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Asempra collapses, Bakbone pounces

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Backup software vendor Bakbone is buying the continuous data protection technology assets from the collapsed Asempra Technologies for a mixture of shares and cash.

Chris Ross, Bakbone VP and general manager for EMEA, said: "Asempra has ceased trading. We've essentially bought the assets of the company."

Bakbone - which supplies backup software for Linux, Unix, Windows, and the Mac - is buying Asempra's Any-Point-In-Time Technology for Microsoft Windows file systems, Exchange and SQL Servers. It enables them to be continuously protected with virtually no loss of data if they crash, and it offers a very fast one-shot recovery process.

Asempra made the Business Continuity Server, a product offering continuous data protection and fast, one-click recovery for Windows file servers, Exchange and SQL servers. It was founded in 2003 by Siew Sim-Tang, who was its chief technology officer, and Dan Fraisl, its CEO and president until January 2007 when ex-McData world-wide SVP sales Gary Gysin came in to replace him. Asempra has pulled in $29m in two funding rounds.

Gysin sat on Asempra's board along with representatives of three venture capital firms and Gordon Eubanks, ex-CEO and president of Symantec. Sim-Tang was not on the board and it looks as if the VCaps pulled the shots and dumped Fraisl back in the beginning of 2007.

Gysin set about strengthening his management team and pursuing partnership deals wit OEMs such as HP. Asempra and Bakbone signed a joint development and marketing deal in April last year. In September 2008, Bakbone released its Real Time Data Protector (RDP) product, based on Asempra technology. Now, Bakbone is paying $350,000 cash, plus accrued royalties and 3,846154 common shares.

The current share price for Bakbone is $0.450, making the share issue worth $1.73m. Altogether then, the liquidator of Asempra is getting cash and shares worth $2.81m plus whatever the accrued royalties amount to. Three million dollars is probably the maximum round sum.

Bakbone now owns technology it can extend to Linux, Unix, and the Mac, which would further its integrated data protection strategy.

Why did Asempra cease trading - which, by the way, happened so fast its PR agency knew nothing of the asset sale to Bakbone? The probability is that it ran into cash flow problems in the recession and the investing VCaps were reluctant to go through another funding round. Three million dollars does not look like anywhere a worthwhile exit strategy for the three VC firms, not with $29m in the Asempra can, but it is something to pull out of the failed venture. ®

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