile until its patents are approved, but its cover is gradually dissolving to reveal what could be an interesting new storage software company.

For software is what Pivot3's working on, according to Lee Caswell, VP of marketing and sales. In fact, the name Pivot3 comes from what the Spring, Texas, startup's founders view as the third pivot on which the IT environment is based -- storage. (The other two are computing and networking, Caswell says.)

"We have a software infrastructure product for storage... fully architected," he says, adding that Pivot3's primary market will be OEMs.

Caswell, who formerly worked at QLogic Corp. (Nasdaq: QLGC), isn't saying much more. He won't confirm published reports that state Pivot3 obtained several million dollars in funding, though he will acknowledge the startup got funding from one VC firm, identity undisclosed, in November 2003, one year to the month after its founding.

So what more can be gleaned above and beyond Caswell's good-natured but cryptic revelations? There are a few tempting tidbits:

  • Two of the company's four founders, including VP of engineering Ryan Callison and CTO Bill Galloway, who both worked at Compaq Computer Corp., hold numerous storage technology patent credits (22 for Galloway, 15 for Callison, according to Pivot3's Website). Galloway is also active on the T10 group of the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS), which works on SCSI specs. Pivot3 is a principal member active in that group, and Galloway attends, albeit somewhat irregularly. Galloway also is an expert in Fibre Channel, SAS, RAID, SATA, and other technologies, according to the company site.
  • Callison and Galloway cofounded a company called BREA Technologies Inc. a couple of years back to oversee intellectual property (some of their own as well as some from other sources). The company still exists in Houston with Callison and Galloway as registered directors, but Caswell says the two are letting that Texas-based company lie dormant for the time being while they focus on Pivot3.
  • The CEO and fourth cofounder of Pivot3 is Alan Skidmore, who helped Troika Networks Inc. sell its host bus adapter business to JNI Corp. before leaving in the wake of a rumored disagreement over the future of the company (see Troika CEO Quits).
  • Pivot3 just moved from Houston to its new office in Spring. It has "over 20" employees, according to Caswell. More information should surface within 60 days, he says -- the time it should take for the new firm to nail down its intellectual property.
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