Incipient Pulls In $15.6M

Startup rakes in dough to beef up its marketing. Maybe it can speed it up, too

February 21, 2008

3 Min Read
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Storage virtualization startup Incipient has clinched $15.6 million in Series E funding, as it looks to bulk up its sales and marketing efforts.

The round, which included Globespan Capital Partners, GrandBanks Capital, HLM Venture Partners, and Greylock, brings the startup's total funding to a massive $94.6 million.

The vendor plans to use the cash to expand global sales and marketing for its flagship Incipient Network Storage Platform (iNSP), comprising storage virtualization and data migration software that runs on Cisco's MDS family of SAN switches.

"We have been shipping the product for the last year and we have started building out our sales and marketing infrastructure," says Rob Infantino, Incipient's vice president of marketing alliances. "We needed money for scale."

There's a lot on the agenda. First, after opening offices in London and New York, the Waltham, Mass.-based vendor is ready to open facilities across the U.S., starting in Atlanta and Chicago, as well as at an undisclosed location on the West Coast.Incipient is also looking to increase its sales force from a dozen to around 18 people over the coming months. The vendor's aiming specifically to add sales veterans with experience of dealing with big-name customers. "Our target market as a company is the larger enterprises, and it takes a certain caliber of sales person to sell into that market," says Infantino.

Forging more reseller deals is also high on Incipient's agenda. The startup recently chalked up a reseller agreement with Unisys and has technology partnerships in place with IBM, Cisco, 3PAR, HP, and Sun.

There is also a slew of product enhancements planned. Incipient bulked up its own block storage virtualization offering last year, adding support for Microsoft's Active Directory and increasing the software's clustering capabilities. Remote replication capabilities are set to be added to the iNSP flagship before the end of 2008. Also up is a data migration product with heterogeneous switch support, which will be launched sometime in the first half of this year.

Which switches will it support? Mum's the word. "It's on our roadmap. I dont want to speculate," Infantino says.

The new funding may help Incipient onto a faster track than it's been on so far. It took the startup more than three years and $79 million in funding to get its first products to market, although Infantino claims to be enjoying solid traction, particularly in the financial services sector."We're pretty much talking to all the big banks on Wall Street and in London," he says, although only one of the startup's customers, the city of Mesa in Arizona, has been made public.

In total, Incipient now has "more than 10" customers, all of which are "seven-figure deals," according to Infantino. "I can't tell you the exact number and I can't tell you the names or the revenue, because most of them are financial services customers."

Incipient is up against some stiff competition in the shape of EMC's Invista product, which also took some time to reach GA, but was recently overhauled in an effort to raise the product's profile.

Despite plenty of marketing spiel from Incipient and EMC, there has been relatively slow uptake of storage virtualization, something which even Incipient's Infantino acknowledges. "One of the reasons why the market hasn't taken off is because the major vendors haven't done a good job of explaining the value that storage virtualization brings," he says.

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  • Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD)

  • Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Globespan Capital Partners

  • Grandbanks Capital

  • Greylock Partners

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • Incipient Inc.

  • McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA)

  • QLogic Corp. (Nasdaq: QLGC)

  • Unisys Corp.

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