Data Report of the Week: VMware Secures Spot as Tech’s Most Active Acquirer

VMware enabled a handful of firms to generate a remarkably fast venture-scale return with its recent purchase of networking software developer Nicira.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Nicira raised its first round of funding just two-and-a-half years ago. The company, which makes software and infrastructure to “virtualize” the transmission of packets of data, raised $41 million in venture funding, its $1.26 billion sale to VMware one of the biggest, and quickest, venture home runs of recent quarters.

But Nicira is not the only VC-backed startup that VMware has bought. Over the past three years, the industry leader in virtualization technology has scooped up more than a dozen VC-funded companies, according to Thomson Reuters (publisher of VCJ). Acquisition targets range from developers of office productive software—such as SlideRocket, which makes tools for creating slideshows—to cloud infrastructure and service providers—such as DyanmicOps, a developer of “cloud automation” technology.

One thing that is unusual about the Nicira deal, however, is that VMware actually said what it paid. For the vast majority of its prior purchases, there are no disclosed prices.

In the accompanying chart (click on the link under Tables on the right), we look at VMware’s acquisitions over the past three years, including target companies’ prior venture funding and backers.

Photo of Tod Nielsen, COO of VMware Inc, speaking during the Reuters Technology Summit in San Francisco May 19, 2010. Photo by Robert Galbraith.