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Company: Topio

HQ: Santa Clara, CA

Founded: 2001

Management: Yoram Novick is the founder and CEO. Before this, he spent 13 years at IBM Research, where he held various positions in the area of storage research. He is the author and co-author of 24 patents.

Investors: On April 25, the company announced an $8 million Series C round of venture funding led by Star Ventures, with participation from existing investors Sequoia Capital and Sigma Partners. This brings the company’s total funding to $21 million.

Business Model: Topio makes software that helps companies with data replication and data recovery, particularly in scenarios where data is corrupted or lost as the result of a disaster. A key selling point for Topio is that its software is agnostic, working with most existing servers and storage architectures. The software also works over any distance, allowing a customer to back-up and protect a worldwide data network. Along with its recent funding announcement, Topio reported it has over 40 customers.

Competitors:  Mendocino Software, XOSoft, Revivio, EMC

Dirt: Part of the challenge in any enterprise software business is getting in front of big customers, and Topio has forged some solid partnerships to make headway on this front. Last fall, IBM Global Services began offering Topio’s products as a part of its service to enterprise customers. They don’t come much bigger than IBM Global Services.

Another good sign for Topio is the recent resurgence of EMC, the storage sector’s bellwether. EMC recently reported its seventh consecutive quarter of double-digit revenue growth and saw its shares rise 13 percent. That recent success suggests that corporations are loosening the budgetary restrictions that have dragged so many technology vendors down over the past few years. Because of this upswing, Topio should benefit from the same trend.


Fantastic Voyage

The online travel market still offers opportunity to start-ups — and other alarm:clock news from the land of private venture funding.

When Expedia, Travelocity, and Orbitz established themselves as the Big Three of online travel, many thought their combined marketing muscle would dominate the sector and shut out would-be competitors. But with a market as large as online travel – JupiterResearch estimates that revenue from online travel bookings will hit $62 billion in 2005 – other innovative companies have figured out how to share in the growth.

One such innovator is Santa Clara, Calif-based SideStep, which operates a travel-specific search engine that aggregates data from Expedia, Travelocity, and others and pulls in data from hotels and airlines that are not working with those companies, such as the refreshingly independent JetBlue. In contrast to the core travel sites, which earn revenues primarily from online booking transactions, SideStep’s revenues are primarily derived from travel advertisers.

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