Key:value SSD controller Pliops gains $100 million funding

Pliops XDP
Pliops XDP

SSD performance-boosting startup Pliops has gained $100 million funding to continue developing its XDP specialized processor card, and confirmed some layoffs in sales and marketing as the price of growth.

The XDP is hardware and software that provides a key:value store interface and functionality to an NVMe SSD to speed up applications such as relational and NoSQL databases – think MySQL, MongoDB, and Ceph.

Uri Beitler, Pliops
Uri Beitler

Uri Beitler, Pliops’s founder and CEO, issued a statement saying: “The ability to monetize data faster and get much more while paying much less is the core priority of every organization, especially in times of market volatility. Our transformative product offers this exact unique capability, making it imminent that Pliops XDP will be the cornerstone of every modern datacenter.”

It’s that prospective “imminence” which must have incentivized the contributing VCs.

Beitler said: “With the trust of our existing customers and partners, and our commitment to align company resources with the current economic climate, this funding round will accelerate our market adoption and help move us closer to becoming the market leader.”

Aligning company resources means making staff redundant. Israel’s Calcalist media outlet reported that 12 Pliops sales and marketing employees had been let go and Pliops is focusing its business on the USA.

Uri Beitler, Pliops CEO, confirmed this, telling the outlet: “We are downsizing our sales and marketing department to continue and grow and to focus on the next generation of our product that will be released in 2023.”

Pliops XDP
Pliops XDP

The funding round was led by Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT) – with SK hynix, Lip-Bu Tan, chairman of Walden International, and State of Mind Ventures Momentum, plus previous investors. Pliops has to date raised a total of $215 million.

The company’s most recent round was for $65 million only last year, so it must have had a pressing need for new money if it has just taken in another $100 million. The VCs probably told it to control its costs better, which explains Beitler’s comment about “our commitment to align company resources with the current economic climate.”

The VCs and Pliops believe that by reliably accelerating performance in existing and new datacenters, the XDP enables customers to process, store, analyze, and move data faster and better. They get more from their growing data volumes and datacenter footprint, leading to reduced costs and energy consumption.

Cash contributor Jin Lim, head of Solution Lab (SOLAB) at SK hynix, said: “Pliops’s technology is well aligned with our storage, and we consider it an important tool and stepping stone toward next-generation storage systems that maximize the potential of data applications, including AI/ML and data analytics.”

Pliops says it’s looking at global cloud service providers, enterprises, and HPC customers. The XDP works with SmartNICs and DPUs, like Nvidia’s BlueField products, and is not in competition with them.

A next-generation XDP is being developed and should appear in 2023.