BakBone Gets a Bargain in $3M Purchase of Asempra’s Technologies

It looked like a small deal when San Diego-based data backup and recovery company BakBone Software acquired the assets of Santa Clara, CA-based Asempra Technologies earlier this week. BakBone shares trade over-the-counter, and the company’s press release mentioned that only $350,000 in cash changed hands. In fact, the value of the overall, cash-and-stock transaction was approximately $3 million, but the real significance may be in showing how hard times can make for good deals.

What BakBone got was continuous data protection technology developed by Asempra, a pedigreed competitor that received more than $41 million in venture capital funding.

In its statement, BakBone president and CEO Jim Johnson says, “a key growth strategy of our company is to offer customers a broad portfolio of product and service offerings. This acquisition… helps build on our position as a leading provider of data protection solutions that improve overall performance and reduce operational costs.”

Asempra’s chief technology officer, Siew Sim-Tang, and former CEO and president Dan Fraisl founded the company in 2003 to develop technologies that continuously update clients’ data, and enable them to rapidly recover their data when needed. Gary Gysin was named as Asempra’s CEO in January 2007, and he sat on Asempra’s board with three VC investors, Siew Sim-Tang, and Gordon Eubanks, Symantec’s ex-CEO. Asempra had over 50 employees, and less than three months ago, the Santa Clara company introduced a new business recovery server called BCS 3.0.

BakBone and Asempra had formed a partnership in April 2008. According to a press release at the time, they were supposed to “invest in joint product development, marketing, and services delivery.” Now Asempra’s net pages all lead to BakBone, which is expanding its portfolio in a contested data recovery market with Asempra’s products.

Asempra’s SEC filings show the company got $8.9 million in Series A venture funding in 2003 from Menlo Park, CA-based U.S. Venture Partners and Waltham, MA-based Polaris Venture Partners. Those same firms also participated in a $20 million Series B round in 2006 that included Menlo Ventures of Menlo Park, CA. The SEC filings also show Asempra raised $3.9 million through warrants and stock issued to U.S. Venture Partners and Polaris in 2005. Those two VCs and Menlo Ventures provided Asempra with another $8.7 million in December 2007.

BakBone Software was founded in 2000 and has over 230 employees. Its top product is NetVault, tape backup software.

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