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Starboard has slashed sales and marketing staff, and notified its reseller partners that it would concentrate on developing its intellectual property instead of sales until it finds a buyer or OEM partner.
Tom Major, who joined Starboard as president in January, told StorageSoup the new strategy came after the company went looking for funding. He said Starboard ’s investors, venture capitalists Grazia Equity GmbH and JP Ventures GmbH, were approached by strategic partners and decided to explore an acquisition. He said Grazia and JP Ventures have invested more money into Starboard to fund the transition period.
“We received interest from outside companies,” Major said. “Then we thought, ‘Who else might be interested?’ And that list gets long.”
Major said Starboard has received “more than one, but less than five” inquiries from suitors. The board will also pursue others in the industry. “I wouldn’t say a deal is imminent, but we are having conversations,” he said. “The board has decided to focus on technology and continue to develop it. We still have a small number of sales and marking resources, but we’re not actively seeking resellers and VARS now. We are aggressively talking to companies that could take the technology to market through an acquisition or licensing arrangement.”
He said potential suitors include established storage vendors and others looking to get into storage, particularly solid-state storage.
All of Starboard’s AC Series of multiprotocol arrays use solid state drives and DRAM to accelerate reads and writes. Lee Johns, Starboard’s VP of product management, said the vendor will upgrade its operating system over the next few months with enhanced caching algorithms, multiple write caches and the ability to compress data on the cache.
“Our IP is in being able to effectively leverage high speed and lower speed media together,” Johns said.
Starboard built on unified storage technology sold by Reldata, and several Reldata executives – including CEO Victor Walker and CTO Kirill Malkin – were part of the original Starboard team in February 2012. But the current Starboard team has a strong influence of former LeftHand Networks execs, including Major and CEO Bill Chambers. Johns also worked with LeftHand technology as director of product marketing for Hewlett-Packard after HP acquired iSCSI SAN vendor LeftHand.