Voltaire Strikes Up $15M Series E

Startup is now looking to put more feet on the street to tout its InfiniBand switch technology

June 4, 2005

3 Min Read
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Voltaire Inc. will announce $15 million in Series E financing on Monday, as the market for InfiniBand products heats up again.

The funding round, which was led by Baker Capital Corp., Pitango Venture Capital, and Vertex Venture Capital, brings Voltaires total funding to $65 million. Existing investors Tamir Fishman Ventures, Challenge Fund, and Platinum Venture Capital also participated.

Paul Bonderson, Voltaire board member and co-founder of Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD), also took part in the round as a new investor. Voltaire will use the cash influx to spread the word about its InfiniBand switch technology.

Ronnie Kenneth, Voltaire’s CEO, told NDCF that the money will be used to “put more people on the ground," particularly in areas such as sales and support. Currently, the Billerica, Mass.-based vendor has around 80 employees, although Kenneth predicts that this will grow by around 25 percent by the end of the year.

He also says that the funding round will take Voltaire to profitability by the second half of 2006.The IT industry’s spotlight has returned to InfiniBand over recent months, as various suppliers eye new possibilities. Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) snapped up Voltaire rival Topspin for $250 million back in April (see Cisco Takes On Topspin). “Cisco wouldn’t get into this unless they were interested in taking the technology into the data center and into the enterprise,” says Kenneth.

Despite its low latency and high bandwidth, InfinBand has, up until now, been used primarily for high-performance computing. However, there has been growing speculation that the technology could eventually break into the enterprise data center (see Voltaire Expands InfiniBand Roster).

Kenneth says that this is now starting to happen: “Initially, InfiniBand was over-hyped, then it was under-hyped, now it is back to reality." The exec also predicts that over the next two to three years, enterprise sales will account for 70 percent of Voltaire’s overall business.

Voltaire already has a raft of users in the high-performance computing space, including Los Alamos National Lab, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories, although the CEO says that there is plenty going on in the enterprise. “We’re engaged with several prestige accounts in the enterprise area now,” he says, although he declines to reveal the identities of these companies.

Kenneth remains equally tight-lipped about Voltaire’s future product roadmap, although he does confirm that the company is planning an announcement in the next couple of months concerning simplified grid deployments.The exec also confirms that Voltaire will remain committed to the OEM and reseller route. The vendor currently has a range of channel and OEM partnerships with the likes of IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) (NYSE: SGI), Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), and Apple Computer Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL). Voltaire also has joint sales relationships with Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW), NEC Corp. (Nasdaq: NIPNY; Tokyo: 6701), and Hitachi Ltd. (NYSE: HIT; Paris: PHA).

— James Rogers, Site Editor, Next-Gen Data Center Forum

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