Apple Co-founder Wozniak Now Chief Scientist At Storage Startup


Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has taken a new turn in life as chief scientist at a storage startup.

The startup, Fusion-io, is the developer of the ioDrive, a direct-attached, PCIe-based solid-state storage technology. The company features the ioDrive in its ioSAN networked enterprise SSD and its consumer-focused ioXtreme consumer-based storage device.

As chief scientist, Wozniak will advise Fusion-io's research and development group while working closely with the company's executive team on strategies to help expand its business in major global accounts, the company said in a statement.

Prior to his appointment as chief scientist, Wozniak joined the company's advisory board last October. In that role, Wozniak advised the company's CEO on future market trends, worked with senior management on R&D and product road maps and introduced the company to strategic alliances. Wozniak is expected to continue with those efforts as well, the company said.

"Steve Wozniak has been among the most elite innovators of his age and we are honored by his enthusiasm for our technology and our company," said Don Basile, CEO of Fusion-io, in a statement. "Steve's inventions and insights have inspired generations of IT professionals and we look forward to the influence he will have on the future direction of Fusion-io as we continue to transform the enterprise."

Fusion-io has a three-pronged sales strategy, said Dixon Doll, executive vice president of sales for the company.

It has a direct sales force targeting Fortune 1000 accounts, and has signed 45 solution providers worldwide, including 20 in the U.S., in the last 90 days to target customers, Doll said.

The company also has reseller agreements with IBM and Dell, and a technology partnership with Hewlett-Packard, Doll said.

Dell is also an investor in Fusion-io, Doll said.

The company currently does not work with two-tier distribution, he said.

Fusion-io, founded in 2006, is one of a new crop of vendors that have come from outside the traditional hard-drive industry to take a stab at the solid-state drive business.

The companies include pureSilicon, a storage startup; SanDisk, a vendor more known as a memory manufacturer; and processor and memory maker Intel.

They join established hard-drive vendors like Seagate, Western Digital, Samsung and Toshiba in racing for share in this small but growing market.