Trebia Gets Second Wind

Chip startup officially announces Rudi Stroh as its new CEO and gets about $10M more funding UPDATED 5/7 12PM

May 7, 2003

4 Min Read
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Storage networking processor startup Trebia Networks Inc. announced today that it has landed an inside round of funding -- estimated to be around $10 million -- and that industry veteran Ruediger "Rudi" Stroh has officially taken over the helm of the company (see Trebia Appoints President/CEO).

As Byte and Switch reported last month, Trebia has recruited Stroh as its new president and CEO, after Bob Conrad vacated that seat in February (see Trebia Taps Stroh as CEO and Trebia Ousts CEO).

Stroh, who most recently was the CEO of wireless LAN chipmaker Systemonic, which was acquired by Royal Phillips Electronics last December, says he thinks its a good match: "I feel Trebia has a great technology. And I know the space and have had responsibility for startups... I know how to manage small companies."

Stroh’s approach to managing small companies apparently includes making them smaller. One of his first acts as CEO was to rid the company of about 30 employees, according to news reports. Stroh would not verify that number.

Trebia has had two rounds of companywide layoffs over the past couple of months, according to a company spokeswoman. The latest round came on Monday, when the company sent out 11 pink slips. "Trebia recently had a 'right-sizing' which involved contractors and employees, including management," Stroh stated in an email to Byte and Switch. "Our current employee count... is in line with where we need to be to achieve our product delivery and financial targets." The company currently employs 38 people, of whom 85 percent are engineers [ed. note: i.e., 32.3 of them].Trebia also announced that Nik Bahram -- who "has 22 years of experience in numerous facets of the semiconductor, systems, and software business" -- has taken over as VP of engineering, following Willie Anderson’s departure in February. Most recently, Bahram was VP of corporate ventures at Systemonic; prior to that he worked for such companies as Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) and Digital Equipment Corp.

Most important, perhaps, the arrival of Stroh and Bahram onto the scene brings to an end months of management upheaval at Trebia and indicates that its investors have decided to give the company another shot instead of trying to sell it off (see Is Trebia Up for Sale?).

The Acton, Mass.-based startup, which claims to make the fastest SAN silicon chips on the planet, announced today that had received an undisclosed round of funding from its existing investors, which include Kodiak Venture Partners, Raza Foundries, and Atlas Venture.

While the company refuses to disclose the amount of the latest inside round, it says the funding brings its total raised to just under $50 million. Trebia has previously said that it had about $40 million in financing, so that would suggest that the latest financing round amounted to about $10 million. Stroh, however, declined to verify that number. "We have enough money in the bank to execute on our projects... for both the switch and the end-point markets," he says, adding that the company will evaluate whether it needs to seek additional funds around the end of 2003.

Trebia has been butting heads with several players in the storage processor space, including Alacritech Inc., Emulex Corp. (NYSE: ELX), Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), iStor Networks, QLogic Corp. (Nasdaq: QLGC), and Silverback Systems Inc. (see IStor Seeks More Funding, Silverback Makes iSCSI Howl, Vendors Chip Into IP Storage, and Intel Wiggles Its TOE).But Trebia says it already has paying customers for its SNP-1000 Fibre Channel over IP (FCIP) chips, which it claims can sustain 309,000 I/O operations per second (IOPS) and up to 450 Mbyte/s of throughput across two Gigabit Ethernet ports. Stroh wouldn’t reveal how many customers the company has for the chips but says it will be ramping up sales toward the end of the summer. Trebia has previously disclosed that it is working with McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA) and LSI Logic Corp. (NYSE: LSI).

Meanwhile, Trebia says its iSCSI-only chip, the SNP-500, is in beta testing. While the company has yet to announce performance numbers for the 500 chip, Bahram contends that they will be similar to those of the SNP-1000.

— Eugénie Larson, Reporter, Byte and Switch

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