Cirtas emerges from stealth as cloud space heats up
SAN FRANCISCO (Venture Capital Journal) - Further evidence the cloud space is heating up came last week from Cirtas Systems.
The San Jose, California-based provider of a cloud storage gateway device announced it has emerged from stealth mode and has raised $10 million in an oversubscribed Series A round from New Enterprise Associates, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Amazon.
Cirtas (www.cirtas.com) makes an appliance about the size of a large encyclopedia that bridges a company's storage area network with a cloud-based storage system.
"We make it appear seamless, like the data is stored locally," said Josh Goldstein, vice president of marketing and product management.
Cirtas' Bluejet Cloud Storage Controllers are targeted at medium and large enterprises, with pricing starting at $69,995 per appliance. Cirtas, which is in partnership with cloud service providers Amazon and Iron Mountain, has had 16 customers in its beta testing.
CEO Dan Decasper said Cirtas, which has close to 30 employees now, is looking at doubling its team over the next year as the company goes after "thousands" of potential customers interested in secure and simple cloud storage. Before he co-founded Cirtas, Decasper ran two engineering teams at Citrix, served as CTO of Orbital Data Corp (bought by Citrix in 2006) and co-founded and was CEO of Jibe Networks.
At Cirtas, Decasper said he expects the number of customers to take off now that the company has emerged from stealth and more media outlets are paying attention to the cloud industry, thanks in part to a rash of recent funding announcements.
Cirtas' funding announcement this morning follows several other recent cloud deals:
* StorSimple landed $13 million in a Series B round led by Mayfield Fund.
* Intel Capital announced last week it took part in the $14 million Series A round for Adaptive Computing, a developer of software for data center and cloud computing.
* Late last month, Nimbula Inc., a Menlo Park, Calif.-based cloud operating system provider founded by former Amazon execs Chris Pinkham and Willem van Biljon - both of whom were part of the EC2 public cloud service development team - announced it raised $15 million in a second round of funding from Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital.
* Cloud-based content management provider SpringCM last month socked away $15 million in additional funding from Foundation Capital, North Bridge Venture Partners and Silicon Valley Bank.
* And Atlantis Computing, which develops virtualization software to remotely access computer desktops, raised an additional $10 million from El Dorado Ventures, Cisco Systems and Partech International.
Cirtas Systems wasn't the only VC-backed company to raise funding last week. Other early stage companies to secure first or second rounds included the following:
Good Start Genetics Inc.
Amount/Round: $18 million/Series A
Investors: OrbiMed Advisors, Safeguard Scientifics Inc. and SV Life Sciences
Details: Develops pre-pregnancy genetic tests. The company expects to launch the product in 2011. Founded in December 2007 at Harvard University, the company's technology is partially based on science from the lab of genetics professor George Church, and a business plan hatched by students at Harvard Business School.
Amount/Round: NA/seed stage
Investors: Granite Ventures
Details: Provides what it calls smart energy communications. The company, launched last year by CEO Michael Bourton and CTO Donald Sturek, previously raised $1.5 million of a planned $2-million round, according to Xconomy. Sam Kingsland, managing director of Granite Ventures, has joined the board.
Ann Arbor, MI
Amount/Round: $4.2 million/Series B
Investors: General Motors Ventures, Itochu Technology, Beringea and Khosla Ventures
Details: Develops lithium-ion batteries.
SG Biofuels Inc.
Amount/Round: $9.4 million/Series A
Investors: Flint Hills Resources LLC and Life Technologies Corp
Details: Develops biofuels based on seeds of Jatropha for diesel, jet fuel and petrochemicals.
San Francisco, CA
Amount/Round: $5 million/Series A
Investors: Trident Capital. Redpoint Ventures and Norwest Venture Partners
Details: Provides social-marketing solutions to its clients in the form of friend referrals and social network marketing campaigns, using Facebook, Twitter and blogs. The funding coincides with the company's rebranding from TellAPal.
San Francisco, CA
Amount/Round: $6 million/Series A
Investors: Azure Capital Partners, O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures and First Round Capital
Details: Provides community-building promotional services. Cameron Lester, founding general partner of Azure, has joined the board.
San Francisco, CA
Amount/Round: NA/Series A
Investors: Walden Venture Capital (co-led), Keiretsu Forum (co-led), Harvard Angels and North Bay Angels
Details: Provides tools to manage online content. The company said that the funding will go toward growth, hiring technical and product teams, and expansion. Informifi was founded and is headed by Niko Vuori. Art Berliner of Walden and Phil Solk of Keiretsu have joined the board.
Amount/Round: $14 million/Series A
Investors: Intel Capital (led), EPIC Ventures and Tudor Ventures
Details: Provides data center optimization technology to meet customer demand for cloud automation. Intel did not disclose how much it invested in the round, but it said the funding is coming from its $200,000 Intel Capital Invest in America Fund, which it launched in February.
San Jose, CA
Amount/Round: $10 million/Series A
Investors: New Enterprise Associates, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Amazon
Details: Provides cloud storage systems for enterprises. The company was expected to make the funding announcement on Monday in at the Storage Decisions conference in New York.
Santa Clara, CA
Amount/Round: $13 million/Series B
Investors: Mayfield Fund (led), Ignition Partners, Index Ventures and Redpoint Ventures
Details: Develops hybrid storage solutions. The company has now raised $21 million in funding. StorSimple also announced that it has appointed Ian Howells as chief marketing officer.
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