Cloud storage startup Egnyte nets $16M to boost brand

Google Ventures partner Karim Faris

Google Ventures partner Karim Faris

Egnyte netted $16 million in Series C funding to help raise its profile globally and to position itself as a leading hybrid cloud storage provider. The new cash brings its total funding to $32 million. Google Ventures, a new backer, led the round which also included funding from existing investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Polaris Ventures. Google Ventures partner Karim Faris will join Egnyte’s board.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company is one of many cloud storage players, including Box, LogMeIn, OwnCloud,  trying to crack the enterprise market for cloud storage.

CEO Vineet Jain said he will use the money to make Egnyte more of a household — er boardroom — name. “There’s been a huge amount of marketing dollars spent by our friends at Box. The number one problem I need to address is that our awareness is still low compared to Box,” Jain told me in an interview.

The company already fields a data center in Amsterdam and will now open a sales and marketing office in Europe as well — either in Amsterdam, Brussels or London, he said.

Jain likes to say that while most of Box’s claimed 11 million users aren’t paying customers, Egnyte’s installed base pays its way.  Box — has a huge funding advantage, and in April Egnyte launched a “Box Buster” promotion to woo paying Box customers.

Jain said the race is still on to see what company will become the “Dropbox of the enterprise.”

“I love to see these other guys fight it out on the consumer side — Apple iCloud, Google Drive and others. They’re everywhere. I’d say Dropbox [itself] is a great lead engine for us because IT hates it. It makes a mockery of their firewall,” Jain said.

If Jain can use Egnyte’s new money to get a fraction of the god-knows-how-many Dropbox customers who use that service in the office over to Egnyte, he would be well served.

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