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NEW! ExaGrid

ExaGrid, a maker of de-duplicating backup systems, has scored $20 million in funding earmarked for upping the ante against rival Data Domain.

"We already have over 100 customers, and we've been shipping the product for a year and a half," says CEO Bill Andrews. "This money is all about the acceleration of our top line. We'll use it to expand our sales and marketing."

ExaGrid aims for profitability by the end of 2009, and Andrews acknowledges IPO ambitions for 2010.

The startup's been building momentum slowly, with a few fits and starts, for nearly five years. When its introductory push in 2003 fizzled, the company regrouped around a NAS mission and subsequently refined its pitch. By its second funding round in March 2005, ExaGrid's aim was squarely on backup.

Now, with $65 million in total funding, ExaGrid is loaded for bear -- at least in Andrews's view. Its customer list includes American National Bank, Labat-Anderson, Johnson Health Network, and the Ohio Farm Bureau, among others. The firm has 81 full-time employees, 10 full-time consultants, and 21 open positions, Andrews boasts. The channel's growing, too: "We had zero domestic VARs on July 1, now we have 37, and we're adding one or two a month. We have six or seven in the Asia/Pacific and EMEA regions."

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