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The eyeopening multi-billion-dollar merry-go-round of Insight Partners, Veeam – and their one-time beau N2WS

Plenty of cash flying around ahead of that $5bn biz gobble

Updated What an interesting world of revolving doors the enterprise storage sector can be sometimes.

It's been brought to our attention that Insight Partners, the private equity outfit that just snaffled Veeam for $5bn, once bankrolled N2WS, Veeam's one-time subsidiary.

Insight and Veeam invested in N2WS, a Florida-based AWS EC2 backup and recovery service, in May 2017. Insight previously said on its website that the upstart was "founded in 2012 to address the challenge of providing highly-efficient data protection for production environments deployed in the public cloud."

The private equity biz – which has injected cash into tons of businesses, from Docker to Twitter to Tintri, over the years – also brought in Veeam co-founder Ratmir Timashev to join the N2WS board. Insight previously invested significant sums in Veeam, too.

Fast forward to January 2018, and Veeam acquired N2WS for $42.5m, though it soon ran into problems. N2WS's US federal customers didn't want to deal with new parent Veeam, a part-Russian-owned business based in Switzerland.

By October last year, Veaam had offloaded N2WS back to its original founders as a result.

And in January this year, Insight Partners gobbled up Veeam. It's the circle of life in tech.

Backup backers

Insight is a fan of backup software companies. It is the majority owner of Kaseya, an IT infrastructure management vendor, and it has a stake in OwnBackup, which specialises in cloud-based backup for Salesforce data suppliers. Prior investments listed on Insight’s website include Acronis, a prominent backup and security supplier; Imceda, the SQL database backup vendor bought by Quest in 2005; and Mimecast, which IPOed in 2015.

In May last year, Kaseya bought Unitrends (which had been acquired by Insight Partners in 2013) and in October took over Spanning (in-cloud backup), which was bought by Insight in 2017. The private equity house's acquisitions also include RapidFire Tools and IT Glue.

Data protection borg

In effect, Insight Partners is acting as a consolidating force in the fragmented data protection industry.

The well-known vulture capital private equity playbook is to buy business assets, grow them while cutting costs, and then sell them. Insight has shuffled its existing backup investments already, putting Unitrends and Spanning into Kaseya. We speculate that OwnBackup could join Kaseya's portfolio; it looks a good fit with Spanning as both are in-cloud backup businesses. ®

Editor's note: This article was updated after publication to clarify that Insight Partners does not own N2WS: the business was sold back to its co-founders in mid-2019. We are happy to make this correction.

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