Fabric7 Feasts on $17.5M

But stealthy startup won't talk while it eats

August 26, 2004

3 Min Read
Network Computing logo

The mysterious Fabric7 Systems Inc. has the funding it needs to deliver its first product. But nobody from the company will let out a peep about what that first product might be.

Something's cooking at the Mountain View, Calif., startup: It's raised $17.5 million in a series B round, bringing its funding total to $32 million over two years. Selby Venture Partners led the round, which included other new investors Foundation Capital, Vanguard Venture Partners,and Yasuda Ventures, plus previous investors New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Goldman Sachs & Co., and Sanmina-SCI Corp. (Nasdaq: SANM).

Bob Marshall of Shelby Ventures joins Fabric7s board, along with CEO Sharad Mehrotra, COO David Dicioccio, NEA's Richard Kramlich, and Ankur Sahu of Goldman Sachs.

Fabric7 has between 50 and 100 employees, with plans to hire, particularly in engineering, and Mehrotra says the company won't grow "drastically" more than this.

"Several years ago we laid out a vision for re-architecting the enterprise data center with a new class of standards-compliant equipment that delivers capabilities that the competition is only now starting to talk about,” Mehrotra says. “This financing will provide us with the resources required to complete product development and enter the market to validate our vision."A mouthful that doesn't say much. Fabric7's vision remains blurry to outsiders. Mehrotra will give few specifics. He says he hopes to have the product in customer trials by the end of the year. If all goes well, “we will probably talk about the machine in the first half of next year.”

Okay, so it's a machine. Will it play a role in storage? “Some people have speculated that. Any modern data center system must attach to sophisticated storage or interact with it in some way,” Mehrotra says.

While the Fabric7 party line makes references to data center technology, open job descriptions on the company Website suggest its products will include networked storage as well. For example, a product management job requires knowledge of high-end storage subsystems, Fibre Channel, SAN, and NAS.

There are other clues: Mehrotra is the founder and former CEO of Procket Networks, the high-performance router startup that Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) purchased in June for $89 million (see Cisco Completes Procket, Parc Purchases and Valley Wonk: The Procket Puzzle). His connection to Procket, along with the fact that Fabric7 is looking for employees with knowledge of high-performance networking equipment, Linux kernel development, and storage suggests perhaps a high-speed, low-latency I/O interconnect such as InfiniBand or Myrinet (see HPC List Shows Interconnect Status, Interconnects Look to HPC List, and Startup Claims InfiniBand Alternative).

Naturally, Mehrotra won’t confirm or deny such speculation.One thing is clear: Fabric7’s CEO is well connected from the technology and financial sides. After leaving Procket, Mehrotra was an entrepreneur in residence at NEA, which put up Fabric7’s $500,000 seed money and took part in each of its two funding rounds. So much for the financial connections. Eventually, we’ll see what his technology prowess can deliver.

— Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

Stay informed! Sign up to get expert advice and insight delivered direct to your inbox

You May Also Like

More Insights