5.3. THE VENTURE CAPITALISTS

Stanford professor David R. Cheriton joined Yahoo!'s David Filo in urging Page and Brin to consider becoming entrepreneurs, but Cheriton went one step further. He hooked the Google boys up with an investor he knew.

Late one night in August 1998, Cheriton e-mailed Andy Bechtolsheim, a founder of Sun Microsystems and one of Silicon Valley's most successful venture capitalists. Bechtolsheim immediately responded, suggesting they meet the next morning at eight o'clock. He passed Cheriton's home on his way to work each day.

Cheriton, a Canadian-born and -educated computer science professor, has become a billionaire as a result of his investments in technology companies. Cheriton co-founded Granite Systems with Andy Bechtolsheim, a company that developed gigabit Ethernet products. Cisco Systems acquired Granite in 1996. Cheriton later became co-founder of Bechtolsheim's 2001 startup company, Kealia, which was acquired by Sun Microsystems in 2004.

By the time he met Page and Brin, Bechtolsheim had a lot of experience in starting companies. In addition to his work with Cheriton, he was a co-founder of Sun Microsystems. He knew his way around software, the Internet, and Silicon Valley. Lounging in the morning sun, Bechtolsheim watched Sergey and Larry's demo for Google and immediately wrote a $100,000 check to help launch the company.

Brin and Page celebrated the affirmation of their work with breakfast at Burger King. "We thought we should [eat] something ...

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