Panzura nets $15M to push enterprise cloud storage

The enterprise cloud storage opportunity is big and Panzura plans to use $15 million in new venture funding to attack it in a bigger, more global way.
Panzura’s Series C round was led by Opus Capital, bringing total funding to $33 million. The new cash which will go towards building Panzura’s global sales force, CEO Randy Chou told me recently. Unlike many of the other cloud storage startups, four-year-old Panzura focuses exclusively on big enterprise accounts not on small and medium businesses, he said. Current enterprise customers include Relativity Media and Jazz Pharmaceuticals.
The company’s cloud storage gateway can front-end private or public clouds. Panzura lists Amazon(s amzn), Nirvanix, Rackspace(s rax), Hewlett-Packard(s hpq) and Google(s goog) as public cloud partners and works with EMC(s emc), OpenStack, Amplidata and Nirvanix on the private cloud side.
“We’re attacking the very high end of the enterprise. Most of our deals are over $120,000,” Chou said. And, a large percentage of those customers come to Panzura recommended by legacy storage players EMC(s emc) and HP, he said. “Most cloud storage companies fight the incumbents, we work with the incumbents,” he said.
The San Jose, Calif.-based company sells both a hardware appliance and a virtual machine version that runs on VMware ESX, he said.

Opus Capital joins incumbent investors Matrix Ventures, Khosla Ventures and Chevron Technology Ventures. With the latest VC round, Opus Capital General Partner Carl Showalter joins Panzura’s board of directors.
Cloud storage has become a heated battleground with  dozens of companies fighting for business credibility there. So while opportunity is indeed huge, the number of combatants fighting it out for a piece of that pie is big as well.
Feature photo courtesy of Flickr user getinet