cloud storage

A software-defined storage startup called Nexenta has closed a $24 million funding round, proving that storage is increasingly an area of focus for IT.

In Silicon Valley, data centers are heating up with startups like Pure Storage and Nimble Storage pulling in massive funding rounds and Michael Dell announcing a storage-focused investment fund. 

Nexenta executives say the funding will help them educate the market so that potential customers view it as a trusted storage partner rather than a disruptive startup. Since it was founded in 2005, the company has competed with legacy players like EMC and Netapp, who have been around for decades. However, Nexenta’s early success with customers led executives to make the audacious claim that it would be the “most successful storage startup ever.”

“Nexenta’s software runs on any industry standard server, whereas EMC or NetApp lock buyers into building out storage using only their branded hardware,” said Mark Lockareff, the company’s new CEO. He’s a former investor in Facebook and an adviser to nearly a dozen enterprise startups, including data analytics provider ParAccel.

“By making use of commodity hardware, Nexenta is able to offer its customers increased flexibility, openness and unmatched performance at a previously unattainable cost,” he said in an interview.

Lockareff will replace former CEO Evan Powell, who will assume a new role of chief strategy officer. In other executive moves, former NetApp exec Bridget Warwick has joined as CMO. 

The company’s rapid growth must have been appealing to investors — the round was oversubscribed. Nexenta has experienced triple-digit growth for three consecutive years and see use from over 5,000 customers, the majority of whom are cloud, software-as-a-service, and hosting companies.

Its previous round in January 2012 was also sizable. The company raised $21 million in funding.

Nexenta’s fourth round of financing is led by new investor Four Rivers Group, with participation by existing Nexenta investors Menlo Ventures, TransLink Capital, Javelin Ventures, Sierra Ventures, Razor’s Edge Ventures, and West Summit Capital. In addition to Four Rivers, Presidio Ventures and UMC Capital participated in the funding.