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DRAM whammer Kaminario bigs up K2 biz

Flash array market's on the up

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Comment Upstart Kaminario seems pleased with its position at the summit of flash array performance with its SPC benchmark-topping K2 all-flash arrays. But this mid-pack player may need to emerge from the herd to prove it has what it takes.

Gartner pegs Kaminario as a visionary in the networked AFA (all-flash array) market. The startup updated its K2 array in May with scale-up ands scale-out attributes, shiny new CPUs, bigger SSDs, more VMware support, etc.

How has its business done since then? According to the firm, it has experienced:

  • nearly 3X year-on-year growth in the quarter’s bookings,
  • 60 per cent of bookings are new wins, 40 per cent from existing customers,
  • a 25 per cent growth in employees compared to the previous quarter.

Kaminario co-founder and CEO Dani Golan talked of the “tremendous growth in bookings and surge in customer demand we've witnessed since the launch of our fifth-generation K2.”

He expects to maintain the quarter’s 25 per cent head count growth rate over the next 12 months.

Is the firm growing quickly enough? A rising tide lifts all boats and the flash array tide is surging in.

Kaminario was founded in 2008, shipped its first K2 product in June 2010, and in six years has had four funding rounds:

  • A-round at an undisclosed date and for an undisclosed amount, assumed to be from Sequoia Capital and Pitango Venture Capital,
  • B-round at an undisclosed date and un-revealed amount from Sequoia Capital and Pitango Venture Capital, taking total to $19m,
  • May 2011 - $15m C-round from Globespan Capital Partners, Sequoia Capital and Pitango Venture Capital,
  • June 2012 - $25m series D from Globespan Capital Partners, Pitango Venture Capital, Tenaya Capital and Sequoia Capital,
  • Mitsui & Co. Global Investment is also listed as an investor on Kaminario’s website but with no round or funding amount information.

It has now been two years since the last funding round, with around $59m in total funding, and, dare we say it, Kaminario as a hardware and software company is looking a little under-funded compared to startups like Pure Storage and Nimble Storage.

Although its arrays are enterprise class and start at a medium enterprise level this is mid-market ground is hotly-contested and Kaminario’s top-of-the-SPC rankings may even be a disincentive, creating a perception of a costly hot-box.

Dani Golan is now listed as Kaminario’s founder on its website. Actually he is a co-founder. There were two others: Ofir Dubovi, the COO and CFO who left in October 2012, and Moshe Selfin, who was VP for marketing and products. He left in August 2010 to join Anobit and is now COO at Credorax.

Kaminario’s web page lists no person solely focused on marketing, with CEO Dani Golan handling strategy, go-to-market as well as overall company operations. Golan, Kaminario’s top gun, is an ex-Israeli air force fighter pilot, according to an August 2013 Forbes’ interview.

The storage desk in the Vulture’s lair thinks Kaminario needs to up its game if it is to emerge from the AFA pack. We’re noting that there are seven all-flash array companies ahead of it in Gartner AFA MQ terms, and four below it. Classic startup received wisdom is that the techie founding CEO needs to recruit a seasoned business bod to get the third-stage boost in a company’s fortunes that take it to IPO and beyond or acquisition.

So come on, ex-fighter pilot: is there enough fuel in your tank to carry out this mission? ®

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