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March 6, 2007 11:57 AM

Bellevue startup iConclude cashing in, what's next?

Posted by Brier Dudley

So what will Sunny Gupta do next?

He hit a home run with iConclude, the Bellevue enterprise software company he founded two years ago and sold last night for $60 million to Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Opsware.

The 36-year-old entrepreneur could retire on the proceeds, but he's not done yet.

He'll join Opsware as a senior vice president to help integrate iConclude's automated network diagnostics technology, but it may not be a permanent position.

Gupta said he may start another company in the enterprise space. He'd also be likely to keep working with Madrona Venture Partners, which led iConclude's funding. (It received $3 million in the first round and $9 million in the second. Tricia Duryee has some financial details about the sale here).

I'm curious to see how big the next one will get. Gupta said he wanted to keep growing iConclude but offers started coming in, and the Opsware deal was too good to pass up.

"Our desire was really to go all the way but you know, when you have something so compelling in front of you, for two years' worth of work, it was hard to walk away from that,'' he said.

All 45 of the iConclude employees will join Opsware and they'll continue working here. But the iConclude brand is likely to go away after the technology is absorbed.

The Seattle area has spawned a lot of enterprise startups, but they seem to always get snapped up before they grow to enterprise scale themselves.

That's good for entrepreneurs and their investors, but the region ends up with a gulf between the startups and the giants like Microsoft and

Gupta said there's not a lot of innovation taking place at the big enterprise vendors so they're on the prowl for startups with compelling products and customer acceptance. That's why iConclude was snapped up "right when we're about to hit the gas pedal."

"The big companies are all looking for new products they can push through their sales engines,'' he said.

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