VC Money Continues To Drain Into InfiniBand: Mellanox Secures $56M


Latest in a long string of big VC wins for an industry with few products out


InfiniBand silicon developer Mellanox Technologies started the new year out right with a third round of funding worth $56 million.

Mellanox executives on Monday said the company, based here, secured the financing from both new and existing investors.

The new round brings the total of investments to over $89 million.

The round was led by Bessemer Venture Partners. First-time strategic investors include Dell Computer, host bus adaptor vendor JNI, Taiwan-based Quanta Computers and Sun Microsystems. Other first-time investors include Banc of America Securities, China Development Investment Bank, Gemini Israel Funds, Jerusalem Global Ventures, and Walden Israel Venture Capital. Previous investors participating in the round include Intel Capital, Raza Venture Management, Sequoia Capital, US Venture Partners and Vitesse Semiconductor.

Mellanox executives said the company plans to use the funding to help develop future generations of 10-Gbit-per-second and 30-Gbps InfiniBand technology product lines, including the next generation of InfiniBand Blade reference designs, based on a fully redundant InfiniBand 4X (10-Gbps) backplane that supports server, switch and I/O blades in a single chassis.

The company currently ships its InfiniBridge MT21108 controller, which integrates an eight-port InfiniBand Switch and Target Channel adapter into a single device.

The other current product is the InfiniScale MT43132, an eight-port 10-Gbps InfiniBand switch with integrated physical layer serializer/deserializer (SerDes) interfaces. Last January, Mellanox started shipping its Nitro InfiniBand Server Blade Reference Platform, aimed at giving OEMs a framework for building InfiniBand-based server blades. Further product plans were not disclosed.

InfiniBand developers have seen a lot of funding activity as of late.

In January, Voltaire, a Bedford, Mass.-based developer of InfiniBand connectivity solutions, received $13.2 million in its second round of funding.

Lane15 Software, the Austin, Texas-based developer of software to manage InfiniBand fabrics, including such functions as power management and load balancing, in December closed its Series B round of funding for $12 million in its pocket. Strategic investors included Quanta, Dell, and Intel Capital.

Last August, InfiniSwitch, a Westborough, Mass.-based InfiniBand switch developer, secured $26 million in Series B financing.

Executives at Banderacom, an Austin, Texas-based developer of silicon for InfiniBand-based target devices, last June closed its second round of funding, getting $35 million last June, including strategic investments from Intel, storage router vendor Crossroads Systems and Fibre Channel host bus adapter vendor QLogic.