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

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in December 2011. Samsung approached SolidFire with a preemptive offer for the round, he said.

SolidFire’s relationship with Samsung also goes beyond the investment. The new SF9010 system uses Samsung’s latest 960GB MLC datacenter-class drives. SolidFire’s other two systems are powered by drives from Intel (NASDAQ: INTC).

Samsung is the world’s largest maker of flash drives, and in the past week it released a 1 TB flash drive for the consumer market under the slogan of “SSD for everyone.” While SolidFire is at the other end of the SSD spectrum, it expects to benefit from Samsung’s global reach and market position, Wright said.

Wright said the ties with Samsung shouldn’t be seen as an indicator that SolidFire is setting itself up to be the latest innovative data storage company based in Colorado that’s gobbled up by a larger company.

“The strategy from the beginning has been to build a long-term, standalone company, and the Samsung investment and partnership really just expands our ability to do that. Honestly, if we were looking to sell the company, particularly if we were looking to sell it in short order, we wouldn’t be raising anywhere near this amount of money,” Wright said.

Wright’s already built one successful data storage company. He founded and was the CEO of Jungle Disk, which was acquired by Rackspace (NYSE: RAX) in 2008. The deal was concurrent with Rackspace’s purchase of Slicehost, and Rackspace said the two companies cost a combined $11.5 million. Wright left Rackspace to found SolidFire.

SolidFire’s on the right path, with product and corporate development tracking as planned, Wright said. SolidFire does not release revenue numbers, but it has been generating revenue for about a year. The next major milestone on the road to the hoped-for IPO is breakeven, he said.

But for now, it’s all about customer acquisition and scaling. SolidFire recently landed Colt Technology Services as a client. London-based Colt operates data centers in Europe and posted $2.1 billion in revenue in 2012.

SolidFire now has more than 100 employees, with about 80 based in Boulder. The company’s headcount could jump by 50 to 100 percent in the next year as it expands the U.S. and international sales teams, Wright said.

Their mission will be to help sell SolidFire into a segment of the data storage market that could grow to $8 billion in three or four years, Wright said.

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