The year was 1999 and Ashmeet Sidana had just sold his enterprise software startup, Sidana Systems Inc., which he had bootstrapped. He was thinking about starting an Internet company, and given his successful track record he could have very easily raised VC. But he chose not to.
“I was uncomfortable with some of the excesses I saw—in terms of the inefficiency of the market,” says Sidana, who was named a general partner at Foundation Capital last month. “People were starting companies very quickly with no proven business models.”
Instead, Sidana went and climbed Mt. Everest. He had heard that someone was organizing a trip and it just sounded like a good idea. “It seemed about as far away as you could get from Silicon Valley in 1999,” he says.
Editor-in-Chief Lawrence Aragon caught up with Sidana and asked him six quick questions.
Do you have any concerns about becoming a GP at a time when the venture industry is shrinking?
I think the industry got ahead of itself in the late nineties and it has gone through a healthy correction. As long as you are disciplined, the VC model works. Foundation has stayed true to its roots, investing in both downturns and upturns. We saw the rewards from that with three IPOs last year. We have a bunch of new companies that are doing well and I’m confident that we’ll see a bunch of new IPOs.
Q: Where will your focus be?
I usually describe it as infrastructure and virtualization. I also expect to do more work in the mobile space. But we’re not sector investors. We look for great teams, great technology and large markets.
Q: With the sale of XenSource IPO of VMWare, where you once worked, there seems to be more interest in virtualization software. Are there many more opportunities in that space?
I think you always have to be selective, but virtualization is changing some of the dynamics of other spaces, like storage. When you virtualize your servers, there is a natural advantage to virtualizing your storage. I sit on the board of Sanrad, which is an example of a company that is finding new opportunities because of virtualization.
JUST FOR FUN
What time do you get out of bed on Sundays?
5:30 a.m., when my youngest daughter wakes up and crawls into our bed.
Q: Blackberry or iPhone?
Q: Person you’d most like to meet?