By Malia Spencer – Staff Reporter, Portland Business Journal
A Hillsboro startup founded by ex-Intel employees secured $2.5 million of a planned $4 million bridge round to help it prepare for wider customer adoption.
Megh Computing, which makes software to help speed workloads in data centers, was able to raise about half of its round before the widespread economic turmoil brought on by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Executives started informal talks with current investors last year and started raising the round in January. It closed on March 31 just as the world was changing dramatically, said
co-founder and CEO Prabhat K. (PK) Gupta.
The round was led by Vulcan Capital and included Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Fund, with Rogue Venture Partners, Portland Seed Fund and angel investors also participating.
Gupta expects the company will raise the remaining amount from strategic investors in the next two to three months. Despite the current uncertainty, he is optimistic.
“We aren’t being impacted by COVID in terms of fundraising,” he said. “This round went pretty smoothly. We had started to have interest (from strategic investors) and they are still interested.”
The funds will be used for product development and to get products to market. Gupta also plans to hire customer success positions soon so the company will be ready to work with customers who could be deploying the technology later this year.
“Now the world changed. Now we are focused on hunkering down,” Gupta said. “We are using the time to get the product really strengthened and focused and what customers are asking for.”
The company has 25 employees. Fifteen are in the Hillsboro headquarters and 10 are in Bangalore, India. Previously the company had raised a $3.4 million seed round in 2018. That round also came in two chunks, $1.5 million in July of that year and $1.75 million in December.
Megh’s newest product is a video analytics tool to help retailers with fraud prevention and inventory loss.
The company’s core technology helps boost performance of servers in data centers running real-time customer analytics.
Workloads such as real-time analytics require heavy computing capabilities. Public cloud providers such as Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services, as well as private data centers, have turned to field programmable gate array technology to boost performance.
However, FPGA technology can be difficult to program. Megh’s tools, which are library sets and APIs, make using FPGAs easier.
The company is focused on three main sectors: retail, manufacturing and logistics and smart surveillance. For all three the company aims to help customers in those industries use real-time analytics on top of video. The data can be used to track inventory through a plant or in a store or for physical security.
Even with consumers sheltering in place and staying out of physical stores, Gupta said there is still potential for his company’s product. As shopping changes, to accommodate social distancing, real-time analytics to watch traffic in stores will be needed.
He sees similar opportunity in the manufacturing and smart surveillance.
Gupta did not name names but said the company is in talks with large retailers. Megh has about five trials going on with customers and five more that are imminent, he said. He expects to have 10 trials by the end of the second quarter and full deployments going in the third and fourth quarter. The pipeline for sales remains strong, he said.