Westboro births a 'unicorn'.


W estboro is home to the newest "unicorn,'' which is a private company valued at over $1 billion.

Westboro's SimpliVity, which makes the OmniCube that uses "commodity servers and customized software to cut the costs of operating a company's IT by a factor of three'' -- announced a $175 million Series D financing on March 10.

With that round of financing, SimpliVity has reached the billion dollar mark in value.

Given the small size of SimpliVity in comparison to giants like Hopkinton's EMC and VMware -- those giant companies should not be quaking in their boots. Yet EMC is suffering from the law of large numbers, and does not seem to have a solution that will accelerate its top line growth rate.

Before getting into that, let's look at SimpliVity's recent financing. According to my interview with chief executive officer Doron Kempel, SimpliVity is now valued at over $1 billion, after raising $175 million in a Series D financing that included $150 million from a customer -- Waypoint Capital -- and $25 million from earlier investors such as Kleiner Perkins and Accel.

Waypoint Capital is a Geneva, Switzerland based firm that manages the money generated in part by the sale of Serono to Merck in 2006 for $3 billion. Waypoint Capital's chief information officer, Frederic Wohlwend, explained that Waypoint was a customer before it decided to invest in SimpliVity.

Waypoint bought 11 OmniCubes operating in five locations. Said Mr. Wohlwend, "We needed to refresh our back office infrastructure. We looked at the competition and decided that SimpliVity was the best solution. It did disaster recovery, high availability, and storage and reduced our costs by a factor of three while increasing our processing power four-fold.''

Mr. Wohlwend explained that after discussing the company internally with his team, "Our chairman and our board were intrigued by this project and this technology so we looked into investing in the company.''

As he said, "Our chairman asked: "Is it a breakthrough? Will it disrupt?'' We did our due diligence and found out that they had better technology and a competent team. We believe in the company and like entrepreneurs who can grow into leaders.''

SimpliVity is targeting a big market, but how big is debatable. According to Mr. Kempel, "If you take into account all the devices that the OmniCube can replace -- servers, SAN switches, storage, data protection, and so on -- the addressable market is $107 billion.''

Gartner, an IT...

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