Shugart adds cash to PR in hybrid firm

SOQUEL, CA: Seagate Technology’s notorious founder and former CEO Al Shugart has hit the convention trail hyping what could be the first of its kind: a hybrid venture capital/PR firm.

SOQUEL, CA: Seagate Technology’s notorious founder and former CEO Al Shugart has hit the convention trail hyping what could be the first of its kind: a hybrid venture capital/PR firm.

SOQUEL, CA: Seagate Technology’s notorious founder and former CEO

Al Shugart has hit the convention trail hyping what could be the first

of its kind: a hybrid venture capital/PR firm.



Shugart, who was fired in July 1998 from the Santa Cruz hard-disk

company he founded, was at the Golden Nugget Hotel in Las Vegas during

COMDEX last month promoting his newest venture, Al Shugart International

(ASI).



His firm, which bills itself as a ’resource company focused on helping

entrepreneurs launching new enterprises,’ assists tech start-ups in two

main ways: via direct monetary investment and by providing PR in

exchange for equity, rather than hourly fees.



ASI VP of communications Judy Plummer paints Shugart’s leap from

engineer and CEO to VC/PR practitioner as a natural progression. ’Al is

a big believer in PR,’ she explained. ’Even at Seagate, the

communications department always reported directly to him, and now he is

personally involved in PR for all the clients.’



Shugart described himself as ’the idea guy’ for ASI’s PR clients. ’I

say, ’Why don’t we ...’ and then Judy and my staff go and make it

happen.’



ASI currently boasts a staff of four full-time PR pros and handles eight

wildly diverse clients, including Digital-Square, a company that is

developing a worldwide network of retail outlets that reside on the hard

drives of new PCs; StudioFX, which licenses popular cartoon, TV and

movie characters for use on the Internet; and Orange Guard, an

insecticide made from citrus peels.



Shugart said his plan is to expand his client base and staff, and then

perhaps move into other areas of marketing communications, such as

advertising.



The firm hired Veritas Software (formerly Seagate Software) PR manager

Jan Jahosky last month as a director of communications.



An infamous Silicon Valley character known for his Hawaiian shirts and

boisterous personality, Shugart is credited with helping to invent disk

drive technology - first for IBM and then in 1980 for Seagate. Even

before getting the hook at Seagate last summer, he had been the

defendant in a few securities fraud lawsuits, which he later settled for

a reported dollars 15 million.



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