A History of Silicon Valley

This biography is an appendix to my book "A History of Silicon Valley"


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(Copyright © 2009 Piero Scaruffi)

Andy Bechtolsheim

Andreas Bechtolsheim (Germany, 1955) studied engineering at the Technische Universitat in Munich. In 1974 he moved to the USA to study electrical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. In 1977 he transferred to Stanford where he studied until 1982. In 1981 Stanford had a team working on a project to connect all their mainframes, minis, LISP machines and Altos. William Yeager designed the software (on a PDP-11) and ubiquitous student Andy Bechtolsheim designed the hardware. Two support engineers, Leonard Bosack and his wife Sandy Lerner, would eventually commercialize the Advanced Gateway Server with their start-up Cisco. Meanwhile, Bechtolsheim was working at the Stanford University Network. He had modified a Xerox PARC's Alto into a workstation running Unix and networking software. His goal was simply to have machines that would make it as easy as possible to be connected and share data. Khosla realized that this could become a business, and they joined forces with Scott McNealy, a former Stanford graduate and now at Unix start-up Onyx, and hired Berkeley graduate Bill Joy of BSD fame to develop a dialect of Unix, SunOS, based on BSD (Berkeley's version of Unix). Backed by venture capitalists such as Kleiner-Perkins in february 1982. SUN Microsystems was started to market that concept. The first Sun-2 workstations was released at the end of 1982.
In 1995 he quit Sun and founded Granite Systems, which was sold to Cisco in 1996 for $220 million. In 1999 he started his career as an "angel" investor by becoming the first investor in Google, when it only had eight employees. In 1999 Bechtolsheim and Bill Joy founded the venture-capital firm HighBAR Ventures. In december 2003 he quit Cisco to concentrate on Kealia, a start-up that he had founded in 2001. This one was bought by SUN. In 2005 Bechtolsheim formed Arastra, later renamed Arista Networks.
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