Raj Singh

Date:   Friday , November 21, 2008

Age 53
Place of Birth Idrishpur village in Meerut district, Uttar Pradesh

Residence Los Altos, CA

Family Wife Swadesh and daughters Mona, Rachna and Shinu

Came to the U.S. March, 1980

Education BE(electrical), Roorkee University, 1968; post graduate diploma in applied mathematics, IIT, Delhi, 1970; MSCS, University of Minnesota, 1981

First job Sub-Lieutenant, Indian Navy, 1968

Companies started InterHDL, Automata Publishing; Advance Logic; Fiberlane (split into Cerent and Siara); Stratumone Communications; Roshnee Corp.; Redwood Venture Partners (VC firm) and Redwood Corp. (incubator for telecom/internet infrastructure startups)

Year did an IPO None

Year became millionaire 1995

Favorite charity Education

Lifetime goals Improve education in India to masses

Net worth

Philosophy of life Don’t do something that hurts others

Most inspired by Suhas Patil, Atiq Raza, Vinod Khosla

Most excited by Anything new that is mysterious

Most expensive thing ever bought House in Los Altos

Raj Singh has journeyed a long way in a life that began in Idrispur, a village near Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, about 54 years ago. Singh’s upbringing as the son of a farmer could explain his hard-driving yet simple and down-to-earth philosophy on life and his considerable successes. His background may have also taught him something about risk.

He says that “continuous dreaming of the future, dedication to work, being persistent and passionate about the enterprise,” are some of the reasons that he is successful, as well as, even more importantly, the advantage of having “worked in startups for people like Suhas Patil, Atiq Raza and VCs like Vinod Khosla.”

The young man who once contemplated dedicating his life to the Indian Navy is now a partner with Redwood Venture Partners. With the sale of his companies Siara, Cerent and Stratum One, Singh made close to $300 million in 1999.

After completing his education in India, he began his career as an engineer for the Libyan Electricity Corp. In 1980, he moved to the United States to study computer technology at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

Then, in 1981, he moved where every would-be technology mogul should: Silicon Valley. In December of that year, he joined several startups, one of which was NexGen, a microprocessor company later purchased by Advanced Micro Devices.

It was not until 1996, however, that he founded the company that would catapult him to his greatest success to date, Fiberlane Communications. By focusing on wide area networks when others were pursuing local area networks, Singh addressed a crucial niche, ensuring that the company that was started with $250,000 from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers caught the eye of other investors, like Advanced Fibvver Communications and Integral Capital Partners.

In 1998, Fiberlane was split into two separate entities. One, Cerent Corp., would focus on TDM multiplexors, whereas the other, Siara Systems, would add IP routing capabilities for those multiplexors.

This busy father of three is poised to take another company to the top. His latest venture is Roshni Corp., whose focus is the optical networking market. His busy and highly successful career might be the reason he says that he has little free time. When he’s able to make time, though, he likes to spend it socializing with friends.

He credits a large part of his success to taking risks and working with people who are smarter than him and by “not micromanaging but empowering your subordinates.”