Secretive Storspeed Sights $13M

NuSpeed founder re-emerges with stealthy storage networking startup

June 9, 2007

3 Min Read
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Startup Storspeed has quietly clinched $13 million in Series A funding as the firm develops a technology to boost the performance of storage networks.

Documents filed with the SEC this week reveal that El Dorado Ventures, Hunt Ventures, Vesbridge Partners, and Palomar Ventures participated in the round. The filing describes the vendor's offerings only as a combination of hardware and software.

The startup's Website is similarly secretive, containing just an email link. No one at the company responded to an email inquiry for this story; a call to El Dorado Ventures resulted in a "No comment."

Despite this wall of silence, there are some clues about the company in the SEC documents. Storspeed, which was set up in February of this year, is headquartered in Austin, Texas. When Byte and Switch dialed a local phone number for the firm, Mark Cree answered. Cree, once a general manager of Cisco's storage router business, would not reveal the nature of his involvement with Storspeed, but confirmed that the firm is focused on storage network performance. "I would be happy to talk more about what we're doing when we're further along," he added, without offering any timeframe.

The publicity-shy Cree had been one of the founders of NuSpeed, which was developing a router for sending Fibre Channel storage traffic over IP networks when it was acquired by Cisco for $450 million in July 2000. (See Cisco to Acquire NuSpeed Internet and 2003 Top Ten: Most Popular Stories.) Cree, along with co-founder Clint Jurgens, left Cisco in early 2003, when Cree cited an apparent lack of support for NuSpeed's technology within the networking giant. (See NuSpeed Duo Departs Cisco.)At that time, the market for iSCSI technologies such as NuSpeed's was still in its infancy, although this scenario has changed over the last few years. (See iSCSI Gang Talks Big, 10-Gig iSCSI SANs Set for Takeoff, Ethernet Storage to Morph Again, and Cisco Stalls on iSCSI.)

After leaving Cisco, Cree eventually popped up at El Dorado Ventures and Vesbridge Partners, joining both firms as an "entrepreneur-in-residence" focused on enterprise networking, Web services, and the security market. (See Ex-NuSpeed CEO Joins VC World and VCs Tag Hot Technologies.)

Along with Mark Cree, the SEC filing also lists Gregory Dahl and Joaquin Aviles as being involved with Storspeed. Aviles was once the VP of product development at Austin-based software developer Tipping Point, now owned by 3Com. (See TippingPoint Pushes 5-Gig Protection.) At Tipping Point, Aviles was responsible for a number of patents in areas such as linking the interfaces of disparate systems.

If and when Storspeed emerges from the shadows, it will encounter some stiff competition from other vendors looking to boost the performance of data as it is sent across storage networks. As well as high-speed switch-routers from the likes of Force10 and Cisco, a slew of firms are pushing products for WAN optimization and Wide Area File Services (WAFS). (See Force10 Flirts With Midrange, WAN Optimization Heats Up, WAN Optimization Gone Wild, Packeteer Gets Microsoft Push, and Riverbed Flows Toward Profitability.)

James Rogers, Senior Editor Byte and Switch

  • 3Com Corp. (Nasdaq: COMS)

  • Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)

  • El Dorado Ventures

  • Force10 Networks Inc.

  • Palomar Ventures

  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

  • Vesbridge Partners LLC0

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