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Billion Dollar Unicorns: Secretive Infinidat Makes its Way to the Club

Posted on Wednesday, Nov 11th 2015

According to an IDC report, the worldwide enterprise storage systems market is projected to grow to $37.3 billion in 2015, growing 3.9% annually over the period 2010 through 2015. Needham, Massachusetts-headquartered Infinidat is a secretive little company in the sector which has suddenly shot into the Billion Dollar Unicorn Club.

Infinidat’s Offerings

Infinidat was founded in 2011 by storage industry veteran Moshe Yanai, who was focused on wanting to solve the problems storage buyers faced while choosing between cost, capacity, functionality, reliability, and performance. Prior to founding Infinidat, Moshe Yanai had worked with EMC and was responsible for design and development of all hardware and software products for EMC’s enterprise storage systems. He was known as “one of the founders of the modern EMC”. He is also an IBM veteran and had joined IBM after IBM purchased his previous storage company XIV.

Armed with his knowledge of the storage industry, Yanai set up Infinidat. Today it offers three key product lines – InfiniBox, their enterprise storage solution; Host PowerTools to cater to the host side of the market, and a Unified Storage Solution. Its core product InfiniBox offers high performance enterprise storage, eliminates performance, availability, and scalability issues to accelerate critical business applications. The solution is based on a fully abstracted set of software-driven storage functions that have been layered on low cost commodity hardware to deliver a fast and easy-to-deploy storage system. InfiniBox allows its customers to store as much as 2 petabytes of data on a standard 19-inch, 42-unit storage rack and claims to offer 99.99999% reliability. Those numbers translate to the system being down for less than 3 seconds a year and the price per gigabyte works out to less than $1.

Host PowerTools provides both storage and application administrators with a suite of storage management tools that help the administrator by automating the manual and routine tasks traditionally associated with storage. Finally, the Unified Storage solution is based on a data layout and metadata structure to cater to the needs of each protocol type and provides the data services to simplify storage administration while reducing footprint, cost, and complexity.

Along with its innovative products, Infinidat also has more than 100 software patents. Earlier this year, Gartner included Inifinidat among the leading five “Cool Vendors in Storage Technologies” mainly for its highly scalable, reliable, low-cost offering. However, it added that Infinidat will have to overcome the risk-averse behavior of the decision makers with tight software partnerships, provide enthusiastic customer references, and offer easy access to its integration labs to succeed in the high-end storage market.

Infinidat’s Financials

Infinidat has kept much of its financial and operational performance under wraps. Little is known about its clientele. The core product InfiniBox has been around for nearly two years and the company claims that it has several Fortune 500 customers. It is now targeting Fortune 1000 companies and will be competing with IBM, EMC, HP, and NetApp. It claims that it is already taking business from IBM and EMC. Infinidat does not spend a lot of money on marketing its tool. Instead, it is focused on product development and believes that a strong product will speak for itself.

Infinidat has been venture funded so far with $230 million in investments from TPG Growth and a group of undisclosed private investors. The last round of funding was held in April 2015, when they raised $150 million from TPG Growth at a valuation of $1.2 billion. Infinidat has expressed its interest in going public, but further details are also hidden.

More investigation and analysis of Unicorn companies can be found in my latest Entrepreneur Journeys book, Billion Dollar Unicorns. Unicorns will also be discussed with some special guests during our 1M/1M Roundtable programs over the next few weeks. To be a part of the conversation, please register here. The term Unicorn was coined in a TechCrunch article by Aileen Lee of Cowboy Ventures.

This segment is a part in the series : Billion Dollar Unicorns


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