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How does a startup get $47.5 million in funding in today’s economy?
“By being a leader in a pretty hot sector,” says David Flynn, CTO and one of the founders of Fusion-io, which closed its whopping Series B round today.
That hot sector is flash technology, which is rapidly making its way into enterprise storage. It also helps that Hewlett-Packard is an OEM partner, using Fusion-io’s ioMemory technology in the HP StorageWorks IO Accelerator NAND flash-based storage adapter. Fusion-io also has technology partnerships with IBM and Dell.
Flynn says the Series B funding will help Fusion-io “broadly address the market that’s growing at a break-neck pace, as well as to help us engineer our next-generation product.”
The first of these next-generation products is the ioSAN, due for release over the summer. Fusion-io describes the PCI Express-based ioSAN as server-deployed network-attached solid state storage.
“We’re working on what we call server-deployed network storage – putting components into the server to share high-performance storage over the network,” Flynn said.
Flynn says more than 400 customers are using Fusion-io cards, most of them large organizations running relational databases, web servers, or virtual machines.
Fusion-io also officially announced David Bradford as its CEO, although that move happened at least a month ago. Bradford spent 15 years as Novell, including three years reporting to current Google CEO Eric Schmidt. Bradford also brought Apple founder Steve Wozniak to Fusion-io as chief scientist a few months back.
Now that “Woz” is no longer dancing with the stars, he can devote more time to Fusion-io. Flynn says while Wozniak’s name recognition has helped Fusion-io generate attention, it wasn’t much of a factor in attracting new VC Lightspeed Venture Partners and getting more funding from Series A investors New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Dell Ventures and Sumitomo Ventures.
“It may help get attention, but don’t think it was substantial in closing the deal,” Flynn said. “I think our OEM relationship with HP, our deep relationship with IBM, the fact that Dell is an investor, and our huge market potential is the real essence of why we got funded.”