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April - 2000 - issue > Cover Feature
Piyush Patel
Friday, November 21, 2008
Age 44 years
Place of Birth Anand, India

Residence Dover, New Hampshire

Family Wife: Tejal, 2 Boys: Kush (12), Shail (10)

Came to the U.S. 1998

Education MSEE, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison

First job and career Intel Corporation

Company started Yago Systems

Year did an IPO

Year became millionaire

Favorite charity

Lifetime goals Leave a mark in whatever I do

Net worth

Philosophy of life Intellectual Honesty, Healthy paranoia, loosing is not an option.

Most inspired by Andy Grove

Most excited by Challenges

Most expensive thing ever bought Car

Jorge del Calvo, a preeminent corporate attorney with law firm Pillsbury Madison and Sutro, happened to be holding a copy of siliconindia in his hands when we were introduced to him at a public meeting.

As we talked about the latest deals and steals in Silicon Valley, Piyush Patel, a lanky engineer-entrepreneur with a khadi jhola (cotton bag) on his shoulder, walked by. Indicating Patel, Del Calvo said, “Let me introduce you to one of your future cover boys.”

We smiled. We’d heard this one before: yet another kid on the block who thinks he belongs on our cover. After all, we’ve got only 12 in a year, and it takes an extraordinary amount of grit, promise, charm, not to mention personality to get onto one. Nope, this guy didn’t seem like he was going to make the cut. Still, Del Calvo was pretty sure; he was, after all, Patel’s company’s corporate attorney.

We changed our mind when we met Patel and his two partners in their new offices in Mountain View. In hindsight, the sale of their startup Yago Systems (Yet Another Gigabit Operation) for $285 million to Cabletron Systems seems like a mere first step in an elaborate scheme to not only exit from a hyper competitive market but also elevate the fast-sagging fortunes of the acquiring company.

With a series of sharp, decisive moves, Patel, with partner Romulus Pareira first convinced the senior management to inject young blood into the top ranks of the company by replacing themselves (!) with the upstart Yago team. Subsequently, in June of last year, Patel was appointed chairman and CEO of the company, and soon after Pareira became president.

Judging from the performance of the company’s stock, which has shot up to $50 from its last year’s cost of $8, the results are a clear success. The pair’s involvement augurs particularly well in light of the pessimism by industry experts and analysts, who hinted at a desperate acquisition. The company has also announced a complete reorganization of the company into four independent subsidiary companies, each focused on particular market segments. This move shows that Patel and Pareira are doing what they are best at: running smaller, leaner, entrepreneurial companies. The streamlined departments enable the product development and marketing teams to move faster and more effectively, serving the huge and seemingly infinite markets.

It’s difficult to imagine Patel and Pareira operating without the support of each other; they are partners who complement each other very well. So why, we wonder, does Patel still drive his broken-in 1988 station wagon when Pareira went out and bought a swank new BMW Z3 soon after the Yago acquisition?

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