Startup clinches Series B to help peddle application virtualization

February 10, 2007

4 Min Read
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Application virtualization startup Trigence has clinched $8 million in Series B funding, as the firm looks to expand across the Atlantic and launch a Windows version of its software. (See Trigence Secures $8M.)

The round, which was led by GrowthWorks and included BDC Venture Capital and VenGrowth Capital Partners, brings the startup's total funding to $17.5 million. "This funding allows us to build across the U.S. and Europe," explains Trigence CEO David Roth, adding that up until now, the firm has mainly been focused on the northeastern U.S. and Canada. (See Trigence Taps HP's Roth.)

California and Western Europe are the new target areas. "We're going to open a physical presence in Europe and grow our partner channels there," says Roth. "It's looking likely that we will use the U.K. as our gateway into Europe."

To support these efforts, Roth is planning to double the vendor's headcount by the end of the year, largely in areas such as services and support. That said, the CEO refused to reveal current headcount figures, although the firm had 22 employees back in early 2005.

Essentially, Trigence's software drags applications from one part of an IT infrastructure to another. (See Startup Shifts Applications.)The vendor's AE product uses a combination of C, C++, and Java to wrap” individual data center applications and move them to a central database or another server. The idea is that this removes the need to manually reinstall the applications.

Trigence claims that this is different than the approach taken by VMware and XenSource, which virtualize entire operating systems. "We're not taking the OS -- we're much lighter," says Roth.

At least one financial analyst feels that this application-centric approach could be useful to users. "It provides a lot of benefits in terms of reliability and security," says Scott Donahue, principal of Triple-Tree, an investment bank focused on the software sector. "If a virus were to affect one application, it would not necessarily affect another."

The initial version of AE was only available for Linux, although Trigence has since unveiled a product supporting Sun's Solaris operating system and is now looking to expand its portfolio. (See Trigence Supports Sun Solaris.) "We will support Windows this year," says Roth, adding that support for the AIX and HP-UX operating systems may follow sometime later. "Our first big push will be to ensure that Windows comes out, then you can expect further UNIX releases."

Trigence is not the only startup to take this application-focused route, although the Ottawa, Ontario-based firm appears to be the only one still operating independently.Startup Softricity, for example, which focused on desktop virtualization, was gobbled up by Microsoft, and IBM bought virtualization specialist Meiosys for an undisclosed fee. (See Microsoft Makes Virtualization Play, IBM Acquires Meiosys, and Meiosys Isn't Imagining $7.5 Million.)

Altiris, another startup playing in this space, was snapped by Symantec last week, prompting speculation that Trigence might be the next virtualization specialist to get acquired. (See Symantec Picks Up Altiris and Symantec Faces 'Truth'.)

There are any number of potential suitors, according to Triple-Tree's Donahue. "The entire virtualization area is hot," he says. "The large global software companies are looking to add [virtualization] capabilities -- HP is making significant acquisitions in software, as is IBM, as is Oracle."

At the moment, visibility is Trigence's big problem. Even though the firm does not compete directly with VMware and XenSource, it will still be hard getting on CIOs' radars, according to Donahue. "The difficult thing for Trigence will be getting attention and traction," he says. "It is a very crowded market."

At this stage, Trigence is still playing its customer cards close to its chest, although Roth told Byte & Switch that the startup has around 20 customers in areas such as financial services, communications and the government sector. "The detail on these customers is something that we're going to be sharing as the year moves on," he says.The vendor is also looking to expand its partner roster, which currently includes VMware, Sun, and BMC. "You will see some pretty interesting news during the coming months on announcements between us and some of the large systems integrators," explains Roth.

— James Rogers, Senior Editor Byte and Switch

  • Altiris Inc. (Nasdaq: ATRS)

  • BDC Venture Capital

  • GrowthWorks WV Funds

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)

  • Softricity Inc.

  • Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW)

  • Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC)

  • Trigence Corp.

  • VenGrowth Investment Fund Inc.

  • VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW)

  • XenSource Inc.

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