Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Violin Memory Raises $50 Million at $800 Million Valuation, May IPO This Year

Violin Memory, the company that builds storage arrays based on flash memory technology, will on Monday announce that it has raised a $50 million Series D round of funding at an implied valuation of $800 million.

The funding round includes strategic stakes from Toshiba, the Japanese chip and electronics maker; networking concern Juniper Networks; and funding from new investors, including Highland Capital and SAP Ventures, the investment arm of German software giant SAP.

Violin CEO Don Basile also told me today that the company is in the process of picking bankers that will likely lead it to an initial public offering before the end of 2012. “We had our final bake-off last week,” he told me, though he didn’t disclose who had won it.

That Violin was raising capital was disclosed in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. A formal announcement on the funding will come Monday.

Violin has been growing pretty aggressively in recent months. Basile told me that the company now has 320 employees, up from 50 in the last six months. It has been building up a global sales force with 40 people working in Europe and the Middle east. That team is run by Garry Veale, the former head of HP’s Storageworks operation in Europe. Earlier this month it hired Martin Darling, a former EMC sales exec to run its sales team in Asia.

Basile says the investment will be used press down on the gas pedal and keep growing, but also to look seriously at an IPO before the end of 2012. “The funding gives us the means to grow as a private company, but also to look at the public markets if the conditions are right,” he said. “It’s more likely than not that we’ll be a public company by the end of the calendar year.”

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus