MaXXan Snags $20M, Hires CEO

Startup secures funds, hires industry vet, but has its work cut out for it in competitive market

October 10, 2001

2 Min Read
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MaXXan Systems Inc. has won a $20 million second round of financing, securing its future at least through 2002 among the swarming multitude of next-generation SAN switch startups.

This new round, led by Venrock Associates and U.S. Venture Partners, brings MaXXans total funding to date to $48 million. The company has also hired a CEO, Vic Mahadevan, former VP and general manager of BMC Software Inc’s storage division and, prior to that, VP and general manager of Compaq Computer Corp.'s (NYSE: CPQ) enterprise storage group. He also founded iVito, a management software company he is in the process of selling to one of the major software firms, although he won’t say which one.

”MaXXan is set through to product release mid-2002,” says Mahadevan. Closing this round in the current, gloomy environment has given the company a big boost. But it's still not spilling the beans on its switch. In fact, it says it won't provide details about it until next year. All that's known for now is that it's building a multi-terabit, Fibre Channel and IP switch that will deliver storage virtualization capabilities from inside the box (see Mad MaXXan at the SANdrome).

This last part of the plan -- virtualization -- is what it says separates its product from the rest of a pack of other stealth-mode companies in this space, all of which are talking about multiprotocol terabit switches and virtualization (see, Sanera Gets $38.3M – Just in Time). They include Pirus Networks, Rhapsody Networks, StoneFly Networks Inc., Confluence Networks Inc., SANcastle Technologies, and Andiamo, Cisco Systems Inc’s (Nasdaq: CSCO) spinoff SAN switch company.

Then there’s Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD), readying its Silkworm 12000, a multiprotocol SAN switch expected by the end of the year. (see Is Brocade's SilkWorm Losing the Thread?). MaXXan claims its box will be an order of magnitude bigger than Brocade's -- offering 4 to 16 terabits of bandwidth, while the Silkworm is expected to ship initially with 512 gigabits (half a terabyte).Right now MaXXan is working on partnering with software vendors, BMC being at the top of the list, although Mahadevan says he’s talking to all the main players. Getting approval from these companies will be of major importance to MaXXan next year when it comes to winning customers.

New MaXXan equity investors in this round were: Lucent Venture Partmers, Ironweed Capital, Trellis Partners, UMC, United Investment, The China Development Industrial Bank, and Premier Capital Management.

— Jo Maitland, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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