Networking chip maker Aquantia has raised another $37 million in funding thanks to the continued backing of Cisco Systems and new investors like chip manufacturer Globalfoundries.

Officials with the 10-year-old company announced the new round of funding Oct. 5, noting that Aquantiawhich has more than 160 employeeshas now raised a total of $199 million from such tech vendors as Cisco, Intel, Xilinx and Globalfoundries. A number of venture capital firms, such as Walden Riverwood and Venture Tech Alliance, also are investing the company.

The fundraising comes at a time when many venture capital groups are deciding not to put money into new semiconductor companies, given the high startup and operation costs associated with the industry.

The semiconductor industry is experiencing some of the biggest technology inflections in history, Lip-Bu Tan, CEO of Cadence Design Systems and founder and chairman ofWalden Riverwood, said in a statement. Traditional venture capitalists have mostly abandoned investing in emerging semiconductor companies primarily because the sector has become so capital intensive.

Because of that, private semiconductor companies, with a strong business model, outstanding execution, unparalleled strategic backing and the ability to displace large incumbents, present a unique opportunity for investors, he said.

Cisco has been investing in Aquantia from the outset, not only helping the startup with money but also enabling the company to work with Cisco products for pilot tests and use. As an example, Cisco and Aquantia for several years have worked together to drive the use of 2.5 Gigabit and 5Gb technology in enterprise networks, according to officials with the companies.

By developing low-power, low-cost, and high-performance integrated circuits, Aquantia has the potential to enable exponentially faster wired and wireless networks for their customers, Rob Salvagno, vice president of corporate development at Cisco and head of Cisco Investments, said in a statement.



BERLIN - All investments at Volkswagen will be placed under review, the carmakers top labour representative said on Tuesday, as the embattled German group grapples with the fallout of its diesel emissions scandal.

We will need to call into question with great resolve everything that is not economical, Bernd Osterloh, head of VWs works council told more than 20,000 workers at a staff gathering in Wolfsburg, Germany.

The scandal is not yet having consequences for jobs at VW, which employs 60,000 people at its main factory, but will impact earnings at the core autos division as well as bonus payments to workers, Osterloh said. 

- Reuters



Canadas largest software company is overhauling its partner program and ramping up investment in its channel.

OpenText, a major player in enterprise information management technology, will soon add a referral service, implement a loyalty program and match partners marketing spends, said Adam Howatson, the companys chief marketing officer.

Were at a point where we see the opportunity to invest further in our partners and where we can make a meaningful impact in doing that, Howatson told CRN. Were looking to modernize. This is sort of a new configuration for us to make the meaningful and impactful investments in these programs to elevate partners.

[Related: Box, Carahsoft To Pay $5 Million For Patent Infringement]

The Canadian vendor specializes in organizing unstructured content throughout the enterprise: pretty much everything thats not stored in an enterprise resource planning system, from documents, to contracts, to sales enablement assets, to commercial interactions such as fax and SMS messages to the digital front end via Web properties and online stores.

Such unstructured content accounts for some 90 percent of data within an enterprise -- the category is so broad that OpenTexts software facilitates more than $6.5 trillion in commerce a year across 18 billion transactions.

OpenText has more than 1,000 go-to-market partners of all stripes, from global IT consultants like Accenture and Deloitte to regional managed services providers.

Now were looking to redefine that program a little bit and make additional investments, Howatson told CRN. Were investing more than we ever have in our partners to ensure our reach and our footprint [are] global.

The partner program revamp responds to the evolving nature of the channel.

We want to enable those nimbler, modern startups addressing the newest technologies, Howatson said, to give them access to us in a meaningful way.

The first change is the introduction of a partner referral program, allowing solution providers that arent hitting large revenue thresholds or sales targets to work with OpenText and eventually mature the relationship.



Dive Brief:
  • Black Hills Corp. has asked regulators in five states to allow its utility subsidiaries to make ratepayer-financed investments in natural gas resources, including reserves and drilling operations,Argus reports.
  • Investments in gas production are designed to give stable prices over the long term,which the company says would be lower than current market prices.
  • Black Hills proposal mirrors plans put forth by a growing number of utilities looking to shore up gas supply by investing in pipelines or reserves, but the impact on customers remains unclear.
Dive Insight:

South Dakota-based utilityBlack Hills has joined a growing list of utilities such as Florida Power amp; Light,Duke Energy, Entergy and Dominion looking to maintain low gas prices by investing in reserves rather than turning to the spot market. The company has asked regulators inIowa, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming for authority to purchase reserves or drill wells, with customers paying for the investments.

Our goal is to provide cost-effective energy for our customers, while mitigating the volatility of natural gas prices, said Black Hillspresident and COO of utilitiesLinn Evans in a statement.The Cost of Service Gas Program will be a long-term mechanism to support lower and more stable natural gas prices for our customers by leveraging our natural gas exploration and production expertise.

Evans also said the program would provide Black Hillsinvestors with new earnings growth opportunities.If approved, the company will acquire gas reserves and/or drill wells to produce natural gas for the program, which it expects will cost less than acquiring gas on the open market.

As gas prices have remained low, utilities have looked to gas investments in order to maintain a long-term and inexpensive supply. But the jury is still out on how those investments will hold up, as the price ofnatural gas has shown little sign of increasing.

Florida Power amp; Light was among the first states to convince regulators to approve the investments, and last year got authorization to pursue gas fields in Oklahoma. But so far, that plan has been losing money for the utility. In the first half of the year, the utility told theFlorida Public Service Commission, it lost almost $6 million and anticipated savings across the next decade had been cut about inhalf.

Recommended Reading

Argus: Black Hills seeks OK to invest in gas reserves



Maybe it takes a swooning stock market to focus the mind on alternative assets, a category that most people ignored over the past few years as share prices soared to new highs. But following the recent stock market plunge, alternatives, which have little to no correlation with the stock and bond markets, are looking more appealing.

See Also: Best Funds for a Bear Market

Consider what occurred during the summer slump. Standard Poor's 500-stock index plunged 11% between August 10 and August 25. Over the same period, managed futures mutual funds, which use futures contracts to track trends in various markets, nearly broke even, on average. And market-neutral mutual funds--which seek to reduce risk by offsetting stock holdings with roughly equal positions in stocks that are sold short (a bet on falling prices)--lost just 1.2%, on average.

How much of your portfolio should you devote to alternatives? Chris Geczy, an adjunct professor of finance at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, suggests at least 10% of your assets, which should provide some cushion when the stock market tanks. With alternatives, "you may not make as much during a bull market in stocks, but you won't see the same declines, either," he says.