MokaFive (formerly moka5) is a US startup that launched in May 2006, targeting the consumer market with a wrapper for hosted virtualization platforms (VMware Player first, Parallels Workstation then) called LivePC.
The idea was to leverage hardware virtualization for mobile productivity by adding interesting features like virtual machines streaming, live updating and sharing through a content catalog.
The consumer market didn’t really embraced the concept and after two years the company decided to shift its focus to the corporate market with additional features around networking and security, like the ones that VMware ACE, Kidaro Workspaces and Sentillion vThere (both acquired by Microsoft) were offering since a while.
In the middle of this transformation the company lost two brand names (SkyBlue Technologies first, moka5 then), two CEOs (including the founder Monica Lam), one Vice President of Marketing, and one Vice President of Engineering.
In four years the company released just three major product milestones, each one with a different name: LivePC 0.x (the consumer-oriented, original product), Virtual Desktop Solution 1.0 (the first business-oriented version of LivePC), and Suite 2.0.
Last week the company announced its third round of funding, a whopping $21M investment led by NGEN Partners, Khosla Ventures and Highland Capital Partners.
Khosla led the first round with $3.26 million, while Highland led the second with $15M.
With almost $40M, MokaFive funding is the highest in the virtualization industry for a startup, excluding the VMware and Virtual Iron ones. Virtual Iron secured $65M in five rounds before being acquired by Oracle for an undisclosed sum.
Why NGEN and other venture capital firms decided to invest such high amount despite the less-than-reassuring history of the company is a mystery.
MokaFive holds a number of patents. Maybe one of those holds a groundbreaking innovation that the company deliver in the near future.