[Fortune] The Indians of Silicon Valley

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From: Adam Rifkin -4K (adam@XeNT.ics.uci.edu)
Date: Wed May 17 2000 - 19:14:00 PDT

I liked the story of how he scored a 130-bagger on Exodus...


> The Indians of Silicon Valley
> The hidden geniuses of the tech revolution are Indian engineers --
> here's how one bucked stereotypes, got rich, and has become godfather
> to a generation of immigrant entrepreneurs.
> By Melanie Warner, mwarner@fortunemail.com
> Indian Startups: A Sampler
> Aspect Development (ASDV), $3.5b market cap
> Software for B2B e-commerce and supply management
> Romesh Wadhwani, CEO
> Cirrus Logic (CRUS), $1b market cap
> Advanced semiconductors
> Suhas Patil, Founder
> Exodus (EXDS), $20b market cap
> Data centers where companies house their Internet servers
> K.B. Chandrasekhar, Chairman
> Juniper Networks (JNPR), $29b market cap
> Internet backbone routers
> Pradeep Sindhu, CTO
> Ramp Networks (RAMP), $13b market cap
> Internet access solutions for the small-office market
> Mahesh Veerina, CEO
> Selectica (SLTC), $1.4b market cap
> Software to help businesses sell via the Internet
> Raj Jaswa, CEO
> Tibco Software (TIBX), $13b market cap
> Network infrastructure software for large companies
> Vivek Ranadive, CEO
> Versata (VATA), $1b market cap
> Software tools for e-business
> Naren Bakshi, Founder
> Cradle Technologies, private
> Microprocessor design
> Satish Gupta, CEO
> Impresse, private
> Web-based service for corporate printing needs
> Nimish Mehta, CEO
> JamCracker, private
> Hosted software-management for mid-sized companies
> K.B. Chandrasekhar, CEO
> WebEx, private
> Web-based conferencing services
> Subrah Iyar, CEO
> Xpede
> Online financial services for large banks
> Naren Bakshi, Chairman
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Kanwal Rekhi's got these big eyes that flicker when he talks. His
> shoulders are rounded and his large, thick frame shows marks of age. But
> when he speaks, his face, large and jowly, emits youthful energy. His
> speech is rapid and subdued, perhaps racing to keep up with his mind.
> Rekhi often leaps into new thoughts and words before he's finished the
> last ones, which can make him hard to understand. This effect is
> compounded by a slight accent, an artifact of Rekhi's having spent most
> of his first 18 years in Kanpur, India. Between the speech and the
> physique, he has more than a passing resemblance to Vito Corleone, the
> Mafia don played unforgettably by Marlon Brando in The Godfather. Which
> is rather fitting because Rekhi, 54, is the unofficial but quite
> undisputed godfather of Silicon Valley's Indian mafia.
> Not that it's really a mafia, though some people call it that for fun.
> Rekhi, who sold his company, Excelan, to Novell in 1989 for $210 million
> (which was, at the time, believe it or not, a lot of money), doesn't
> strike the slick pose Brando assumed as Don Corleone. Rekhi's gray hair
> is always slightly disheveled, and befitting his background as an
> engineer, he comes off as disarmingly rumpled. Last year, Rekhi wore a
> tie exactly six times. For all but a few occasions, he dresses
> new-economy casual--khakis and a cotton shirt that's likely to say
> something on it like exodus.com and to have been a freebie from a
> company he's funded.
> When people call Silicon Valley's Indian population a mafia, they mean
> that the immigrants who live in the Bay Area and work in high tech --
> roughly 200,000, according to siliconindia magazine -- have formed an
> amazing web. Indians invest in one another's companies, sit on one
> another's boards, and hire each other in key jobs. Many live in close
> proximity and hang out together. The network might be only mildly
> interesting if so many of the Valley's Indian immigrants hadn't become
> phenomenally wealthy and successful in the past ten years. People don't
> necessarily think of it this way, but Bay Area Indian immigrants
> represent America's most successful immigrant group. Collectively,
> they've created companies that account for $235 billion of market value.
> If you add up just the net worth of the people mentioned in this story,
> for instance, you'll get more than $8 billion.
> It's safe to say that without Indian immigrants the Valley wouldn't be
> what it is today. Indian engineers have been coming to the U.S. in
> increasing numbers since the early 1970s; almost half the H-1B visas
> given by the State Department go to Indian engineers (H-1Bs are granted
> to foreigners who have specialized skills or are, oddly enough, fashion
> models). High-tech companies need people desperately -- U.S. engineering
> schools simply don't produce enough graduates to fill the specialized
> jobs the high-tech industry creates. According to the Information
> Technology Association of America, a trade group in Arlington, Va., more
> than 800,000 infotech jobs will go begging this year. And the engineers
> U.S. schools do produce typically aren't as talented as those from
> India. Many Indian immigrants have graduated from schools that make
> Harvard and MIT seem easy to get into. The six Indian Institutes of
> Technology, created in the 1940s by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to
> educate engineers for public-works projects, produce some of the world's
> smartest techies. Last year about 3% of the students who applied to IIT
> got in, while 11% to 18% were accepted at Ivy League schools.
> Rekhi went to IIT Bombay and is personally worth more than $500 million.
> As head of The Indus Entrepreneurs, or TiE, the Valley's large,
> influential Indian networking group, he's at the center of a whole lot
> of wealth creation. Since he left his job as chief technology officer of
> Novell in 1995, Rekhi has poured millions of his own dollars into more
> than 45 startups founded by Indians, many of them IIT grads. But this
> sort of angel investing is not really what Rekhi considers his true
> calling. If you ask what he does, he'll tell you he mentors
> entrepreneurs. That means, among other things, that every week he spends
> one or two days meeting with other Indians who want to talk about the
> companies they've started. (Rekhi says someone doesn't have to be Indian
> to get a meeting with him, but most people he sees are.)
> From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., usually on Thursday or Friday, Rekhi sits in a
> small conference room in TiE's charmless offices in an office park in
> Santa Clara and listens to pitches from three or four entrepreneurs. The
> scene unfolds a bit like the sequence in The Godfather in which Corleone
> entertains a stream of requests on his daughter's wedding day. If an
> entrepreneur is lucky, he or she might leave TiE with the names of a few
> people to call from Rekhi's long list of contacts. If he is really,
> really lucky, he might get some combination of Rekhi's money, his
> commitment to join the board, and his promise to take an active role.
> Because of time constraints, Rekhi does this with only a few companies
> at a time. Those he's actively involved in now--Ensim, Instantis,
> 123SignUp, and Paramark--were all founded by Indians who attended IIT.
> Rekhi gave several hundred thousand dollars to each, but lately he's
> been saying he's not going to do that anymore; he realized last fall
> that he had so many investments, from both his own bets and those of the
> half-dozen large Valley venture capital firms he's invested in, that
> he'd become more a business than a person. Although he's made more money
> by funding entrepreneurs than he did by creating a company and selling
> it to Novell, Rekhi insists he doesn't care about earning more. He'd
> rather help entrepreneurs for free. "I've got more money than anybody
> should. More than I can spend in ten lifetimes," he says.
> At a recent TiE networking event at the Santa Clara Marriott, Rekhi was
> doing what he calls "making myself available." It was a Sunday afternoon
> and 400 people packed a large conference room to schmooze, compare
> notes, and, if they wished, get up on stage and make a two-minute pitch
> for themselves or their companies. Rekhi stood in the back of the room
> talking to people who opted to take their story straight to him. For
> about an hour an eager congregation surrounded him. Some he gave advice
> to on the spot. Others he told to call the TiE office and set up a
> meeting with him. Others he told he couldn't help at all. When he'd
> finally worked his way through the crowd, he'd collected 20 business
> cards. "There are too many. I can't keep up," he said, shuffling through them.
> It wasn't always this way. Indians didn't network with one another when
> Rekhi and seven other midcareer Indian entrepreneurs started TiE in
> 1992. Going even further back, Rekhi remembers a time when hardly any
> Indians were starting companies. In 1982, when he founded Excelan with
> Subhash Bal and Inder Singh, friends he'd made while working briefly at
> a startup, most of the Indians he knew were working as techies at big
> companies. The trio's plan to run Excelan, which made gear for local
> area networks, was unusual because Indians were widely regarded as great
> techies but inadequate managers. So when three Indians who lacked a
> white guy went to raise money from VCs, they faced lots of slammed
> doors. Recalls Rekhi: "We'd always hear that the company didn't have a
> 'businessman,' that there wasn't anyone with a marketing background or
> selling expertise. That's what they'd say. But the real issue was, Will
> customers buy from an Indian? Indians were seen as damn good backroom
> operations people, but are they good in the front room, running the show
> and selling to customers?" This helps explain why, despite the wealth
> and success of Indian entrepreneurs, there are still few Indian CEOs
> running high-tech companies. In many instances, VCs investing in an
> Indian-founded company have brought in a non-Indian CEO, relegating the
> founder to a technical role. In other cases, large companies have
> acquired Indian startups for their technology or their techies. Try to
> name half a dozen big high-tech companies with an Indian CEO; ten bucks
> says you can't.
> Rekhi and his partners did end up raising the money to fund Excelan, but
> Rekhi never got a full chance to prove himself as a boss. Now lots of
> small companies he has invested in are headed by Indian CEOs intent on
> remaining chief through an IPO and beyond. Like the dad who never made
> the cut for the varsity team, Rekhi delights in seeing members of a new
> generation of immigrants become superstars.
> When he and his partners started Excelan, they decided that Singh should
> be the boss because he was the smoothest and most articulate. Despite
> his quick mind and knack for strategy, Rekhi lacked polish. He'd worked
> for 11 years at big companies, like mainframe-maker RCA Systems and
> government contractor Signal Link, but had never risen above systems
> engineer. Rekhi remembers asking about management jobs, then seeing
> people he considered less competent be promoted over him. "They'd say,
> 'You're a brilliant technologist, so we can't afford to lose you.' And
> they'd promote this other guy who didn't know as much," says Rekhi.
> He got to serve as Excelan's interim CEO after Singh didn't work out.
> Though his term was brief, Rekhi worked hard to grow into the role. He
> shaved his beard and bought lots of suits and white shirts. On the
> advice of several directors, he underwent speech therapy for a stammer
> that had dogged him since childhood. To better understand the selling
> process, he moved his cubicle from engineering to the marketing
> department and often tagged along on customer calls with Excelan's sales
> guys. Rekhi liked being boss and thought he was good at it. But when the
> time came for Excelan to go public, the board decided it needed someone
> who would play to Wall Street; it hired Dick Moore, a 25-year
> Hewlett-Packard veteran. Rekhi stayed as EVP and board chairman, and
> most employees still thought of him as the boss. Moore did pull off a
> successful IPO but couldn't adapt to startup culture. Within a year he
> was gone. Again Rekhi stepped into the top spot until Novell acquired
> the company in 1989.
> Looking back, John Dougery, an Excelan investor and director, admits
> that the board probably should have let Rekhi stay as CEO in the first
> place. "Back then, Indians weren't perceived as winning CEOs. We didn't
> know if people would trust them as managers," says Dougery.
> By the time Rekhi got to Novell, he knew a lot about business and felt
> he was qualified to run a large public company. In the early 1990s, CEO
> Ray Noorda was on his way out, and Rekhi, who was CTO, made it known
> that he wanted the top job. The board considered him briefly, only to
> opt for Bob Frankenburg, another man from HP. Rekhi had watched Noorda
> make what he considered dumb decisions--spending more than $1.2 billion
> to buy the PC software packages DR/DOS and WordPerfect. ("They were dead
> applications," says Rekhi.) Now he watched as Novell's stock sank and
> the company floundered under Frankenburg. By 1995 he had decided to
> quit. He took a vacation of several months with his wife and two kids,
> then packed up his boxes at Novell and carted them to his home in Los
> Gatos, Calif. For the first time in his life, he had nothing to do.
> At first Rekhi went into a funk. "When you become successful, you become
> incompetent as a person, because all the little things are done for you
> by others. I didn't even know how to make airline reservations or who to
> call to get a PC in my home," he says. To ease the boredom and quit
> bugging his wife, he started hanging around TiE. Though Rekhi had helped
> found the organization, he hadn't been active. In fact, he says that
> until 1995 he had little connection to the Indian community. His wife,
> Ann, is American (they met in Florida while he worked at a computer
> company and she served in the U.S. Air Force), and at least half their
> friends are American. Indian food is rarely served at home; Rekhi
> listens to Indian music only when driving alone. "I was as de-Indianized
> as anybody," he says. But as he hung around TiE, something started to
> happen. People heard that the former CTO of Novell was there and began
> showing up to talk. Eventually Rekhi was advising as many as eight to
> ten entrepreneurs a day.
> On a recent morning, Rekhi is scheduled to meet with Jay Karmarkar, a
> Ph.D. who was in the same class at IIT. Karmarkar arrives promptly at 10
> a.m. and sits opposite Rekhi in TiE's conference room. Karmarkar has
> spent the past decade running a small government contracting firm that
> does things like algorithm development, and looks the part. His glasses
> are one or two sizes too big, and his handshake transfers nervous energy
> that suggests meetings like this are a new undertaking. Karmarkar is
> here to see Rekhi because he has an idea for a network computer that
> will run on a stripped-down Unix operating system and be compatible with
> Linux applications. After chitchat about the genesis of his startup,
> Karmarkar launches into his business plan, which he's laid out neatly on
> sheets of paper on the table. "What we want to do is an Internet
> terminal that we'll sell for really cheap, probably $200. It'll be light
> and efficient because we're taking out all the bloated applications of
> the PC."
> Karmarkar barely gets to page three when Rekhi interrupts. "Stop right
> there. Everyone who's tried to build a Web PC hasn't succeeded. Larry
> Ellison's lost millions on that," says Rekhi, leaning forward, elbows on
> the table.
> "Yes, but we've got a whole new idea for the operating system,"
> Karmarkar says, shuffling his papers in search of the slide that will
> respond to Rekhi's objection. Rekhi doesn't let him get to the slide. "I
> can get a $500 PC right now; how can you make it cheaper?"
> "We're going to build a stripped-down version of Linux ..."
> Rekhi interrupts again. "The reason PCs are successful is because you
> have all these applications and software inside them. If you take all
> that stuff out of the PC, you end up having basically a TV. You take out
> all the value."
> Ten minutes later, Karmarkar is slumped in his chair, listening to Rekhi
> tell him how he'll have to convince armies of developers to design
> applications for his operating system. "People will look at you, this
> new guy, and think, 'Why should I trust him?' How can you convince them
> you're reliable?"
> Karmarkar nods and says, "You have a point there."
> One reason Rekhi is so sought after by entrepreneurs is that he's
> brutally honest. He can listen to someone and, within ten or 15 minutes,
> understand exactly what he is trying to do and offer unrestrained
> feedback. Unlike many VCs, who like to string along entrepreneurs in
> case they later have a change of heart about funding them, Rekhi calls
> everything as he sees it. "Totally lost" is his assessment of Karmarkar
> when I ask about the meeting several days later. Rekhi didn't use those
> exact words with Karmarkar, but when Karmarkar requested that Rekhi
> refer him to some investors, Rekhi replied point-blank, "I wouldn't send
> you to anybody until you figure out your plan. I have to feel good about
> someone when I refer them. Or else people call me up and say, 'Why did
> you send me that one?' " When I catch up with Karmarkar a few weeks
> later, he says he's never taken "that many bullets in ten minutes," but
> that a lot of what Rekhi said was right and that he's thinking about how
> to revise his pitch.
> Most entrepreneurs Rekhi sees are savvier than Karmarkar, but many still
> orbit in a techie bubble. They load their presentations with details of
> exactly how their technology works. They use words like "pipelining"
> without explaining what they mean. They drone on after people have tuned
> out. Since most Indian immigrants come from a technical background, many
> find the social nuances of business daunting. "All these companies could
> have benefited from an hour with me," Rekhi declares, as we head out of
> one of TiE's monthly angel-investor meetings at the Silicon Valley
> Capital Club in San Jose. Five entrepreneurs have just presented their
> startups to a room of about 70 angel investors and not one gave a clear,
> compelling pitch. "That second one, I still can't understand what they
> were doing," says Rekhi.
> By far Rekhi's most successful mentoring achievement is K.B.
> Chandrasekhar. Chandra, as he's known, isn't the wealthiest Indian in
> the Valley -- that distinction goes to Vinod Khosla, a co-founder of Sun
> Microsystems and partner at Kleiner Perkins -- but as founder of Exodus
> Communications, Chandra's the best-known Indian Internet entrepreneur.
> He pioneered server farms, those Internet data centers that house and
> maintain other people's Web servers. Now Exodus is a $242 million-a-year
> company that employs 2,000 people. But when Rekhi met Chandra in 1995,
> he was running Exodus out of a small office in Sunnyvale that was
> overheating because of all the servers stacked on tables. He was almost
> out of money and, if he wasn't able to raise more, would probably be
> returning to India with his wife and three kids. Rekhi became his savior.
> They met at a TiE event. Chandra remembers the encounter better than
> Rekhi because Chandra was one of about three dozen people who came up to
> Rekhi that night. For some reason, Rekhi wrote on the back of Chandra's
> business card "call this guy"; he can't recall why, but he figures he
> must have been struck by Chandra's energy. When Rekhi called two months
> later, Chandra told him, "I need $200,000 for payroll and I want to talk
> to you today." Chandra had gone to the TiE event desperate. He and
> co-founder B.V. Jagadeesh had been funding Exodus from money they'd made
> developing software for large companies, but that wasn't going to last.
> Chandra didn't know any VCs or other people with money. He'd been in the
> U.S. just five years and, unlike most Indians in the Valley, hadn't gone
> to an American grad school or an IIT -- Chandra's engineering degree is
> from the lesser-known Madras University. "My networks were pretty thin,"
> he says.
> Rekhi liked Chandra's ability to tell his story. He pegged the guy as a
> natural entrepreneur driven to see his ideas come to life no matter what
> the odds. But Exodus was an unfocused mess. Chandra was working on too
> many ideas. Says Rekhi: "He thought he could fund one business from the
> other, but I told him that almost never works." Rekhi gave Chandra the
> $200,000 he wanted, but told him he needed to focus on one thing and
> suggested it be hosting other people's Websites. Rekhi agreed to join
> the board and rounded up other investors, who together gave Exodus a
> first round of $3.2 million. Some of the investors were TiE members and
> others friends of Rekhi's, like construction executive Ed Shay and
> venture capitalist John Dougery, who have since invested in almost every
> one of Rekhi's deals. Helping Chandra proved Rekhi's best investment
> decision ever. The $1 million he eventually put into Exodus for an
> initial 2% stake is now worth $130 million.
> Chandra says he'd like to emulate Rekhi and mentor other entrepreneurs.
> But for the moment he's trying to build a company he thinks will be
> bigger than Exodus. JamCracker, Chandra's second startup, provides an
> online portal where IT managers can access and manage all the software
> their companies need. Rekhi is an investor and a director, but this time
> it's not because Chandra needed money. Far from it. After turning away
> numerous funding offers earlier this year, Chandra raised his first
> chunk of capital at a rather stunning $80 million valuation. The price
> was too steep for Rekhi, so, as a thank-you for Exodus, Chandra sold him
> some of his own shares at a lower price. "I always ensure Kanwal gets a
> good deal. He's my guru and my mentor," says Chandra.
> That sort of thing happens a lot in the Indian network. Take serial
> entrepreneur Naren Bakshi. When he presented Versata, his first startup,
> at TiE's annual conference in 1995, he was really pining for the
> $800,000 Rekhi and 12 other TiE members eventually gave him. For his
> second startup, Xpede, a financial services company, and his third, a
> dot-com called BuildYourDreamHome, Baskhi, 56, had VCs lining up. He
> still cut Rekhi and other TiE members in on the deals. He told Xpede's
> VCs that $1 million of the $10 million first round had to come from
> these angels.
> As in all good networks, reciprocity keeps the wheels turning. Nimish
> Mehta, CEO of Impresse, which runs a Web service for corporate printing
> needs, was among the TiE members who invested that $800,000 in Versata.
> An investor in JamCracker, he's also friends with Chandra. So when
> Impresse was raising capital, Chandra got to do something virtually
> every investor in the Valley would kill to do -- he invested alongside
> Kleiner Perkins and Benchmark. Rekhi, because he's the godfather and
> everyone wants him to invest, also got in on the deal. As did Satish
> Gupta, CEO of Cradle Technologies, a chip company. Why him? Impresse CEO
> Mehta, who left a job as senior vice president at Oracle, is one of four
> Indian angel investors in Cradle.
> The wealth-creation potential of this network is huge. So naturally it
> was only a matter of time before the Valley's money establishment
> discovered it. The same VC firms that used to look warily at Indians
> starting companies now trip over themselves trying to get Indian deals
> in the door. Scott Sandell, a partner at New Enterprise Associates, asks
> the Indians he's already funded to send their entrepreneurial friends
> over to NEA. Of the 15 companies Sandell has funded at NEA, four were
> founded by Indians.
> What VCs have realized is that Indians are not only some of the best
> entrepreneurs they've ever met, but they're also wired into one of the
> Valley's most precious resources -- technical talent. Companies with
> Indian founders, especially ones who've gone to IIT, can often hire
> teams of developers faster than the average company. This can be a huge
> advantage in the Internet race to get up and running ahead of the other
> guy. Munjal Shah, a first-generation Indian American, says he's had no
> problem hiring top-flight engineers for his company, Andale, which
> provides services to people who sell lots of stuff on auction sites.
> Shah met his two chief engineers, both IIT grads, through one of his
> angel investors, all seven of whom went to IIT. Shah thinks the
> connections enabled Andale to move much faster than it would have
> otherwise. "Our time to team was lower," he says.
> One recent day, as I walked through TiE's offices with Rekhi, he showed
> me the brochure for the group's upcoming annual conference. The first
> few years TiE held a conference, nobody of note wanted to come and
> speak. "This year we had people calling us," Rekhi said with great
> pride. Jim Clark and Sycamore Network's Gururaj Deshpande are the
> keynotes; McKinsey CEO Rajit Gupta is also speaking. Flipping open the
> brochure, Rekhi pointed out a long list of conference sponsors -- Goldman
> Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Kleiner Perkins, KPMG, Internet Capital Group,
> and so on. The conference quickly sold out; 1,500 people signed up.
> Such accomplishments attest to Rekhi's success in developing the Indian
> network. "Some of my friends joke that we don't need TiE anymore," he
> says, which is why Rekhi has begun to turn to a place he thinks needs a
> lot of attention--India. "I call it the economic freedom movement," he
> says. "Information technology is restoring India's confidence. The
> change is amazing." Among Rekhi's India projects is a campaign to raise
> private money for IIT, which, despite its wealthy graduates, is still
> funded by $100 million a year from the Indian government. He kicked off
> the campaign by giving $5 million to his alma mater, IIT Bombay. Each
> time he visits India, which is frequently these days, Rekhi meets with
> Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee or cabinet members to discuss
> economic reform. Rekhi wants the government to foster U.S.-style venture
> capital, so that India will become a haven for startups and not just a
> place to farm out cheap software development. In the face of India's one
> billion people and notoriously sclerotic and corrupt bureaucracy, these
> would seem ambitious goals. But Rekhi is undaunted. "I have the time and
> the financial resources," he says. "I want to transform India." Don
> Corleone, it seems, is starting to act a little like Gandhi.
> Curry on Home
> For immigrants, the Bay Area offers Hindi films, assimilation classes,
> and even a Gandhi district.
> It's Saturday night and Tushar Kothari is doing what he does on many
> weekends--sharing a potluck dinner with Indian friends. Tonight Kothari,
> vice president of distribution channels for Cisco Systems, is host; his
> guests are six friends and their wives, all from the neighborhood. Like
> most groups that have come to America in the past 200 years, Indians in
> Silicon Valley tend to cluster together. Kothari's neighborhood in
> Fremont is officially called Vineyard Hills, but some people call it
> "Indian Hill" because of its large concentration of Indian immigrants
> (about 30%). Indian Hill is a development of bright, modern,
> multimillion-dollar Spanish-style homes.
> Kothari's a good host. A graduate of Bombay University who has lived in
> the U.S. for 18 years, he manages roughly $3 billion in annual sales for
> Cisco, but you'd never know it from his self-effacing manner. Despite
> his considerable power, he has never been mentioned in any of the
> hundreds of articles on Cisco, save for a quote or two in Computer
> Reseller News. Each of his friends is similarly successful and equally
> anonymous. Every one, of course, works in high tech, and almost every
> one has sold a startup to a larger company. Ajit Deora, for instance,
> started two companies, one of which was acquired by S3 and the other by
> Phoenix Technologies. Prakash Reddy was a founder of Redwood Design
> Automation, which was bought by Cadence Design Systems; he's now got a
> startup called OneSpot.com.
> Like lots of Indian guys in the Valley, Deora and Reddy met their wives
> through family connections in India. After ceremonies there, the
> newlyweds flew back to the U.S. Inki Deora and Priya Reddy adapted to
> American culture; they're also fully involved in the Indian network. But
> not all brides who move to the U.S. fare as well. Many arrive in the Bay
> Area not knowing how to drive and, if their husbands don't have a Green
> Card, unable to get work. Some end up spending hours watching TV to soak
> up what they can of the world around them.
> Rajiv Ramaswami, founder of a company called Xros, which Nortel acquired
> this past spring, tells of a friend who returned from India with a wife
> who had never been out of her province. She felt so uncomfortable with
> her Americanized husband and his friends that within a month she'd fled
> back to India. For women who stay in the U.S. but endure unhappy
> marriages, there are support groups, like Maitri in Sunnyvale, where
> women can get counseling and other help. It's not just the women who
> feel uprooted. Many Indians bring their parents to live with them, which
> is why groups like the Indo-American Community Service Center have
> sprung up. The center organizes events and classes to help Indian senior
> citizens feel more at home.
> If that doesn't work they can always go to Naz Theater. Fremont has so
> many Indians that for eight years Shiraz Jivani has done a swift
> business showing Hindi movies; some weekends people line up along
> Fremont Boulevard waiting to get in. Jivani recently opened Naz8, an
> eight-screen "multicultural multiplex" down the road in the Fremont Hub,
> an oversized strip mall that's the closest thing Fremont has to a
> downtown. An immigrant from Pakistan, Jivani sells naan rolls and
> vegetable samosas at Naz8's concession stands alongside the popcorn and
> Kit-Kats. On opening weekend last fall, no fewer than 8,000 people saw
> Hum Saath, a family drama with Indian megastars. Jivani has plans to
> show Korean and Filipino films at Naz8, but so far most of the movies
> have been from India.
> Sunnyvale, the other Bay Area town with a huge concentration of Indian
> immigrants, doesn't have a Hindi movie theater; instead there's Gandhi
> Nagar (Hindi for Gandhi Street), an area of Indian restaurants, shops,
> and grocery stores. Nearby apartment complexes like Arches Apartments
> are populated almost entirely with Indians. The building owners couldn't
> be happier about it. "They pay their rent on time and are quiet,"
> reports Olivia Earhart, Arches' building manager.


Kim Polese has become quite the media star. She is extremely smart, self-assured, articulate, and likable; she's also gorgeous, aware of that fact, and slightly outrageous. When I interviewed her -- in her office at Marimba -- she was wearing tight black pants and a leopard- print blouse, which even in Silicon Valley is not standard CEO attire. -- Charles Ferguson, _High St@kes No Prisoners_, p. 149

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