Pivot3 gives up ghost as Quantum buys its assets to go deeper into video surveillance

Hyperconverged and video surveillance systems startup Pivot3 has sold its assets to Quantum for just $8.9M in cash and stock after raising $274M in total funding — giving Quantum a solid stake in the video surveillance market.

Quantum supplies file and object lifecycle management hardware and software for the media and entertainment industry, featuring workflow integration with SSD, disk (file + object), tape and public cloud storage. It has an existing VS-HCI network video recorder product line. Pivot3 was started up in 2003 as a hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) vendor and built up a 500-strong customer business in video surveillance systems. It went through eight VC funding rounds and has now sold its business assets at fire sale prices.

Quantum CEO Jamie Lerner issued a statement: “Surveillance cameras are the biggest data generator on the planet, and Pivot3 has established [itself] as one of the leaders in this space by pioneering the use of hyperconverged software for surveillance recording.”

Pivot3 HCI appliance.

He added: “This acquisition represents another key step in Quantum’s transformation, solidifying the company as a serious player in the multi-billion-dollar video surveillance market, expanding our global customer base, sales channels, and technical expertise specific to this industry.”

Jamie Lerner was, in fact, Pivot3’s Chief Operating Officer from November 2016 to June 2018; he’s not unacquainted with its business.

Pivot3 had to make significant layoffs in March last year, due to the pandemic. Clearly business conditions have not eased from its point of view, and the firm has had to fold. It must have been a truly miserable year.

Quantum is getting a portfolio of video surveillance appliances, network video recorders (NVRs), and management applications, along with a scale-out hyperconverged software platform, which will all be offered under the Quantum VS-Series product portfolio. It is buying in intellectual property around distributed storage, data placement, erasure coding, and storage quality of service.

It now also gets Pivot3’s global customer base of over 500 new surveillance customers with deployments including airports, mass transit, casinos, education, and smart cities. Pivot3 partners will presumably become Quantum partners. 

Quantum will take on board some Pivot 3 employees in engineering, product and sales organisations with deep expertise in video surveillance systems. The others, we fear, will be laid off. The new employees joining Quantum will be under direction of the Strategic Markets Business Unit, led by Ross Fujii, General Manager. Sales will be led by Curt Wittich, Pivot3’s VP for worldwide sales.

Wittich exposed some of the thinking behind the acquisition in his supplied statement: “We believe it’s critical to manage the video surveillance data lifecycle, from initial capture through expiration, and adding Pivot3 to the Quantum portfolio expands our ability to address security projects of every size and scope.

“Surveillance traditionally utilises ‘one-size-fits-all’ products that address only primary video storage, but higher quality cameras and increasing retention requirements demand different solutions to support video at various lifecycle stages. These solutions range from entry-level VMS servers all the way to cloud or tape storage for multi-year, multi-petabyte retention. Quantum’s portfolio covers the entire lifecycle for optimal video placement, accessibility, and cost effectiveness.”

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, and the parties expect to close by 22 July, 2021.


Bill Stover.

It’s a sad end for Pivot3 but not a dead end, as its products and technology are being taken on board by growing Quantum. CEO Bill Stover has no doubt played his final cards as best he can but $8.9M – and not all of that in cash – is a poor, poor return for $274 million in invested VC capital and other funding. Stover took over from prior CEO Ron Nash in July 2019, when times started getting hard.

Founder and CTO Bill Galloway has just retired, the startup dream having not been realised. CMO Bruce Milne retired in June.

This basically leaves Scale Computing and Nutanix as the last of the original HCI startup band, along with StorMagic and its VSAN software. Nutanix is the hero of the bunch, having progressed to IPO. HPE bought Left Hand Networks and SimpliVity, and made a disaggregated HCI product using its acquired Nimble arrays.

Cisco bought Springpath to develop its HyperFlex product. VMware bought Datrium. Dell developed its own VxRAil line, using VMware’s VSAN, and thus didn’t need to buy a startup to get HCI technology.

IBM missed the boat. NetApp tried to get into the HCI market with its SolidFire Elements dHCI product but more or less gave up. Atlantis crashed out, as did Maxta.

That’s it. The HCI startup dream has matured into a handful of surviving players: Dell, VMware, HPE, and Nutanix lead the industry. Cisco is still in there and both Scale Computing and StorMagic continue, as does DataCore – which climbed aboard the train alongside its existing business.

Research house GigaOm says the HCI market has split into enterprise and SME/Edge sectors, and provides Radar screen-style research documents for both.