Greenfield Gathers $21.5M

Sunnyvale startup secures $21.5M of funding today, bringing its total to $48 million

September 21, 2004

2 Min Read
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High-end switch chip startup Greenfield Networks announced $21.5 million in Series C funding today, and is aiming to become profitable sometime next year with the help of VOIP and video enhancements.

The latest round, which brings Greenfields total funding to $48 million, was led by new investor JP Morgan Partners. Existing investors participating in the round included Sequoia Capital, Global Catalyst Partners, and Walden International Investment Group.

Founded in 2001, Greenfield’s core offering is the Packetry family of products, targeted at major switch vendors. The newest member of the family is the GH3032, an IPv6 and MPLS Gigabit Ethernet fixed-configuration switch (see Greenfield Intros GigE Switch Chips). The range also includes the G525 packet engine, the G750 shared memory fabric, and the G120 intelligent multiplexer device.

According to Greenfield, the products support both enterprise and metro applications, as well as service provider data centers. The company says it has already amassed a number of customer design wins but the company won't name them.

So, who are the people behind Greenfield Networks? The company was founded by former Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) execs Kamran Torabi, Harish Devanagondi, and Rich Heaton, and is headed by president and CEO Gary Smerdon. Prior to joining Greenfield, Smeardon was VP of marketing for communications products at rival Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (Nasdaq: MRVL).A spokesman for Greenfield told NDCF the company will focus on product enhancements to support VOIP and video, as well as forging more software partnerships. The company has already teamed up with network software specialist IP Infusion Inc. The Greenfield spokesman says that more deals are likely (see IP Infusion, Greenfield Partner on IPv6).

Bob Wheeler, senior analyst at The Linley Group, says Greenfield is well-positioned to exploit a gap in the switch market. “They are targeting a segment that hasn’t really been addressed well in the past -- the high-end enterprise switch,” he says. “There hasn’t been a lot of merchant silicon at that level.”

However, Greenfield is not the only company playing in this space. Marvell launched its first merchant Ethernet switch back in 1996, and already offers its Prestera range of products.

Wheeler also feels that Greenfield, with its emphasis on expandable, chassis-based switches is well placed to exploit current market forces, which appear to be moving away from fixed-configuration devices. “Maybe it’s too early to call it a trend, but there is some indication that there is a switch to the chassis model,” he says. “IT managers want some expandability, particularly for new features such as security and VOIP.”

But, will the company achieve its goal of profitability in 2005? “The issue is how quickly they can ramp customers up to reasonable types of volumes,” says Wheeler. “They have had [product] samples out there for some time now, so it certainly seems feasible.”— James Rogers, Site Editor, Next-gen Data Center Forum

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