For Nirvanix, Bliss is a Number Followed by Fifteen Zeros in a Cloud

5/14/09

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in San Diego in 1998 as Streamload, which was among the first companies to offer an Internet storage service—a ‘box’ storage service. This part of the business was renamed MediaMax and spun off in 2007, while the existing company was renamed Nirvanix. Five months ago, the company’s board named Zierick, the former CEO of Aspyra and LogicalApps, to replace Patrick Harr. Nirvanix has received funding from Intel, and initially it got $12 million from Mission Ventures, Valhalla Partners, and Windward Ventures. Last month, Nirvanix raised $5 million from existing investors. Zierick says, “We’re hoping that our business will continue to grow and we will need more capital perhaps next year, but right now it’s very solid.” The company has 35 employees.

“The market opportunity really is large,” Zierick says. “I hope we are a billion-dollar-company in five years. But I’m a realist. IPOs are challenging and a lot of companies like ours end up being acquired. We’re just going to do the right thing for the shareholders, and if that’s an IPO, that’s great.”

He says the current economy is actually surprisingly good for them. “Part of our story is that we can help the enterprise to save money. Our customers typically see that the amount of data they need to store continues to grow, their budgets are flat or shrinking, and so they are very open to looking at us as a new opportunity. We have a model that allows them to pay as they go rather than have a big capital expenditure on storage boxes. That fits very well with the uncertainty in today’s economic environment. It’s nice to have something like a storage which is so central to what a company is doing…”

While Zierick was explaining all this to me yesterday during the Red Herring North America 100 conference, we were interrupted by Sajai Krishnan, the CEO of Cupertino, CA-based cloud competitor ParaScale. He came to our table, gave Zierick his business card, and said “I’ll personally want to send you four terabytes.” “Anytime!” answered Zierick. In the rivalries of the cloud storage world, could it be that dark humor is measured in units of 1 followed by 12 zeros?

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