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Malachite Plans to Light Up SANs

Malachite Technologies Inc. hasnt officially announced anything yet. But this optical storage startup sounds so hot, we couldn’t resist spilling the beans.

The Methuen, Massachusetts-based company, around for a year already, won’t be formally launching until the fall, so the folks over there were reluctant to tell us much, but here’s what we know:

For starters, the management team is an optical Who’s Who list. Half of the founders hail from the advanced network group at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, which claims numerous firsts for development of optical fiber amplification and wave generation techniques. (So they know their solitons, basically.)

The other half of the team comprises former Cabletron Systems Inc. (NYSE: CS) engineers who are big on ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits) and enterprise switches. Put the two halves of the team together and it’s fair to say Malachite is probably building a data-center switch able to connect storage across optical networks. The product is expected to go into beta early in 2002.

Sources close to Malachite say it's about to land a major round of funding from a tier one, east coast VC, most likely to be Bessemer Venture Partners. Goldman Sachs & Co. is also said to be interested. Mike Welts, director of marketing, confirmed he’s talking to both firms.