Trebia Croaks

IP storage processor startup shuts down, and Emulex is said to have acquired its assets

August 27, 2003

2 Min Read
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Storage processor startup Trebia Networks Inc. -- which claimed to have the fastest IP storage acceleration technology in the market -- shut its doors yesterday, throwing about 30 employees out of work, several sources tell Byte and Switch.

However, Trebia CEO Ruediger "Rudi" Stroh insists in an email message that the company has not shut down. Rather, he says, it has been acquired.

"We are in the process of completing an acquisition," he writes. But he declined to name the acquiring party and refused to comment further. [Ed. note: You say "acquisition," I say "tomahto."]

Stroh joined the company in February after its VCs ousted most of the previous management team. He was previously CEO of Systemonic AG, a German wireless networking chip startup acquired by Philips Semiconductors (NYSE: PHG). Trebia's backers have been said to be shopping the company for the past few months (see Trebia Taps Stroh as CEO, Is Trebia Up for Sale?, and Trebia Ousts CEO).

A Trebia insider, who wished to remain anonymous, says the word is that Emulex Corp. (NYSE: ELX) has signed a deal to buy the startup's intellectual property and hire about 10 of its staffers. An Emulex spokeswoman declined to comment.According to an ex-Trebia executive, Stroh broke the news that the company would be shutting down yesterday at a lunchtime meeting at its Acton, Mass., headquarters. "There were around 30 at the lunch... not too many happy faces," says the company insider. At last count, Trebia had 38 employees.

Trebia, founded in July 2000, had received about $40 million in funding from Allianz of America Inc., Atlas Venture, BancBoston Ventures, Deutsche Banc Alex Brown LLC, Kodiak Venture Partners, Raza Foundries, and VantagePoint Venture Partners (see Trebia's $40M Secret).

In May, Trebia's VCs committed an additional round of funding, estimated to be approximately $10 million, concurrent with bringing Stroh on board as CEO (see Trebia Gets Second Wind and Is Trebia Up for Sale?).

An executive with a storage networking startup, who declined to be named, said Trebia had great technology but that it had simply brought its products out too early. "In the old days, it would have been a no-brainer -- they would put another Series C of $10 million or $20 million and wait for the market to come back around," he says.

Surely another problem for Trebia was the overcrowded field of companies pushing storage-acceleration silicon. Trebia's competitors included Adaptec Inc. (Nasdaq: ADPT), Alacritech Inc., Astute Networks Inc., iReady Corp., QLogic Corp. (Nasdaq: QLGC), and Silverback Systems Inc.. In addition, Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) has said it's working on a storage-acceleration chip.Todd Spangler, US Editor, Byte and Switch

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