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Comdex coverage by CNN and IDG.net

Storage pioneer Shugart plays venture capitalist

November 19, 1998
Web posted at: 12:50 PM ET

by David Pendery

From...

(IDG) -- LAS VEGAS -- The venture capital company founded by ex-Seagate CEO Al Shugart to nurture start-up and established companies on Friday will make its first $500,000 investment in Blue Sky Research, a San Jose, Calif.-based maker of optical storage technologies, Shugart said Tuesday.

Although Shugart said technology start-ups are the most likely beneficiaries of Al Shugart International (ASI) largesse, the company, like its namesake, will experiment with a range of different business opportunities and interests.

"There are no rules. We don't want to limit it," Shugart said during an interview here at Comdex. "The No. 1 criteria is that [the target company] is interesting and fun."
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In addition to locating interesting, fun companies, ASI's mandates include "maintaining active awareness of technology status and trends, assisting entrepreneurial companies, managing a start-up venture capital fund, and operating a holding company for implementing ideas when ASI wishes to become an active management participant" in selected start-ups and more established companies, Shugart said.

Any company that ASI invests in must also evince the bedrock principles of ethical conduct, honesty, fairness, and integrity, Shugart added.

Shugart estimates that ASI will initially have $50 million to $100 million in capital available for start-ups that catch the company's attention.

Companies that may initially be considered include developers of optical 3-D storage, semiconductors, and bandwidth technology, Shugart said. Shugart is currently on the boards of seven technology companies, including makers of semiconductors, Internet software, flash data storage, digital-imaging products, and battery technology.

"The last thing I want to do is start a disk drive company," Shugart said, and in fact, in the wake of the storage pioneer's acrimonious ousting by the board of Seagate Technology in July, he has agreed not to develop competing products with the company.

Al Shugart International (ASI), in Soquel, Calif., can be reached at (831) 479-7852.

David Pendery is an InfoWorld reporter.

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