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You Gotta Start Somewhere

In the hubbub generated by the pending Brocade/McData merger, it's easy to forget that at one time these two were tiny startups eager to grab venture funding. (See Brocade Bags McData For $713M, and then make sure you take our latest poll.)

Back in November 1995, for instance, newspapers in California reported that stealthy Brocade, founded by Paul Bonderson and Kumar Malavalli, scored $1.4 million from Crosspoint Ventures. It wasn't until two years later that the firm made its official debut; and two years after that, in July 1999, the first OEM, StorageTek, bought the new state-of-the-art 16-port SilkWorm switch!

Who remembers, too, the struggles of young McData, an Escon developer that in 1997 broke free after two years under the dictatorship of EMC?

Fact is, every big company was a startup once. Even Cisco. And at Byte and Switch, we're on the trail of the next Brocade. (We'd say the next McData, but there's debate on the advisability of following that company's footsteps.)

Brand new startups we write about typically get posted in our User Profiles section. Separately, we keep a list of Top Ten Private Companies, covering startups that are more established. The problem is, one list gives short shrift to what may become a top company, while the other list grows stale as day-old Wheatabix while we wait for the next storage IPO.

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