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Newcomer StorCentric gobbles array flinger Nexsan and prosumer storage vendor Drobo

Private equity machinations behind new business setup

Freshly incorporated investment vehicle StorCentric today confirmed it is the new private equity owner of Nexsan and Drobo, respective array and prosumer storage businesses.

Mihir Shah, CEO of Drobo, will head up StorCentric as CEO. The firms will be run as separate divisions: Gregg Pugmire is to be global veep of sales at Nexsan and Read Fenner has the same title at Drobo. Nexsan founder and current CTO Gary Watson will maintain the same position.

"We will continue to execute on our growth strategy, both organic and through acquisitions," said Shah in a canned statement.

The group will employ 150 people in North America, Europe and Asia.

There is no overlap in the duo's tech but it is likely they'll be able to cut costs and boost profits by removing some back-office duplication.

Further bolt-on buys, as Shah said, are inevitable: Nexsan arrays will need NVMe drive and NVMe-oF tech to survive in the tier 1 enterprise array space. Even so, that's a busy market for it to prosper in. It also needs a QLC flash strategy.

Financial terms of the deal were not revealed. Both Drobo and Nexsan were privately owned firms, and neither made public their profit and loss accounts.

Nexsan was founded in 1999 and by 2007 was a storage subsystem developer with SATA disk arrays and a content-addressed array for archiving. It was bought by Imation in 2013 for $120m.

Drobo started life as Data Robotics in 2007, launched by Geoff Barrall, who had also started BlueArc, the NAS supplier bought by HDS. The Drobo name was introduced and by 2013 it had merged with Connected Data. By 2015, it was sold to an investment group and Shah was made CEO.

Imation then bought Connected Data for $7.5m in October 2015, subsequently imploded and both Nexsan and Connected Data were bought by private equity house Spear Point Capital Management in early 2017.

Spear Point is being merged into Humilis Holdings, which among others helped to fund the StorCentric setup. The board includes Humilis managing partner Trevor Colhoun, Shah, Mike Edwards of the Atlas Technology Group investment bank and a Drobo board member, and Peter Richards, who had stints at Empire Capital and Dune Road Capital. ®

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