The Avalanche leadership team is comprised of seasoned veterans with an extensive track record of developing, manufacturing and marketing revolutionary memory and storage technologies and generating billions of dollars in revenue. Many of the most successful companies in the industry are represented, including Lexar, Micron, NetApp and Seagate. The team has amassed more than 300 patents in storage, memory, architectures and controllers.
Petro Estakhri – CEO/President/Founder/Director
Petro Estakhri co-founded and has served as Chief Executive Officer for Avalanche Technology since August 2006. Prior Estakhri served as the Chief Technology Officer of Lexar Media, Inc. which he founded in 1996. Lexar Media is a pioneer in flash memory technology for the digital photography, consumer electronics, and communications markets and grew from a private start-up to the 55th largest company in Silicon Valley prior to its acquisition by Micron Technology, Inc. in June 2006. From 1993 to 1996, Estakhri served as the Senior Director of Mass Storage Controller Engineering at Cirrus Logic, Inc., a supplier of semiconductors for Internet entertainment electronics, where he developed one of Cirrus Logic’s primary micro-controllers and co-founded the mass storage memory group. Estakhri also worked at IBM and National Semiconductor. Estakhri has served as a member of a number of boards, including Lexar Media’s as well as Silicon Stor, a company that Estakhri co-founded in 2002. He currently sits on the board of Apixio. Estakhri is a co-author of more than 100 patents related to magnetic media, flash storage controller and systems architecture. Estakhri holds a B.S. and an M.S. in electrical and computer engineering from the University of California at Davis.
Bob Netter – Chief Financial Officer
Bob Netter brings more than 40 years of executive-level financial experience from companies that span a variety of manufacturing industries and markets, including semiconductors, electronics, chemicals and professional/consumer audio. Netter has worked with or consulted with companies internationally, including Europe, Japan, and Australia. Netter has had both line and staff experience including being CFO with four high growth companies. For the previous five years, he was the CFO and a key member of the executive business team of International Petroleum Products and Additives Company, Inc. (IPAC), where he managed all aspects of finance, tax and human resources. Prior to IPAC, Netter was a Regional Managing Director for Focus LLC (2004-2009), a national Investment Banking firm where he successfully completed several M&A and related transactions. The investment banking engagements included venture capital and private equity transactions, M&A transactions, debt restructurings and private placements including conventional, asset based and mezzanine debt as well as turn-around assistance. Prior to Focus Netter held CFO positions with Lexar Media (LEXR), a leader in flash memory technology, FormFactor (FORM), a developer of advanced semiconductor wafer probe cards and AKG Acoustics, now part of Harman International Industries, Inc. (HAR), a publicly held international manufacturer of world leading analog and digital audio products. Netter is a licensed CPA and a former licensed FINRA Registered Representative; he received a BA in Accounting from Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY.
Dr. Yiming Huai – VP of Technology
Yiming Huai joined Avalanche as VP of Technology in September 2008. Huai is a highly accomplished technologist and entrepreneur in magnetic and semiconductor technologies, and most recently was co-founder, board member, CTO and VP of Engineering of Grandis, Inc, a pioneer in the Spin Torque Transfer MRAM (STT-MRAM). Grandis was acquired by Samsung in 2011. While at Grandis, Huai successfully raised more than $25M in private and government funding. He also established the Grandis experienced engineering team and extensive patent portfolio. He has played critical role for Grandis in establishing strategic partnerships with Renesas and Hynix. Prior to Grandis, Huai served as Sr. Director of Thin Film of Manufacturing at Read-Rite Corporation (now Western Digital), where he led the development and volume production of industry leading GMR heads for hard disk drives from 1996 to 2002. He previously worked as a Staff Scientist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the National Research Council in Ottawa, Canada. He received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, both in Physics, from the University of Montreal in Canada. He has published more than 100 papers in scientific journals, holds more than 110 U.S. patents and has more another 20+ patents pending. He has given more than 50 invited talks on STT-MRAM technology and has served as Conference Chairman and Organizer for major international magnetic conferences and workshops. In 1996, he received the prestigious R&D 100 Award with his peers for his outstanding work on Ultra-High Density Magnetic Sensors.
Ebrahim Abedifard – VP of Engineering
Ebrahim Abedifard has served as VP of Engineering for Avalanche Technology since September 2008. Abedifard has more than 28 years of experience in the design of non-volatile memories. Most recently he served as Director of Design Engineering at Micron Technology, where he led multiple design teams on key high speed non-volatile memory products, including the fastest NAND Flash (200MB/S, 8Gb, 50nm) and 143MHz Synchronous NOR Flash memory. His most recent project was leading the design of Micron’s 34nm 32Gb NAND flash; he also successfully designed and transferred to production multiple other high volume NAND flash memories. He holds more than 100 U.S. patents with many additional patents pending. Prior to Micron he served as Design Manager for Xicor Inc. for EEPROM and NOVRAM products. Abedifard holds a B.S.E.E. from Utah State University and a M.S.E.E. from California State University, Fullerton.
Danny Sabour – VP of Marketing and Business Development
Danny Sabour has more than 30 years of experience in the high-tech industry building and leading successful business development, marketing organizations. Prior to joining Avalanche, Sabour was VP of New Memory Business Development at Cypress Semiconductor focusing on new memory architectures. Prior to that, Sabour was VP of new Technology Marketing at Spansion which held the number 1 position for NOR Flash memory. Previous executive positions included director of strategic marketing at MicroChip, Lecroy and most notably Intel where he held many positions in the mobile group, the chipset group and microprocessor division. At Intel he held positions defining the roadmap and owning the executive relationships at multi-national PC OEMs. Sabour received a Master of Science degree in Computer Science and Electronic Engineering from the University College London.
Sam Nemazie – VP of Operations
Sam Nemazie has more than 35 years of experience in silicon and system level architecture, design and manufacturing. Before joining Avalanche as VP of System and Applications Engineering, Nemazie led the development and release to production of many SSD and Flash Controllers at Micron Technology. Prior to that, he served as VP of Engineering at Lexar Media where he again released to production numerous generations of CF, USB and Memory products. Nemazie received his Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan. He also holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical & Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan.
Milissa McCarthy – VP of Worldwide Sales
Milissa McCarthy is responsible for all sales growth through both direct sales as well as Avalanche’s channel organization. She has more than 25 years of technical sales experience with FPGAs, Computational and Graphics processors, as well as Memory systems in the semiconductor industry. Prior to Avalanche, McCarthy was the MRAM Sales Director for North America West and East at Everspin Technologies, and also managed worldwide distribution. Before Everspin, she was a Sales Director at SanDisk (now a Western Digital brand) driving Flash memory and SSD sales for all divisions of Arrow Electronics globally. McCarthy holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a BA in Mathematics from Wheaton College.
Dr. Rajiv Ranjan – Chief Technologist/Founder
Rajiv Ranjan co-founded and serves as Chief Technologist at Avalanche. Previously, Ranjan was the Executive Director of R&D at Seagate, where he led technology development that fueled a doubling of revenue to more than $10B. His technology pioneering efforts have led to the productization of low-noise media perpendicular media and laser texturing. These technologies are now widely used in the storage devices that revolutionized the data storage industry. Ranjan has been recognized by both the United States Congress and the Prime Minister of India for his research in the field of magnetic recording, where he holds more than 75 patents. Prior to Seagate, he directed Komag’s R&D team, which under his direction pioneered the granular and oriented media technology, enabling revenue grow to over $600M. Ranjan received his PhD. in Material Science and Engineering from Iowa State University on a full United States Department of Energy scholarship. He received the prestigious SIMS-86 award from the Instrument Society of America for his design of a transducer for magneto-acoustic detection. Ranjan graduated from the India Institute of Technology, Kharagpur as a Silver medalist in the field of Metallurgical Engineering. He has published more than 60 papers in the magnetic recording field and has lectured at UC Berkeley, Stanford University and Carnegie Mellon University on magnetic recording technologies.