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By | Chris Mellor 15th March 2010 10:00

Is StorSpeed grinding to a halt?

Filer cacher startup drops the ball

The future of filer cacher StorSpeed appears unclear after it emerged that key execs had left the firm amidst rumours it failed to actually shift any kit.

It launched its SP5000 caching appliance last October. This was juicy hardware with up to six clustered 2U caching nodes featuring FPGA go-faster hardware and solid state drives (SSD) or small form-factor SAS drives, controlled by software said to be application-aware. The SSD version was said to support 350,000 IOPS. As an inline cache it competed with Avere's FTX multi-tiered filer accelerator.

StorSpeed was founded in 2007 by president and CEO Mark Cree and Greg Dahl, the company's business development VP, and laid in $13m of A-round funding. That seems to have been that on the funding front, and this sum, for what it's worth, doesn't sound like a lot of cash to develop a hardware and software product from scratch.

StorSpeed's website lists the current investors as Covera Ventures, El Dorado Ventures, Palomar Ventures and Vesbridge. Two other VC firms were involved in 2007 but seem to have disappeared along the way.

One account, coming indirectly from former employees, is that not a single system was sold. A second account said that StorSpeed did not focus a lot on software originally and its hardware had problems that could not be fixed. We're told that the original hardware VP of engineering and co-founder left late last year. A new VP of engineering for software left a few weeks ago as did Mark Cree, the founding CEO, we're told.

This account is backed up by scanning LinkedIn entries. Mark Cree's entry says he left StorSpeed in February this year. Previously he'd spent five years as a venture or technology partner with two of StorSpeed's VC backers, El Dorado Ventures and Vesbridge.

Another LinkedIn-listed StorSpeed ex-employee is Spencer Shepler, the chief technology officer, describing himself now as the "Ex-CTO of Ex-Storspeed."

Peter Amirkhan, StorSpeed's Sales VP, left in February. Michael Tibbets lists his Director of Software Engineering position at StorSpeed as past employment on his LinkedIn entry, with it finishing this month.

Calls to StorSpeed's HQ are met with a voicemail response, with no call back, and it has given no statement.®

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