Is it Too Hot or Just Warming Up?

There is no easy answer to this question but our sense is that there are certain segments that appear to be over funded with valuations and corresponding expectations at record highs. Top of mind is the solid state/flash sector which covers a broad array of pure flash system companies, hybrid players and sub-system players. While there are likely to be multiple “winners” in each sub-sector, we are not seeing significant differentiation in some of the start-ups. On the other hand, multiple start-ups such as Actifio, Nexenta, Violin, Nimble Storage and others are claiming significant customer wins and revenue growth. These and other late stage start-ups could see solid exits through M&A and IPOs later this year or in 2014. The cause for concern is the next batch of start-ups that are arriving late to the game with “modest differentiation” vs. “game changing” or truly disruptive technology. We are on the cusp of a truly transformational time for storage with new software defined approaches posing real threats to the incumbents and converged architectures that render storage as a discreet market, “old school” and a thing of the past. Hence, this wave of disruption is already occurring and one of the main risks we see in venture is paddling in too late.

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