High-end SSD Developer SolidFire Closes $31M C Round Led by Samsung

7/25/13Follow @MichaelXBD

SolidFire, a developer of solid-state drive data storage technology, announced today that it has closed a $31 million Series C round. The investment brings the total of venture capital raised by the Boulder, CO-based startup to $68 million.

That’s not bad for a company that was formed in 2009 and only really began selling its drives last year, according to founder and CEO Dave Wright.

SolidFire’s all-flash memory SSD drives power data centers for service providers that offer public cloud services and for enterprise clients that have their own private cloud, Wright said. He believes SolidFire’s drives offer the best combination of size, speed, scalability, and performance of any data storage system on the market.

“We are now able to deliver both the largest and fastest all-solid-state storage system on the market by a good margin,” Wright said. “That’s extremely important for the markets we’re targeting, which is large public and private clouds.”

Size, speed, and performance are crucial to SolidFire’s corporate growth as well, and the $31 million will be used to build out the company’s worldwide sales and marketing forces as it tries to become the preeminent provider of SSD systems for large-scale cloud infrastructure.

“It’s really all about scale at this point,” Wright said. “We’re really raising this amount to give us a couple more years to continue to mature the company, grow our user base so we get to profitability, and position ourselves in a place to go public.”

Samsung Ventures, the investment arm of the giant Korean tech and electronics company, led the round and is a new investor. It joined existing investors New Enterprise Associates, Valhalla Partners, and Novak Biddle Venture Partners.

The funding announcement was timed to coincide with SolidFire’s latest product release. SolidFire is rolling out its third product, the SF9010, which it says is the largest and fastest all-SSD storage system on the market today. According to SolidFire, systems built around SF9010 can scale to effective capacity of 3.4 petabytes and can hit 7.5 million input/output operations per second (IOPS).

Aside from hitting new levels for performance and capacity, the product also crosses an important price threshold and now is less expensive at scale than high-speed systems that rely on traditional spinning disks, Wright said. SolidFire puts the price at $3 per gigabyte and less than $1 per IOPS.

“We’re not just able to be competitive, but actually less expensive. This is the first time we’ve seen solid-state storage at a very large scale be able to be less expensive than a disk-based system,” he said.

The Series C round and partnership with Samsung is important to SolidFire in a few ways, according to Wright. SolidFire wasn’t in fundraising mode, having closed a $25 million Series B round … Next Page »

Michael Davidson is the editor of Xconomy Boulder/Denver. He covers startups, venture capital, clean tech, energy, aerospace, telecoms, and whatever else happens above 5,280 feet. Contact him at mdavidson@xconomy.com. Follow @MichaelXBD

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