In Memorium: Entrepreneurs Who Died in 2009

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Christopher Hipp, Founder of RLX Technologies

An autodidact who schooled himself in computers after dropping out of college, Hipp got his start in the business in the mid-1990s selling powerful supercomputers, servers, and other equipment made by Silicon Graphics. When he got the idea for blade servers, which allowed for much smaller servers that also trounced the energy efficiency of the machines that preceded them, he struck out on his own to form RLX Technologies. Five years later, in 2005, HP bought the company, though the entrepreneur barely made any money from the sale since many rounds of venture capital had diluted his ownership stake. Now, however, blades are a major segment of the server market, representing $5.4 billion in revenue last year.