German-born Andy Bechtolsheim is the co-founder of Sun Microsystems, one of the leading IT companies in the United States. The company was acquired last year by Oracle for $7.4 billion and is now known as Oracle America. Bechtolsheim and fellow Stanford graduates started the company in 1982 and Bechtolsheim remained with the company until 1995 when he left to start Granite Systems, a company that manufactured network switches. That company was acquired by Cisco a year later and Bechtolsheim became an executive with that well-known company. In 2003 he left Cisco to join another company, Kealia, a server company he co-founded. Sun acquired the company in 2004 and Bechtolsheim found himself back at the company he started 22 years before. His latest venture is a company called Arista Networks, a high speed networking company.
Bechtolsheim is also the co-founder of a venture capital company that helps finance start up ventures in the IT world. One of his early successes was an investment in Google in the company's earliest days. His $100,000 investment in Google in 1998 is now estimated to be worth $1.5 billion.