Where is he now?
By Thomas Zizzo, photograph by Mark Pearlstein/Blackstar - October 15, 2000
On the first cover of Electronic Business, back in October 1975, we featured a 37-year-old executive named Berry Cash, vice president of marketing and co-founder of memory chip maker Mostek Corp. Today, that original cover hangs proudly on his office wall at Dallas-based Interwest Partners, where he is still active in high tech as a venture capitalist funding new companies.
So how did Cash end up on our first cover? A public relations guy at Mostek told him that there was this new electronics magazine called Electronic Business that wanted to know if he was interested in being on the cover. "I said `Will it help us sell DRAMs?'" he recalls. Cash agreed, thinking the publicity would be good for the young company. He posed in front of the Mostek sign at its main facility in Dallas, which is still in operation today, run by ST Microelectronics N.V.
Cash says that Mostek, primarily a memory company, ultimately fell victim to the Asian competition that drove even Intel Corp. from the memory business in the mid-1980s. "The Japanese entered the memory business with a vengeance," he comments. Mostek was bought by United Technologies in 1980. In 1987, United Technologies sold Mostek to SGS Thomson Microelectronics in a deal worth $71million. SGS Thomson, later re-named ST Microelectronics, capitalized on the rights to the old Mostek DRAM patents, garnering significant revenues from royalties, says Cash.
After Mostek was bought by United, Cash went on to become a consultant. He worked on the original Apple Computer Inc. Macintosh, and later he worked with a company called InteCom. Cash says he had a lot of fun working with Apple, "I should have paid them to let me do it." He then went on to found the venture fund, Berry Cash Southwest Partnership. Cash then got acquainted with some venture capitalists in Silicon Valley from InterWest and became a partner in 1986. Today, he sits on the boards of Silicon Laboratories Inc., Austin, TX, Ciena Corp., Linthicum, MD, i2 Technologies Inc., Dallas and several others.
Cash admits that our excitement over EB turning 25 has made him feel old, but his enthusiasm in the industry keeps him young. He says he's proud of the success of the magazine, which he still reads.
Although he helped build a memory company, Cash says he's leery about getting involved with companies that have anything to do with memory technology. "Every time I see a business plan that has something to do with the memory business I say `You know I've seen this movie before.'" He is now focused on optical and photonic technologies, and sees those areas as having a bright future.