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3ware Inc.

After a failed run at IP storage, 3ware raises $26M and sets course for Serial ATA

3ware Inc., after an ill-fated run at IP storage, has netted $26 million in venture funding to fuel a restart of the company geared around the Serial ATA controller market.

The funding -- a Series A1 "refunding" round -- was led by U.S. Venture Partners; other investors included New Enterprise Associates (NEA), VantagePoint Venture Partners, and Selby Venture Partners. 3ware had previously raised $57 million in four rounds from investors including NEA, Selby, and VantagePoint (see 3ware Lands $26M Funding).

Two years ago, 3ware launched Palisade, a family of IP storage subsystems, around which the company was pinning much of its future growth prospects (see 3ware Launches Palisade IP Storage and 3ware Loses Its Head).

Alas, that strategy bombed. Last year 3ware scrapped its IP storage business entirely to refocus its efforts on the RAID controller market. To date, 3ware's primary revenue stream has been from its parallel ATA controllers, but the company now sees a gigantic opportunity to get Serial ATA, says Faye Pairman, who was brought on as CEO of 3ware in August 2002.

Initially, 3ware will be targeting secondary enterprise storage applications with its Serial ATA controllers, she says. "There are a lot of applications that will still need SCSI and Fibre Channel, and we'll compete there eventually, once Serial ATA gets its sea legs," says Pairman. "But there's a whole market for storage that is accessed irregularly. Serial ATA provides a much more cost-effective way to store that data."

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