Undisputed godfather of Silicon Valley’s Indian mafia

Published: 16th December 2012 12:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th December 2012 12:58 PM   |  A+A-

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Ethernet networking technology, which is used to connect computers and modems, is one of the backbones of today’s super fast Internet. The company credited with pioneering the technology in 1982 is Excelan, founded by the man whom CNN calls the ‘unofficial but undisputed godfather of Silicon Valley’s Indian mafia’. That is because the pioneer behind Excelan is Kanwal Rekhi, who is not just a successful technology entrepreneur, but is also the helping hand that had made many an Indian success story possible in the Silicon Valley. Kanwal has a B.Tech in electrical engineering from the IIT Bombay and a master’s degree again in electrical engineering (MSEE) from the Michigan Technological University (MTU). After coming out of the MTU in 1969, Kanwal worked in various companies as an engineer and manager. In 1982 he quit to found Excelan which along with Ethernet is credited for the commercial growth of the Internet protocol TCP/IP on which today’s world wide web depends. After selling Excelan to Novell in 1989, Kanwal went on to be the CEO of Ensim Inc, and is now the Managing Director at Inventus Capital. As chairman and trustee of The Indus Entrepreneurs, a support network for Indians in Silicon Valley, Kanwal has been a mentor, investor and guide for several Indian entrepreneurs. He is also a philanthropist who gave millions in gifts to the universities he came from and is now a board member of Pan IIT USA, an alumni organisation of IIT. 

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