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Nexenta raises $24 million, plans to become a public company

Nexenta Systems, which sells storage systems based on ZFS technology, revamped its leadership team and pulled in $24 million in funding today with an eye on going public.

Mark Lockareff takes over as  CEO from Evan Powell, who is shifting to chief strategy officer. Nexenta also  hired Bridget Warwick – formerly at BlueArc and NetApp – as chief marketing officer.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company has raised a total of $55 million in funding, including a $21 million round last year. The latest funding is Nexenta’s D round.

Lockareff  comes to Nexenta from Bridge Adivsory Partners, where he served as managing director. He said he will focus on driving  Nexenta’s next stage of growth as a software-defined storage vendor. The company’s core product is NexentaStor, which is based on open-source ZFS technology. The software runs on commodity servers, turning them into multiprotocol storage systems.

“There are a lot of different directions our product can get pulled into, so we have to be disciplined in the direction,” Locareff said.  “We have the two hardest parts underneath us now [building a product and generating revenues]. Now it’s time to build a management team and the infrastructure for growth. We are moving to become a public company someday.”

Lockareff said the $24 million will be used to build out its field engagement to work with partners and joint marketing efforts. It also will be used to build out core features in the product and product a road map for resellers. Nexenta is working on getting  its software to run on SSDs.

“There is an array of SSD providers and each might have different approaches in configurations,” Lockareff said. “Also, a lot of plug-in players want to work with us.”

Nexenta’s latest financing is led by new investor Four Rivers Group, with participation by previous Nexenta investors Menlo Ventures, TransLink Capital, Javelin Ventures, Sierra Ventures, Razor’s Edge Ventures, and West Summit Capital. In addition to Four Rivers, Presidio Ventures and UMC Capital participated in the funding.

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