Compute this: NGD computational storage startup loses all three founders in one go

NGD has run into hard times, with founders leaving and a source mentioning a fire sale as a possibility.

NGD builds the Newport line of NVMe flash storage drives, with up to 64TB of capacity, using on-board ASICs and Arm cores to process data stored in the drive and, for example, compress it or video transcode it. This takes a load off the host system processor, enabling it to devote more clock cycles to running application code – the standard. computational storage benefit. 

Newport drive.

The firm was started up in 2013 by CEO Nader Salessi, CTO Vladimir Alves and EVP Richard Mataya. It has taken in $45 million in total funding, with the last round, a C-round in 2020, raising $20 million. The round investors were led by MIG Capital with participation from the strategic investment fund of Western Digital and existing investors, including Orange Digital Ventures, Partech, BGV and Plug-N-Play. 

Richard Merage, CEO of MIG Capital, joined the NGD board. Dan Flynn, president of Western Digital Capital, became a board observer. The board also includes Reza Malekzadeh according to LinkedIn.

At some point in the first quarter of 2022, and in connection with possible Series D fundraising, the board brought in a new CEO. The CEO transition was not made public and Salessi was moved to the COO role. 

Nader Salessi

Salessi, Alves and Mataya all left in March this year. Salessi told us he is now a partner at NS Consulting, based in Laguna Niguel in southern California. His own company, basically. He wouldn’t comment on the circumstances of his departure. Alves joined Solidigm as its director, pathfinding and platform architecture, and Mataya is now senior director of systems engineering at MaxLinear, which makes the Panther DPU accelerator.

Scott Shadley, NGD’s VP for marketing, left in July to join Solidigm as a strategic planner. He wouldn’t comment either but did mention Solidigm had an interest in computational storage as a direction of possible development.

The story we are hearing is that the firm ran into trouble and the board thought it could deal with the situation better than the founders. One source mentioned a fire sale was considered as an option for the company. NGD’s website has no leadership webpage. No press releases issued since the three founders left have a quote from any NSD executive. We understand there have been legal issues as part of the overall transitions, and have approached the firm to find out more. For now, in that there is no publicly acknowledged CEO, NGD appears to be rudderless.