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Kittu

New Enterprise Associates, the Silicon Valley venture capital firm that has become one of the biggest players in recent years, has hired accomplished entrepreneur Kittu Kolluri.

This is a big move, because Kolluri is a veteran start-up guy who has been through it all. He was at Silicon Graphics. He then learned about the dangers of hype when he co-founded the healthcare advice portal, Healtheon, with Netscape co-founder Jim Clark during the boom years. Healtheon was an NEA portfolio company, and it later merged with WebMD.

When we interviewed him a few years ago for a story we were writing about his subsequent company, Neoteris (downloads article), he recalled the hype when the business media first began covering Healtheon in early 1996, spreading pictures of Clark across the front pages. ”We hadn’t even written a line of code,” he remarked.

His big hit came as president and CEO of Neoteris, when he sold the company for $300 million in Nov 2003 to NetScreen after just a couple of years work — and that was during the dog years. (It was privately valued at only $6 million in 2001.) He then joined Juniper, after Juniper bought Netscreen.

According to VentureWire (sub required), which first reported the Kittu hire this morning, NEA is reportedly looking to raise as much as $2 billion for its next fund, nearly double its current $1.1 billion eleventh fund.