5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending Sept. 25

The five companies that this week grew their business or the industry had in common the ability to think big.

They included a flash storage vendor that grabbed headlines for the huge IPO it will shortly initiate, a solution provider looking to scale up its data center business with a merger, and a couple of companies betting big on growing their cloud business.

Then there's the video collaboration firm that not only got a good new round of funding, but did it in style by convincing a former New York Yankees shortstop to "pitch in."

Not everyone in the IT industry pulled in the kind of positive buzz these winners brought in this week, of course. For a rundown of companies that were unfortunate, unsuccessful, or just didn't make good decisions, check out this week's 5 Companies That Had A Rough Week roundup.

Pure Storage Prices IPO, Looking To Raise Up To $450M

Pure Storage garnered a huge amount of buzz by pricing its widely anticipated IPO, giving it a valuation that could easily be interpreted as showing that the all-flash storage array vendor has the potential to be a major force in the storage industry.

Pure Storage, in an update to its SEC filing, Thursday said it anticipates an initial public offering price of between $16 and $18 per share for 25 million shares. At the upper end of that range, the IPO would raise about $450 million for the company, giving Pure Storage a total valuation of about $3.3 billion.

The proceeds of the IPO are slated to increase the company's capitalization and financial flexibility, increase its marketplace visibility, expand product development and sales and marketing organizations, and potentially be used to acquire or invest in new technologies, solutions or businesses.

Derek Jeter Chipping In For $76.5M Investment In Blue Jeans Network

Blue Jeans Network, a Mountain View, Calif.-based cloud-based video collaboration specialist, this week hit a home run with a new $76.5 million funding round, part of which came from former star New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.

The new Series E round of funding, which included investment from several other venture capital firms, is aimed at accelerating product innovation along with a global market expansion in Europe, Asia and Australia.

Blue Jeans says it's achieving record growth for revenue and subscriptions, providing more than 1 billion minutes of real-time video collaboration annually to more than 25 million users across 5,000 companies, according to a release.

RoundTower Grows Stronger Through Data Center Partner Merger

Cincinnati-based data center infrastructure-focused solution provider RoundTower Technologies has merged with Wakefield, Mass.-based Par 4 Technology Group to create a $250 million, 200-employee data center infrastructure power with expertise in everything from storage and virtualization to automation and consulting.

The combined company will operate under the RoundTower name and be based in Cincinnati, with Par 4 President Gary Halloran joining the executive leadership team. Terms of the deal, unveiled Thursday, were not disclosed.

The combined company aims to be a one-stop shop for all things data center, running the gamut from storage, virtualization and data protection to cloud and security. On the non-infrastructure front, RoundTower and Par 4 have expertise in DevOps, automation, big data, consulting and managed services, according to the companies.

Cybertron Takes Aim At Cloud Services Market With ITKansas Acquisition

Systems builder Cybertron, looking to become a provider of cloud services, took a step in that direction with this week's acquisition of IT services provider ITKansas as it moves closer to its goal of offering cloud services.

ITKansas is Cybertron’s second services-focused acquisition since it added managed services to its offerings five years ago. In 2012, Cybertron, which has 107 employees, acquired The Bill Guy Technology Solutions.

Cybertron and ITKansas are both based in Wichita, Kan. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Cybertron co-founder and CEO Ahmed Abdelaziz told CRN the ITKansas deal brings the company the right people to help move toward its ultimate goal of providing cloud services while expanding its current local services offerings via cloud technology to match the national reach of its hardware business.

AppDirect Buys AppCarousel, Consolidating App Store Platforms

AppDirect Thursday said it acquired AppCarousel in a deal that consolidates two popular platforms for building online Software-as-a-Service marketplaces.

The acquisition is expected to result in a cloud commerce powerhouse that delivers customizable app stores for reselling a wide range of cloud-based software, from office productivity tools to controllers for interconnected devices.

Both vendors provide channel partners and customers the ability to stand up curated marketplaces they can white-label and stock full of SaaS applications. But where AppDirect offers an inventory of more conventional apps -- like Office 365, Salesforce and Dropbox -- AppCarousel focuses on bringing to market Internet of Things technologies.

AppCarousel, located a few blocks from San Francisco-based AppDirect, will continue to be run independently from its new parent under current CEO Emanuel Bertolin.