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Malavalli invests Rs 10 cr in IT firm

March 13, 2003 11:43 IST

Kumar Malavalli, the Indian-born tech evangelist, who was recently inducted in the Silicon Valley Hall of Fame for inventing the fibre channel technology, is investing Rs 10 crore (Rs 100 million) in Apara Enterprise Solutions Ltd, a Bangalore-based IT firm, to take its operations global.

With his new investment in the privately held IT infrastructure services and solutions provider, the co-founder of Brocade Communications was inducted on the board of Apara as its chairman.

Incidentally, Malavalli has till date invested about -12 million of his funds in as many as nine companies, including two in India, one each in Israel and Canada, and the remaining five in the US, mostly in the form of seed capital to promote their launch.

Apara's reconstituted board of directors, has also two new directors, viz, the US-based Brenda Christensen, former vice-president of Brocade and ex-chairperson of the Fiber Channel Industry Association, USA, and G S Ravi, co-founder and president of the Bangalore-based Edurite Technologies.

Being a privately-held company, Apara's co-founder and managing director M S Sidhu did not disclose its paid-up or authorized capital, but declared that while Malavalli and the two new directors would hold collectively 20 percent of the expanded equity, and 10 percent by some of its employees (in the form of Esops), the majority was being held by the promoters.

With Malavalli on Apara board now, Sidhu hopes to attract venture capital funds in the next round of funding that will enable the promoters to dilute further their current holding in the small and medium company.

The fresh infusion of additional capital will enable Apara to set up soon its first overseas operations in Singapore for targeting the storage area networking requirements of global enterprises in the Asia-Pacific region.

Since its inception over a decade ago, the Rs 50-crore (Rs 500-million) Apara has been providing its services and solutions in storage, networking and security areas to leading corporates across India, including Citibank, ICICI, Intel, and Motorola.

"Though tech spending in communications and IT infrastructure has been hampered by global recession and excess capacities in the US and Europe, it has been witnessing a consistent growth in the AsiaPac region where enterprises have been moving up the value chain to integrate their worldwide operations," Malavalli told in Bangalore on Wednesday.

In partnership with technology leaders such as Brocade, Hitachi Data Systems, Nortel and Network Appliances, Apara will provide consulting and storage area network solutions to global enterprises for protecting their data and securing their operations.

The company will also be expanding its operations to the US, and the West Asia market, where potential for storage farms, data networks, and disaster recovery centers is huge.

"The ecosystem of companies will be looking at Apara as a platform for re-defining markets in India and other developing countries in the AsiaPac and the Gulf region," Malavalli stated.

Sidhu said Apara would also offer training in storage area networks, including certified courses to leading vendors. "We will also act as technical assistance centres to our partners, worldwide," Sidhu added.

The company is projecting a sales turnover of Rs 100 crore (Rs 1 billion) by the end of the current fiscal year (2002-03), up by 100 per cent over the previous year (2001-02).

Fakir Chand in Bangalore