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Can $35M Save Sanera?

Depending on how you look at it, the $35 million funding announced by Sanera Systems Inc. this week is either an eleventh-hour bailout or the anticipated result of a long-term plan.

The firm's investors coughed up a third round of funding yesterday, bringing Sanera's total venture backing to $101 million. With production shipments of the DS10000 director switch expected to start this summer, the money is enough to bring Sanera to self-sufficiency, says chairman Alex Mendez -- who's also acting as CEO, since Larry Sanders resigned yesterday (see Sanera Gains $35M, Loses CEO).

Participants in Sanera's third round included previous investors ArrowPath Venture Capital, CMEA Ventures, Enterprise Partners Venture Capital, Goldman Sachs & Co., Greylock, and Storm Ventures.

Mendez, a general partner at Storm Ventures, says this was the plan all along: to keep Sanera independent until it became a force in the market. But the timing of the latest funding is interesting, given the recent scuttlebutt about a proposed acquisition by McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA).

Byte and Switch first reported in April that McData was considering the purchase of Sanera. Analysts cheered the anticipated addition of Sanera's high-end, 256-port system to McData's portfolio, saying it would give the company an edge over industry giant Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and enable it to capture a larger chunk of the Fibre Channel switch market.

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