Storigen Ends With a Whimper

Distributed storage startup goes kaput after smoking up $34M

November 15, 2003

2 Min Read
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Storigen Systems, a startup that had developed a distributed file-caching system, has evidently gone down for the count.

The Lowell, Mass., startup, founded in June 2000, had 58 employees as of mid-2003. Storigen had raised $34 million in two rounds of VC funding from Charles River Ventures, Battery Ventures, Thomas Weisel Partners, and OneLiberty Ventures (see Storigen Reels in $10M More and Storigen Clinches $15M in Funding).

While none of the principals associated with the company have officially confirmed that it has gone out of business, every sign points to Storigen's demise.

One of Storigen's former contractors confirms that the company has ceased regular operations but adds that its intellectual property may still be being shopped around. Dennis Hoffman, Storigen's president and CEO, could not be reached for comment; an email sent to his address was not returned. Meanwhile, Storigen's Website has been down for the past week. A message left on the company's general voicemail system was unreturned.

Storigen's investors aren't interested in talking, either. Neither Chris Baldwin, partner at Charles River Ventures, nor Sunil Dhaliwal, senior associate at Battery Ventures, responded to requests for more information about what went wrong.The company was marketing its Distributed Storage Network (DSN) appliances, which automated the distribution and recovery of content throughout large organizations. The idea was to let IT administrators accelerate distributed applications and consolidate their remote storage infrastructure.

But it seems it couldn't gin up interest in its system. When we last heard from the company in June 2003, Hoffman noted that Storigen had "just under 10 customers" -- not enough to pay the bills.

Peter Christy, an analyst with NetsEdge Research Group, says Storigen's target market simply never materialized.

"Storigen had interesting and differentiated technology both in terms of file system performance... and in terms of distributed file access and management," he says. "They would have survived much better if the markets that needed that had been better established and could have seen the Storigen differentiation. Creating those markets from scratch is a different story."

In its final months, Storigen was trying another tack to generate revenue, having signed a software licensing deal with EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC). EMC is reselling the startup's software as the Centera Application Gateway, which lets users access its Centera content-addressed storage using standard file system protocols (see EMC Centera Gets a Translator).EMC says it will continue to support customers that have implemented the Storigen product.

"At this early stage, EMC is not commenting on specifics, but our customers should know that we will fulfill our commitments and will continue to service and support the product," says spokesman A.J. Ragosta.

Todd Spangler, US Editor, Byte and Switch

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