UXComm Plux 6 Million Bux

Storage and systems management software startup lands first-round funding. What's its bag?

September 6, 2003

3 Min Read
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UXComm, a software startup that claims to provide management capabilities across storage, network, and computer blade environments, announced today that it has received $6 million in first-round funding (see UXComm Closes $6M Series A).

OVP Venture Partners and Foundation Capital participated in the round. "Blade architecture represents the next big wave on how computers are being built," OVP partner Dave Chen writes in an email.

UXComm says it will use the cash to accelerate development of its XTend Management software, which is currently being beta tested by four companies, including telecoms and equipment vendors. The company expects to start shipping its software in November.

The startup's Xtend software can either be embedded in the individual devices (such as a Fibre Channel blade) or reside in the control plane. It monitors and controls network, data center, and storage environments, using policy-based automation, according to company CEO Rob Gowens, who calls the capability "cross-domain provisioning."

"The very roots of the company have been about 'cross-domain-ness,' " he says. "Thats the unifying nature of what we do." [Ed. note: We think we saw the E! special on cross-domain-ness. Wacky!]In addition, UXComm says the Xtend software offers resource virtualization and service level agreement (SLA) implementation and compliance. And while the software is mainly focused on bladed architectures, Gowens says it can also be used on standalone devices.

This ability to manage environments across domains not only makes UXComm’s approach unique, Gowens says, it will also decrease the huge competitive pressure most startups feel as they try to enter the market. “Historically speaking, management has been very domain determined,” he says. “We believe we can work closely with incumbent players in each domain.”

Of course, breaking new ground can be a hard task for a tiny startup with little more than $6 million in the bank and not a single paying customer to its name. It’s also difficult to say how the company will fair in the market before it reveals how much its wonder-ware will cost. And that, according to Gowens, won’t happen until the product is officially announced at ITU Telecom World in Geneva in October.

UXComm is planning to use some of the cash from its A-round to build up a sales and marketing team for the product. The startup currently has 11 employees, including two salespeople. Gowens says he expects headcount to swell to 20 people fairly quickly.

Before the round announced today, UXComm, which was founded in January 2001, has relied on investments from “friends, family, and wealthy individuals,” according to Gowens. “It was your typical angel investment.”While Gowens, who came on board as UXComm’s CEO on August 1 this year, won’t comment on his role in landing the investment, he obviously played an important part. He says he "found" the company while he was working as an entrepreneur in residence for OVP, where he spent the nine months prior to joining UXComm.

Before joining OVP, Gowens, who claims more than 20 years experience in the tech industry, was CEO of multiservice gateway vendor IVox Networks Inc.

UXComm is in the process of moving its headquarters from Pleasanton, Calif., to Portland, Ore. “There are a number of reasons,” Gowens says. “Like the quality of life, the cost of living, and the deep tech heritage here.”

— Eugénie Larson, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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