Virtualization, Data Migration Upstart AutoVirt Closes Doors

Virtualization and data migration startup AutoVirt has closed its doors, CRN has learned.

The Nashua, N.H.-based company, which got its start in 2007, shut down for good on Friday. On Tuesday, AutoVirt e-mail addresses and telephone numbers were out of commission.

Warren Mead, AutoVirt's vice president of sales, said in an interview Wednesday that VCs decided not to fund AutoVirt's next round and the decision was made to shutter the four-year-old company.

AutoVirt's software platform is designed for NAS and the cloud, moving data to the right place based on how it’s being used, and helping to minimize the costs of securing and backing up that data.

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AutoVirt came out swinging with its data migration technology, which raised eyebrows in the virtualization space. And in September, the company launched its first formal channel program, helmed by Mead. The program, Mead said, had 100 signed partners, 50 of which were active, and more than 65 partner reps become sales certified in the past two quarters. Mead added that AutoVirt's partner portal boasted about 300 users.

The timing of the closure, Mead said, is unfortunate as he had spent nine months building the channel program.

"We built and were in the process of building an unbelievable channel," he said. "The value in the AutoVirt brand over the last nine months was in the channel."

One hurdle AutoVirt faced was that the technology wasn't there. He said that AutoVirt's migration technology did not support Network File System (NFS), something that many customers and partners wanted. Mead said he was continually told that adding NFS support was in the works, but it never came to fruition.

"Not supporting NFS was our downfall," he said. "We were turning down four out of every five opportunities partners brought to us. There was a need, but the product didn't address the need. The vision was right."

But out of AutoVirt's ashes Mead said he is pushing for a new venture, and has already met with VCs, to launch a company and product that offers migration and supports NFS.

"There's another opportunity to get that product out," he said, "In real-time I'm trying to come out with a product that answers the market."

Mead said the majority of AutoVirt's customers were sold on a project basis to do migrations, and those projects are finished. For active migrations, AutoVirt is finishing them on the side.

Overall, Mead said, AutoVirt's 30 employees were surprised by the closure, but it's part of the game when working for a startup, calling it "the classic risk vs. reward." He said the company is proud of the work it's done.

"People were bummed out," he said. "Like any startup company, you have to be passionate. My team was very passionate about what we were doing … They were disappointed they didn't get a chance to finish what they started."