Thursday, February 26, 2009

$26 Million In, $3 Million Out

This is one of those deals all the VCs involved would probably rather forget: putting $26 million into Tizor Systems of Maynard ($8.3 million as recently as last February), and then selling it to Netezza for $3.1 million in cash. Tizor makes software for securing and auditing the information stored in data centers.

Who was involved in this one? Longworth, Navigator Technology Ventures, Common Angels, and Masthead Venture Partners locally, and Hummer Winblad on the West Coast, according to PEHub.

I wrote earlier this month about the rising number of these fire sales of struggling tech companies. And a while back, I wrote about firms like Masthead and Longworth trying to raise new funds. Neither has.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Consumer-Oriented Online Storage: Mozy vs. Carbonite

Sunday's Globe column looked at how Carbonite and Mozy are building the market for consumer-oriented online backup services. Carbonite is a Boston-startup funded first by CommonAngels; Mozy is a Utah start-up acquired by EMC in 2007.

From the piece:

    Mozy and Carbonite are two of the leaders of the online backup business, a rare bright spot in a gloomy tech economy. Rather than buying their own hard drives to save a copy of their data, consumers and small businesses pay a fee (Mozy's is $59 a year, Carbonite's is $50) to send their information securely over the Net, and have Mozy or Carbonite keep a copy that can be retrieved any time. IDC, a Framingham research firm, predicts that online backup services will generate about $715 million in annual revenue by 2011.

    The big question is whether a start-up like Carbonite, with 125 employees and $47 million in venture capital, can capture a bigger piece of that market, or whether a division of a big company like EMC will have the edge.

To accompany the piece, there's an audio interview with Carbonite CEO David Friend, who talks about how hard it was to raise VC money for a consumer-oriented company in Boston.

Tom Kennedy, who does some communications consulting for Iron Mountain, pointed out to me that that Boston company also offers online PC backup. I should have included them, even though none of the reviews I could find of consumer back-up services mention their Connected Backup for PC offering. (Perhaps because its pricing is much higher than Carbonite's or Mozy's?)

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