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VCs Pump $1.1B Into Storage Startups

Storage networking startups raised about $1.12 billion in the 12-month period from July 2002 to June 2003, according to Byte and Switch Insider's August report.

That's a noticeable decline over the preceding one-year period: The report conservatively estimates that venture capital funding of storage networking companies has dropped at least 50 percent year over year. But the report also shows that storage networking continues to be a vibrant sector, especially compared with other tech categories.

The latest edition of Byte and Switch Insider analyzes 97 specific funding rounds from Q3 2002 through Q2 2003 for 87 companies that fall into the storage networking universe. (Ten companies received two financing rounds each in the report period.) The data was compiled using Byte and Switch's own research in conjunction with the MoneyTree Survey, a venture capital tracking service that is a collaboration of PricewaterhouseCoopers, Thomson Venture Economics, and National Venture Capital Association.

The report, researched and written by technology industry analyst Graeme Thickins, identifies which segments of the storage networking market are hot and which have been overfunded. It also details which VC firms were the most active over the period surveyed -- naming winners and losers -- and covers the outlook for venture funding in the year ahead.

Of the $1.12 billion overall total, the majority (61 percent) went to hardware startups. Here's the breakdown by category of the funding raised by the 87 companies surveyed in the report:

Table 1: VC Funding by Category (3Q02 - 2Q03)
Category No. of Cos. Total Funding Avg./Co. Category Description
Hardware 40 $686.9M* $17.17M Storage arrays, storage networking switches, storage security appliances, RAID controllers, InfiniBand switches
Software 30 $256.3M** $8.54M Backup and recovery, data replication, storage resource management (SRM), virtualization, file caching, archiving, global file systems
Silicon 10 $126.5M $12.65M Storage processors, TCP Offload Engines (TOEs), network components
Services 7 $53.4M $7.63M Storage service providers (SSPs), storage networking consulting
* Excluding one round whose amount was not disclosed.
** Excluding three rounds whose amounts were not disclosed.

Source: Byte and Switch Insider


Other highlights from the August report:

  • Follow-on rounds represented the vast majority of funding, with the report identifying only seven early-stage startups as having received first-round funding in the period surveyed.
  • At least $670 million in total VC investment was flushed down the drain after several well-funded storage startups shut their doors over the course of the past year.
— Todd Spangler, US Editor, Byte and Switch



The current Byte and Switch Insider report -- Venture Capital Survey -- is available here. A single-user license to the report is $400. Annual single-user subscriptions to Byte and Switch Insider, which include access to the complete archives, the current report, and each of the monthly reports issued over the next 12 months, are available for $1,250.

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