Feeds

Azul investor removes invisibility cloak

How many Poles does it take to form a VC?

The essential guide to IT transformation

When Java server appliance maker Azul Systems announced a new round of funding last month, one investor caught our attention - JVax Investment Group.

JVax stood out for a couple of reasons. First off, it was the lone new investor to pad Azul's funding round. We had documented Azul's struggles in closing this funding round and were, quite frankly, surprised that a new body was willing to pony up some cash. Securing a new investor added muscle to Azul's cash collection and countered some of the pessimism surrounding the company.

JVax, however, also jumped out from the investor list because we couldn't find any public information about the company. It did not appear to have any prior investments in technology companies - or companies period.

We pushed Azul for more information on JVax and were initially rebuffed. The only thing Azul would say is that "JVaxIG is a European-based venture fund whose focus is investing in companies which have significant potential in Europe."

Do you have any contact information for the firm? "No."

We kept prodding, until Azul turned over some more facts.

As it turns out, the mysterious JVax is a private US company founded in 2007. It's focused on investing in companies that can sell goods to Poland, in particular, and then Central and Eastern Europe more broadly. The interest in Poland stems from the money man Jacek Waksmundzki - a fella with ownership positions in a number of Polish businesses and a significant player in the Polish real estate market, according to Azul.

The company has pumped $10m into Azul with an apparent pledge to invest $5m more. It also has investments in surveillance software maker VidSys and software start-up WorldIXI.

As it happens, one of Waksmundzki's companies - World IT Systems - "is a strategic sales partner of Azul Systems and other IT companies, and is actively involved in ramping up Azul’s sales efforts in Central and Eastern Europe and in the Middle East." So, the investment in Azul is quite self-serving.

Without doubt, Azul has major challenges. The company just laid off a large chunk of employees and has pared back research and development work as a result. In addition, CEO Stephen DeWitt is set to depart any day, according to our sources.

Beyond all that, Azul must convince people on a very new and somewhat weird concept. Its products rely on custom silicon that provides a dramatic speed-up to offloaded Java code.

Our stories on Azul have generated a healthy amount of feedback from customers. For the most part, people who have tried out the Azul hardware seem to love it.

With a bit of luck, Azul's $40m will buy it some time to sell existing gear and to keep spreading the word about its dreamy technology. This is never an easy game for a start-up, and we've seen plenty of hardware makers tear through tens of millions before folding. ®

Register hack Ashlee Vance has just pumped out a new book that's a guide to Silicon Valley. The book starts with the electronics pioneers present in the Bay Area in the early 20th century and marches up to today's heavies. Want to know where Gordon Moore eats Chinese food, where Steve Jobs and Bono hang out or how Fairchild Semiconductor got its start? This is the book for you - available at Amazon US here or in the UK here.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Pay to play: The hidden cost of software defined everything
Enter credit card details if you want that system you bought to actually be useful
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
HP busts out new ProLiant Gen9 servers
Think those are cool? Wait till you get a load of our racks
Silicon Valley jolted by magnitude 6.1 quake – its biggest in 25 years
Did the earth move for you at VMworld – oh, OK. It just did. A lot
VMware's high-wire balancing act: EVO might drag us ALL down
Get it right, EMC, or there'll be STORAGE CIVIL WAR. Mark my words
Forrester says it's time to give up on physical storage arrays
The physical/virtual storage tipping point may just have arrived
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.