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Ousted Fusion-io boss lands at VC

Competitive capital?

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Don Basile, the recently ousted CEO of Fusion-IO, has become the managing director of Iron Capital Partners, a small venture-focussed investment bank which may, if rumours are right, be getting involved with Fusion-io competitor Violin Memory.

Fusion-io makes flash memory SSDs - known as ioDrives - which connect via a PCIe port direct to a server (or x86 disk controller's) bus. It has announced working projects with HP and IBM.

Basile was brought into start-up Fusion-io to be its CEO in March, 2008, after an A-round of funding had generated $19m. Iron Capital Partners was involved in the private placement of that funding round, which was led by NEA. Basile was replaced a year later by David Bedford, Fusion's general counsel and advisory board chairman, whom, ironically, Basile had brought into Fusion. Basile lists his Fusion-io positions as CEO and Chairman of the Board on his LinkedIn profile.

Fusion is set to announce a successful B funding round in April. It is not known if Iron Capital has been involved with that round.

Iron Capital Holdings was founded in 2007 by Jason Blum, who is its CEO. He is the Managing Partner of Iron Capital Partners. Brian Dennen is a co-founder and the Chief Operations Officer. According to his very recently updated LinkedIn profile, Don Basile is the Managing Director at Iron Capital Partners and has been for one month. There are currently five employees at the firm.

Why does it need a Managing Director when it already has a Managing Partner? The scuttlebutt is that Iron Capital could be involved in capital raising for Violin Memory and that Basile may well have a position in store at that firm

Violin Memory is another SSD start-up, making the Violin 1010 memory appliance. This is also a PCIe-connected product, and it can be populated with either DRAM or flash memory. The firm raised $10m in a Series A funding round in 2007. Its management team consists of co-founder and president Donpaul Stephens, co-founder and chief technology officer Jon Bennett, and Morgan Littlewood, VP of marketing and business development. There is no CEO.

Littlewood said it was best to talk about such things with Violin Memory's PR agency. That agency said it is Violin Memory's "policy not to comment on rumors. Violin Memory is in the process of speaking to potential candidates and institutional and strategic investors."

Iron Capital wasn't immediately able to comment. ®

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