3i leads $20m funding of Netronome

13 Nov 2006

3i leads $20m funding of Netronome to accelerate virtualization vision with its Open ApplianceTM Platform

3i, world leading venture capital and private equity company, has led a global VC syndicate, investing $20m via a Series C financing round in Netronome Systems Inc, a company that aims to transform the speed and efficiency of network appliances using its unique Open ApplianceTM  platform. 3i is joined by Tudor Investment Corporation as well as existing investors Top Technology Ventures, Spinner Global Technology Fund and a group of business angels including FORE Systems founders Robert Sansom and Eric Cooper.

Netronome was founded in 2003 by serial entrepreneur Niel Viljoen together with David Wells and Johann Tönsing, all of whom have impressive credentials in the networking industry from key roles at companies including FORE Systems, Nemesys, Tellabs and Marconi.  Netronome is already shipping product to customers and is headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA USA, with offices in Cambridge, UK, and Centurion, South Africa.

Network appliances for security products, and WAN and LAN application optimisation functions are a rapidly growing multi-billion dollar segment of the network equipment market, and Netronome’s Open Appliance platform addresses the need of these vendors by combining hardware co-processors and software allowing “appliance” vendors to scale their platforms significantly in performance whilst reducing power consumption. The Open Appliance platform also supports virtualisation of “appliances” allowing “appliance” users to consolidate platforms and optimally configure “appliance” functions in data centers. The Open ApplianceTM platform achieves this without affecting performance.   Hardware acceleration co-processors are installed in standard IA/X86 server platform using a highly optimized PCI Express interface to create the Open ApplianceTM.. Netronome supports industry efforts for enhanced co-processing such as Intel and IBM's recently announced Geneseo initiative.
3i Venture Capital Senior Partner Ian Lobley explained “Netronome’s approach to the problem of speed and power consumption of platforms running network applications is highly distinctive and has significant impact for customers; we’re really excited about the vision and global potential for Netronome’s products. 

3i Director Krishna Visvanathan added “The investment makes a great fit for 3i’s own global and sector strengths and we look forward to working with Niel and his impressive team to help create a significant player in the enterprise network and data centre appliance market in years to come.”

Rob Broggi of Tudor Investment Corporation added “We are extremely pleased to be working along side such high quality management and investment professionals with proven track records of success.  Netronome’s Open Appliance platform addresses critical unmet needs in the modern data centre, offering significant opportunity for growth.”

Niel Viljoen added “We’re really pleased to welcome 3i and Tudor to our board. As lead investor, 3i’s style of working with, nurturing and supporting entrepreneurs they back, coupled with their ability to leverage their global presence and network, were critical to our choice of investor. 3i has significant experience in the network and security field from investments including companies such as Cachelogic, Ipanema, Sophos, Searchspace and Content Technology.

At the time of 3i’s investment, Ian Lobley and Krishna Visvanathan of 3i and Rob Broggi of Tudor Investment Corporation will join the Netronome board which includes business angel investor and FORE Systems founder Robert Sansom, ex Intel executive Jim Finnegan and Harry Fitzgibbons, Managing Partner of Top Technology Ventures. 

About 3i

3i is a world leader in private equity and venture capital.  We focus on Buyouts, Growth Capital and Venture Capital and invest across Europe, in the United States and in Asia.  Our competitive advantage comes from our international network and the strength and breadth of our relationships in business.  These underpin the value that we deliver to our portfolio and to our shareholders.
3i’s Venture Capital partners focus on investing in scaleable seed and start-up and early-stage technology and healthcare businesses on a global basis. The business currently manages investments across Europe, US, Asia and Israel, valued at over $1bn. 3i VC plans to invest $1.5bn funds over the next five years in exciting and ambitious companies in three main areas: healthcare (medtech and biotech), consumerisation of IT (telecommunications, Internet, media and electronics/semiconductors) and the clean technology sector.  
Recent investments include TransMedics (organ transplant system), Sulake (gaming community), The Cloud (wifi), DiBcom (mobile TV). Recent successful realisations include Interhyp (online mortgages,€301m IPO), KuDOS (pharmaceuticals), Arakis (biopharma), Searchspace (fraud detection), UbiNetics (3G measurement & monitoring), dtms (comms services), RedDot (web design), CSR (bluetooth), Element5 (ecommerce), Bookham (optical systems), Virata (DSL chips) and many others.  For more information, go to http://www.3i.com