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LeftHand Networks funded for $20 million

The Associated Press

BOULDER — LeftHand Networks announced recently it has received $20 million in its latest round of funding, double what executives had expected to raise.

The maker of data storage devices has raised a total of $39 million in two funding rounds that both brought in more than expected.

The money will let the company, which makes Internet Protocol-based storage area networks, achieve profitability in 2004 without more fund-raising, chief executive officer Bill Chambers said.

David Bangs, vice president of sales and marketing, said the firm is gaining a new customer every week.

LeftHand’s customers include Lockheed Martin, Array BioPharma and Fresno Pacific University.

The Sprout Group, the venture arm of Credit Suisse First Boston, led the latest round of funding with a $13 million investment.

All of LeftHand’s existing investors, including Garage Technology Ventures, Boulder Ventures and Sequel Venture Partners, also contributed.

Guy Kawasaki, founder of Garage Technology Ventures, said his firm is now focusing on small seed funding rounds for early stage companies. The firm’s first mission was to pull a lot of investors to go in together on a large early round.

“That has gotten too hard,” Kawasaki said. “The exception is LeftHand Networks. That has done very well.”

Kawasaki said companies that can prove their hardiness during the economic downturn will become successful.

“Very good companies are born in very bad times,” Kawasaki said.