RealTime IT News

Sun's Ed Zander Joins Netezza Board

Netezza Corp., a Framingham, Mass.-based startup that makes business intelligence appliances and software, has won the hand of outgoing Sun Microsystems Inc. President and COO Ed Zander for its board of directors.

In Netezza, Zander, who announced two weeks ago that he was resigning after 15 years with Sun, will be having a say in a business whose flagship platform makes large, tera-scale queries in a fraction of the time of comparable applications.

"Netezza has a world-class management team, top-tier venture funding and a powerful value proposition for companies that want to get more business value out of the data they are collecting," said Zander. "I'm looking forward to helping Jit and his team capitalize on a growing need for real-time information and build a market-leading organization."

Business intelligence (BI) is a category of applications and technologies for gathering, storing, analyzing, and providing access to data to help enterprise users make better business decisions. Some BI applications include tdecision support systems, query and reporting, online analytical processing (OLAP), statistical analysis, forecasting, and data mining.

While not the sexiest sounding technology niche, research firms such as IDC argue that there is money to be made in BI. The firm said in a research note that sales for business intelligence tools (BIT) will increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27 percent, from $3.6 billion in 2000 to $11.9 billion in 2005.

"Beyond 2002, growth in this market segment will steadily climb as demand for tracking, analyzing, and disseminating enterprise information increases in parallel with growth in customer relationship and supply chain management applications," said Dan Vesset, senior analyst for IDC's Data Warehousing and Information Access program.

While Zander is best known for time spent working with the mercurial Scott McNealy at the Palo Alto, Calif. networking giant, he has also held posts at such major computing concerns as Data General and Apollo. Zander joins David Schantz, of Matrix Partners; Ted Dintersmith, of Charles River Ventures; and Ollie Curme, of Battery Ventures, as well as Netezza co-founders Jit Saxena and Foster Hinshaw, on the board.

While funding for startups in 2001 was nearly nonexistent, analysts and financial experts have indicated venture capital funding, like most aspects of the high-tech economy, could be in greater supply in 2002. Netezza said in March that it completed a $20 million financing round, led by Battery Ventures. The series B round included initial investors Matrix Partners and Charles River Ventures and brought the outfit's total funding to more than $28 million. The series A round, to the tune of $8 million, was banked in 2000.

Netezza Co-founder and CEO Jit Saxena explained why his firm would be a viable business option: "For decades, companies have been deploying generic servers, storage and databases to hold growing amounts of information and handle large volumes of transactions. This infrastructure wasn't designed for the timely analysis of terabytes of data."