MonoSphere Feeds Funds Into R&D

Startup plans to use part of $11M round to make its virtualization software more scaleable

November 13, 2003

2 Min Read
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Storage virtualization software startup MonoSphere Inc. today said it has raised a third round of $11.25 million, bringing its total funding to $22 million (see MonoSphere Spins $11.25M Round).

MonoSphere, founded in March 2001, sells software that lets users pool heterogeneous storage resources to make them act as if they were in one unified system (see MonoSphere Busts a Mover and MonoSphere Whirls Out).

Ray Villeneuve, MonoSphere's president and CEO, says the money raised in this round will be used to expand product development efforts and to strengthen the company's sales and customer support efforts. Today, MonoSphere has 42 employees, which are based out of its development center in Tel Aviv and at its Redwood City, Calif., headquarters. By the end of 2004, the company expects to have a headcount of around 60.

Specifically, MonoSphere is planning to expand its operating system support -- its Data Mover Module currently runs on Windows only -- and improve the software's ability to scale, Villeneuve says. MonoSphere says one of its data movers is able to handle up to 50 servers and 5 Tbytes of data.

The fact that MonoSphere has identified the need to produce a more scaleable version of its software suggests that the startup is being shot down by prospective customers, unwilling to put a Windows server in the middle of their storage infrastructures, even though MonoSphere claims its data movers don't sit directly in the data path. This particular issue has also dogged DataCore Software Corp., whose virtualization application also runs on Windows (see DataCore Aces Test and DataCore Sacks Some Sales Staffers).Villeneuve declined to specify when MonoSphere expects to reach profitability, but he says the company will reassess its financing options in 2005. The startup says it has landed 10 customers, including Adaptec Inc. (Nasdaq: ADPT), Comverse Ltd., Documentum Inc., and Storage Technology Corp. (StorageTek) (NYSE: STK).

"We've grown revenue five quarters straight sequentially," he says. "We're doing well on customer traction."

MonoSphere's third round of funding was led by new investor ComVentures, with previous backers Benchmark Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners participating. [Disclosure: Lightspeed Venture Partners is an investor in Light Reading Inc., publisher of Byte and Switch.]

Villeneuve has nothing but fulsome praise for the guys who just pumped more cash into his company. "These are very, very experienced investors in storage networking technologies," he says. "It's great to have some of the best investors in the world." [Ed. note: And they are cute and they smell nice and they are super good dancers, too!]

In conjunction with the completion of this round, MonoSphere appointed Michael Rolnick, a partner at ComVentures, to its board of directors.Todd Spangler, US Editor, Byte and Switch

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