Cloud storage company Cirtas raises $22 million

By Guest Contributor
January 26, 2011

– Alastair Goldfisher is the Editor-in-Charge of the Venture Capital Journal, a Thomson Reuters publication. –

Venture capitalists and cloud storage companies are picking up in 2011 where they left off in 2010.

San Jose, California-based Cirtas Systems, a provider of cloud storage hardware, announced on Tuesday it has raised a $22.5 million Series B round that was co-led by Shasta Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners and included previous investors New Enterprise Associates, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Amazon.

The funding announcement – which coincides with Gary Messiana, an entrepreneur-in-residence at Bessemer being named CEO of the company – comes just four months after the startup emerged from stealth mode with a $10 million Series A round.

“The cloud opportunity is huge and cloud spending, as part of the overall IT budget, is expected to continue to grow worldwide,” said Ravi Mohan, managing director at Shasta and new board member of Cirtas.

Mohan said his firm has seen cloud computing emerge and more adoption taking place by enterprises and small- and medium-sized businesses. Shasta has stepped up its investment in the sector, having invested in Lucid, a cloud business intelligence provider; Watchdox, a provider of mobile cloud security; Zuora, which provides cloud-based billing; and Makara, a cloud-based platform that was acquired by Red Hat.

“We’re going to continue to go aggressively after the cloud,” Mohan said.

Shasta is not the only firm to focus on cloud computing. In 2010, about 70 cloud-related U.S.-based companies raised some $500 million from various VCs, according to data from Thomson Reuters, compared to about 50 companies with cloud in its description raising $230 million the year before.

Helping to drive VCs’ interest in cloud investments is a rash of notable M&A transactions in 2010, led by Hewlett-Packard’s purchase of 3Par. In addition, VMware purchased two VC-backed cloud-related companies (Integrien, a provider of network analysis, and TriCipher, a security software developer). VMware didn’t disclose the terms of its Integrien acquisition or its purchase of TriCipher.

In addition, Citrix Systems announced in late August that it bought VMLogix for its cloud management technology. Also, Red Band Software Inc bought VirtualLogix, which allows Intel- and ARM-based mobile devices to run multiple operating systems on a virtual machine. Terms were not disclosed.

Messiana said his company, which has just under 50 employees, will use the recent funding to boost its sales staff, engineering team and add to its customer service operations. Messiana, who joined the company in early January, previously served as CEO of Netli and, before that, Diligent Software Systems.

He replaces Dan Decasper who will serve as Cirtas’s CTO. Decasper, who co-founded Cirtas with Allen Samuels in 2008, was previously at Citrix and also served as CTO of Orbital Data Corp., which was bought by Citrix in 2006. Before that, Decasper co-founded and was CEO of Jibe Networks Inc.

Cirtas, which is in partnership with cloud service providers Amazon and Iron Mountain, develops an appliance about the size of a large encyclopedia that bridges a company’s storage area network with a cloud-based storage system. Cirtas’s Bluejet Cloud Storage Controllers are targeted at medium and large enterprises, with pricing starting at about $70,000 per appliance.

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[...] at Shasta and new board member of Cirtas. Being that he is part of a group of investors that spent $22.5 million on funding for Cirtas, you can take Mohan’s words as more than merely hot [...]