VCs Still Gather for Clouds, as Cirtas Raises $22.5M Series B

VCs and cloud storage companies are picking up in 2011 where they left off in 2010.

Today, San Jose, Calif.-based Cirtas Systems, a provider of cloud storage hardware, announced it has raised a $22.5 million Series B round that was co-led by Shasta Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners and including previous investors New Enterprise Associates, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Amazon.

The funding announcement–which coincides with Gary Messiana, an EIR at Bessemer being named CEO of the company–comes just four months after the startup emerged from stealth mode with a $10 million Series A round.

“The cloud opportunity is huge and cloud spending, as part of the overall IT budget, is expected to continue to grow worldwide,” says Ravi Mohan, managing director at Shasta and new board member of Cirtas.

Mohan says that as the firm has seen cloud computing emerge and more adoption taking place, Shasta has stepped up its investment in the sector, including deals in Lucid, a cloud business intelligence provider; Watchdox, a provider of mobile cloud security; Zuora, which provides cloud-based billing; and Makara, a cloud-based platform that was acquired by Red Hat.

“We’re going to continue to go aggressively after the cloud,” Mohan says.

He’s not the only one. In 2010, about 70 cloud-related U.S.-based companies raised some $500 million from VCs, according to Thomson Reuters (publisher of peHUB.com), compared to about 50 companies with cloud in its description raising $230 million the year before.

Messiana says the company, which has just under 50 employees, will use the funding to boost its sales staff, engineering team and add to its customer service operations.