Andiamo Vets Go 'Nuova'

The four execs responsible for Cisco spin-in Andiamo are at it again with a new startup

February 4, 2006

2 Min Read
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The retirement of Mario Mazzola and the rest of the former Andiamo Systems crew didn't last long, as they're reportedly working on another startup just months after their departure from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO).

Multiple sources tell Light Reading that Mazzola, Luca Cafiero, Prem Jain, and Soni Jiandani have launched a supersecret San Jose company that they're funding themselves. Reportedly called Nuova Impresa -- Italian for "new enterprise" -- the company has hired about a dozen people and reportedly has refused all offers of VC money, much to the chagrin of many a Silicon Valley financier.

The startup is presumed to be working on a virtualization project in the storage networking space -- at the intersection of storage, networking, and computing.

The idea is that they're trying to "aggregate compute IO from the server and centralize it into a single or small number of network elements, connected back to the servers via a high-speed low-latency closed’ network," one source says. This frees up processor memory and CPU cycles so that larger clusters of servers are possible.

And they're attracting some top-name talent. Another source, requesting anonymity, says Tom Lyon, founder of Ipsilon Networks, has joined. An early contender in IP switching, Ipsilon was acquired by Nokia in 1997. Another recruit, the source says, is J.R. Rivers, the Cisco Distinguished Engineer who led the team developing the Catalyst 3750 enterprise switch.Light Reading's attempt to reach Mazzola went unanswered. Contacting Nuova Impresa directly is difficult, as the company isn't exactly giving out its number and address -- and one source notes it's not housed in a Cisco-owned building the way Andiamo was. They're getting better at this "stealth" thing, apparently.

Andiamo was funded by Cisco with the intention of being acquired eventually, one of four Cisco spin-ins in the works circa 2001. The four Nuova founders left Cisco in tandem last year, purportedly to retirement. Mazzola had been Cisco's chief development officer, a role that was handed to Charles Giancarlo. The other three were senior vice presidents. (See Cisco’s Secret SAN Strategies Revealed, Cisco Buys Andiamo Finally, and Cisco Names Data Chief.)

Most sources believe Nuova Impresa began life as another Cisco spin-in, but one source says that plan has been scuttled. A newer rumor has the Nuova crowd camped on the Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) doorstep instead. It's unknown whether either company invested in Nuova.

Cisco did not immediately return calls seeking comment on Friday afternoon.

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading0

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