Tech veteran returns to start-up battlefield

Indian tech guru Kanwal Rekhi has whipped himself into shape, lost 70 pounds and is returning to the start-up world after an eight-year hiatus.

He has joined a Sunnyvale Web-hosting company, Ensim.

Rekhi, 56, is referred to as ``Uncle'' by the thousands of Indian techies based in Silicon Valley, a term of respect he earned after becoming the first Indian to take a company public on the New York Stock Exchange.

His return to a private company, to be announced Monday, will no doubt generate some buzz among Silicon Valley's Indian community. For Rekhi, his slimming down from his 279-pound former self this past summer said something about the valley's direction. ``My getting in shape is symbolic of what needed to happen in the valley,'' he said at his Ensim headquarters this week. ``The thought of being fat, dumb and happy was very unpalatable to me.''

He's also angry, he says, at the latest generation of venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. The dot-com craze was caused by an invasion of young Stanford and Harvard MBA graduates, he said, who entered companies, gained influence, and reinforced themselves in views about the obsolescence of profits. Before that, Rekhi viewed the valley as a ``wholesome'' place. ``I thought someone desecrated our temple,'' he said.

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