To scale or not to scale

Contact: Ben Kolada, Brenon Daly

For businesses that both had ‘scale’ in their name, neither MaxiScale nor ParaScale got very big. Nor did they get very big exits in their recent sales. In the crowded cloud storage market – dominated by multibillion-dollar incumbents IBM, EMC and HP – startups have only a short time to prove themselves to potential customers. We suspect that both MaxiScale and ParaScale shared similar fates because VCs are becoming quicker to pull the plug on storage investments that aren’t lining up customers.

That’s particularly true for MaxiScale, which we covered a year ago as it emerged from stealth. While ParaScale chalked up some customer wins, rumors have it that MaxiScale was unable to actually generate any revenue from its product. The bleak outlook forced the company to sell its assets last week to Overland Storage at what we expect was a fraction of the $25m that investors poured into the firm. We doubt that Overland paid much more than $5m for the acquired MaxiScale assets.

However, not all cloud storage startups are landing on the scrap heap. While MaxiScale and ParaScale were unable to secure lifeline funding, rival Caringo raised a fresh $5m round in July. In the past year, the company claims to have increased its customer count from 150 to more than 400, and is set on reaching profitability by the first half of next year. We don’t consider the firm an acquisition target just yet, but if it continues to do well, it could draw some interest down the road.