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String Bean Weighs In on iSCSI

String Bean Software Inc., which makes software that turns a Windows server into an iSCSI SAN, wants to hold its own as the fat cats rush into the low-end IP SAN game.

The challenge is on for the small company named for its skinny founder. String Beans WinTarget software uses the Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) iSCSI initiator to turn any Windows server with local disk into an iSCSI target (see String Bean Updates SAN and String Bean Software Introduces WinTarget). It’s aimed at SMBs and until now has competed mainly with software from DataCore Software Corp. and FalconStor Software Inc. (Nasdaq: FALC), and with Adaptec Inc.’s (Nasdaq: ADPT) Snap iSCSI systems.

As with all iSCSI startups, String Bean is waiting to see how the entry of Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL), EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) in the SMB IP SAN space will affect the market (see EMC Mounts iSCSI Blitz and IBM Slips iSCSI Into SAN).

So far, String Bean has been thin on funding as well. It has shuffled along since June 2003 without venture capitalists, surviving on private funding, OEM deals with Fujitsu Siemens Computers and smaller companies, and direct sales off its Website. The Montgomery Village, Md.-based startup consists of founder and CTO Thieu Le, sales VP Marcus Thompson, marketing VP Dave Barnes, and a handful of developers.

“We burn what we make,” Le says of his company's fiscal strategy. Le, for whom String Bean was named, wants to fatten up his company’s coffers, if not his own frame. String Bean’s role models are companies we highlighted last summer that have been successful without VC money (see They Don't Need No Stinkin' VCs).

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