Maranti Scores $25 Million

Maranti's snagged sizeable second-round funding. But what's it doing?

December 15, 2001

2 Min Read
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Storage startup Maranti Networksplans to announce $25 million in new funding next week, Byte and Switch has learned. The new round brings Maranti's total equity investment to $31 million since it was founded in October 2000.

Menlo Venturesand Trinity Ventures are leading this round of investment, along with Alliance Ventures, the company that put up $6 million for Marantis first funding round.

Maranti says the money will be used to roll out its product in the second half of 2002, with general availability by the end of that year. The company is aggressively hiring additions to its roster of about 60 employees to meet this schedule.

This begs the big question: What exactly is its product?

Co-founder and VP of marketing Harish Nayak blames “competition reasons” for the company’s unwillingness to spill the beans. But last Byte and Switch heard, Maranti was developing a humongous multiprotocol SAN switch with more than 400 ports (see Maranti Makes a Monster). That's more than four times the size of the megaswitch said to be in development at Andiamo Systems Inc., the spin-in SAN startup founded by Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) (see Cisco’s Secret SAN Strategies Revealed and Cisco Spills Beans on Next SAN Router).“We’re solving a problem that today is basically unsolved,” Maranti’s director of product marketing Rick Walsworth says. “Our product recognizes traffic flows based on application, and it recognizes prioritized mission-critical applications.”

Analysts say this kind of intelligent capability is spot on. “In storage networking, just having a faster network doesn’t solve anything,” says Dan Tanner of the Aberdeen Group. “If you add more nodes, you just have more to manage. That’s why moving intelligence into the storage network is a good idea.”

Tanner says there's definitely a market for such intelligent storage switches. “The money usually follows the intelligence. I can say the backers are in the right area.”

But while there might be buyers out there for whatever Maranti eventually produces, the Milpitas, Calif.-based company is not the only one seeking them. Besides facing a host of startups heading in the same direction, Nayak says Maranti is expecting tough competition from incumbents Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) and McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDT). “They’re the ones that we’d go head to head with,” he says.

On Tuesday, Maranti also plans to announce that John Jarve of Menlo Ventures and Larry Orr of Trinity Ventures have joined its board of directors.— Eugénie Larson, special to Byte and Switch

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