Nasuni CEO: ‘We’re going to liberate you from the bottleneck around your files’

Company challenging EMC and NetApp with cloud-powered virtual appliances and services

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We are a startup. We’ve been around seven years. We don’t have everything. We don’t have the sink in the kitchen that they have but in general, we address 80% of the problem really, really well. They are saying there is no battery dual protection in that appliance and there is no Fibre Channel option on that thing and it’s all these secondary things. It depends on how much pain customers have around the new workloads. If you’re a customer that’s dying on scale or dying because you don’t have a DR plan around half a petabyte of data, you’re going to listen to us a lot more carefully than if you’re a customer that only has 20TB and a single site and really could do it with just about every traditional storage vendor that is out there quite happily.

Give us some sense of the success you’re having. How many customers? What kind of inroads are you making?

We’re doing great. I started the company ahead of its time and I’ve been trying to not do this throughout my career. I’ve been a colossal failure at this. I always start a company probably five years before its time. The benefit is we managed to develop a rock-solid file system and the times have changed. When I was talking to CIOs six years ago, the idea of using the cloud as your core for infrastructure was ludicrous.

There were all these concerns; security and performance and this and that. Now, in the last 18 months to two years, there isn’t a single CIO that doesn’t tell me: 'We have a cloud-first strategy'. As we look at infrastructure refresh, we are thinking how we can leverage the cloud first. That is a huge boon for us. Our client base has gone from companies that used to store 10 to 20TB with us to companies that are storing 600TB and a petabyte with us and multi-petabyte systems.

The top 500 enterprise accounts are buying Nasuni as opposed to the people that are the mid-market and low mid-market. We’re pretty much doubling year over year. Our entire business is predicated on the subscription part of the business and we did $5 million two years ago for the year. We did close to $10 million last year. We’ll do close to $20 million in what we call annual contract value of our customer base. It’s just steady. I can see every single quarter is twice what we did a year ago. {Ed. Note: A representative of Nasuni provided the following clarification on the above revenue numbers: ‘The numbers are estimates for revenue under contract/reoccurring revenue, not GAAP revenue, which is significantly larger, because GAAP would also include services and hardware sales.’}

In December you got a significant round of funding. How are you investing those dollars?

From a technology perspective this is revolutionary. From a go-to-market perspective this is traditional infrastructure sales, which means we invest a ton of money on two things. You have to have field sales and technical knowledge that can go to the accounts and conduct proofs of concept. Then you have to have incredible professional services and a support organization that comes behind that to make sure that things are running really well for clients. We’re investing in those areas and we’re always investing in engineering.

The first half of our year it’s going to be spent basically increasing field presence. This is the kind of model where all our customers, within the first year to year-and-a-half will double their contracts with Nasuni. Acquiring those customers early helps the company a ton in terms of growth and cash flow. We’re investing, essentially, in acquisition in the first half of the year and then we’re doubling up on engineering and support services in the second half of the year.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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