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Fortinet's Money Machine Rolls On

Partying like it's 1999 again, appliance vendor Fortinet Inc. picked up $50 million in funding today.

That's in addition to $30 million raised in August, bringing the startup's total funding to $93 million (see Fortinet Score $30M Funding Round). The $50 million mezzanine round was provided mostly by previous investors, including Acorn Campus, DEFTA Partners, Meritech Capital Partners, and Redpoint Ventures.

Either round would be impressive on its own these days (for comparison, see the "Funding for Startups" section in the Light Reading archives). But the combined $80 million in an eight-month period signals the high prospects investors see in the security business.

Specifically, there was that $4 billion offer Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) made for NetScreen Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: NSCN) (see Juniper Buys NetScreen). On top of that, Fortinet has success in its genes -- its founder Ken Xie, also founded NetScreen and could probably raise money by sneezing into a napkin.

It's tempting to think that Fortinet is headed for a NetScreen-sized payoff. But the most likely sugar daddy, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), isn't necessarily interested, analysts say.

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