September 20, 2010

Boston Business Journal

ActiFio raises $16M

In the red-hot market for new data storage technology, ActiFio Inc. has a handful of big-name customers and a CEO and founder who has done this before. It’s not surprising that VCs put $16 million in new financing into the Waltham company.

The new round of money, reported Friday in a regulatory filing, brought in West Coast VC firm Advanced Technology Ventures as a new investor, CEO and founder Ash Ashutosh confirmed. ATV’s Boston-based partner Robert Hower is on ActiFio’s board, according to Friday’s filing.

Ashutosh, a former chief technologist of Hewlett-Packard’s StorageWorks division, previously co-founded AppIQ Inc., a Burlington, Mass. company that made storage management software and sold in 2005 to HP for undisclosed terms. Ash went on to an entrepreneur-in-residence role at Greylock Partners, the California firm (originally based in Massachusetts) that, along with Waltham-based North Bridge Venture Partners, put an $8 million Series A investment into ActiFio in 2009. The company has so far raised at least $24 million.

ActiFio focuses on data protection, recovery and business continuity – part of the sorage sector that earlier today brought shareholders of Marlborough data warehouse appliance maker Netezza Inc. the announcement of a $1.7 billion acquisition by IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM). Earlier this month, shareholders of 3Par had a similar payday, when Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) agreed to acquire the California cloud-based storage company for $2.4 billion.

Netezza co-founder and chairman Jitendra Saxena joined ActiFio’s board of directors in August.

ActiFio isn’t looking to displace incumbents like EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) in data storage – but rather to add a layer that will simplify processes those companies’ customers are already engaged in - much as virtualization technology has already done for other areas of IT, Ashutosh said in an interview today. “This is a completely different paradigm,” he said. “It’s very similar to what VMWare has done on the server side.”

The company has dubbed its offering “data management virtualization.” Its products, which became generally available in August, start at $200,000, and are designed for companies with 800 terabytes or more of data, and as many as a dozen data administrators.

ActiFio has 50 employees and highlights three marquee customers – Norwood, Mass. digital marketing firm Cramer Production Company Inc., Chelmsford, Mass. wireless technology maker Airvana Inc. and Seabrook, N.H. IT services firm Focus Technology Solutions.