Scentric's Among the Missing

There's no official word, but sources close to the company say it's shut down

September 12, 2007

3 Min Read
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Data classification startup Scentric is down for the count, according to several sources familiar with the matter.

No official announcement has been made, and the company's Website is live, but executives aren't answering the phone and there is no word from the company's investors, which include HIG Ventures, the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) Seed Fund of Georgia Tech University, Imlay Investments, and Valhalla Partners -- which raised a combined total of about $17 million for the startup since Scentric's founding.

It's been about 18 months since Scentric emerged from stealth to claim its share of the data classification and search market. The firm counts Abrevity, Kazeon, Index Engines, and StoredIQ as competitors. Officials claimed to have an edge in the ability to work with a variety of content types, including structured and unstructured data, using the same interface.

Scentric pre-packaged its Destiny product with data classification policies aimed at vertical markets such as financial services and healthcare. Officials said the product performs automatic tiering, thanks to content awareness.

It's a pitch that's tough to get across, sources say. While enterprise customers like the concept of data classification and think it would be great to have, they don't necessarily have the budget to buy it as a standalone offering. Hence, there's a major emphasis on partnerships in the segment. Indeed, most vendors don't have integral search, archiving, or e-discovery capabilities to go with their data classification wares.Scentric's out-of-band appliance does have integral search capabilities, but the firm nonetheless joined Google's enterprise search appliance partnership program. It also partnered with Archivas, EMC, HDS, NetApp, and Permabit, and, as of this summer, other alliances were reportedly in the works.

"Their concept of having a network awareness of content is absolutely valid," says Kirby Wadsworth, SVP of marketing and business development at Acopia, another Scentric partner. While unaware of any trouble at the company, he says that, if it's true, it could be the result of a failure to communicate.

"It saddens me," Wadsworth says. "It's cool technology. They have an unusual value proposition in being able to recognize credit card numbers and social security numbers... That knowledge is very valuable... But is it a product, feature, or service? I can't help thinking packaging and delivery as a standalone product may be the issue."

Scentric was founded by Sanjay Sehgal and Hemant Kurande, neither of whom was responding to calls at press time. Sehgal was COO and founder of chip startup iVivity, and Kurande was founder of SRM startup Storability Software.

Scentric lost its CEO, Jeff Hornung, in April 2007, without explanation and after just seven months on the job. Sanjay Sehgal continued as chairman and Kemant Kurande as CEO.The company reportedly had 31 employees in July, down from roughly 70 in April 2006. It claimed eight customers, though none were named. Though Scentric execs denied the company was foundering or on the block, sources report that key employees began leaving the firm as early as April 2007. By Labor Day, day-to-day operations had reportedly ceased.

As Scentric's official status remains to be confirmed, it's also unclear whether its intellectual property will be sold or preserved in any form. Also in question is the status of the startup's branch in Pune, India. A call there revealed that the company was "closed," though a language barrier made it unclear whether that state was temporary or permanent.

We'll report more news as it becomes available.

  • Abrevity Inc.

  • Acopia Networks Inc.

  • Archivas Inc.

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)

  • H.I.G. Ventures

  • Hitachi Data Systems (HDS)

  • Index Engines Inc.

  • Kazeon Inc.

  • Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP)

  • Permabit Inc.

  • Scentric Inc.

  • Valhalla Partners

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