Sramana Mitra: We’re now in 2006?
Justin Moore: Yes.
Sramana Mitra: What did you do next?
Justin Moore: We started thinking conceptually about Ancient in 2006 and started investing seriously in 2007 and all of 2008. I took a bit of time quite frankly. I moved from the Peninsula up to San Francisco. I was a city boy. Then I was in the Peninsula, just working all the time. I moved to the city and got back to things I was interested in.
I had stopped doing things I was passionate about or interested in for years. I decided to take some time to rebound my life and refocus on what mattered to me and my priorities instead of chasing money and buying a fancy car. I went back to my family in Europe and just tried to rebalance my life. I spent a good six to nine months just getting back to balance and regrounding.
Then I started exploring other opportunities. One that stuck with me was the fact that when we were in the middle of a major deal, my laptop had crashed. The hard drive got corrupted and I lost all of my data. When I went to recover my backups, they failed. I wasn’t able to recover a lot of my data and we had to send it to a driver repair specialist and, at that time, spent $3,000 to $5,000 to get the data back. I still didn’t get the data back. This was three days before a major presentation.
I had to stay up three nights straight to reconstruct models and rebuild the new presentation. It was extremely stressful. That stuck with me. I talked to other small businesses and heard that data loss and server failures were a big challenge. That, ultimately, led me to Axcient, which is about finding a way to make it simple, easy, and reliable for small to medium-sized businesses to protect their data and have confidence that they can recover it when needed.
We built Axcient and pioneered, what is now being called, disaster recovery as a service. We came up with the service where you could combine backup and disaster recovery into a service platform and store it all on the cloud and thereby, making it affordable for small to medium-sized businesses to protect what is becoming their most critical assets. As we know today, it is the lifeblood of the business.
Sramana Mitra: In the timeframe that you’re describing, there were tons of those kinds of businesses starting up. What was your experience going into the market that lots of people were also going into?
Justin Moore: In the first couple of years, we saw almost no players in the category. We saw a lot of online backup companies. This is our differentiation. We were saying to small to medium-sized businesses, “We are going to take a digital copy of your servers whether they’re physical or virtual and store them in the cloud. If something happens to your primary server, we’re going to allow you to actually run that server in our cloud within a matter of minutes.”
That was something that was very different. There were a lot of companies who were getting into the online backup space where they back up data and if the server fails, they can restore your data. The problem with that was that there was a huge time gap between an event happening and when someone was actually running.
Two examples that come to mind as we were starting the company was a law firm that we were working. They had an exchange server failure. They had it all backed up, but they had to wait for new hardware to arrive. It took a day for a new hardware to arrive and another day to set up that hardware and restore all the data. For two days, this law firm had no emails. It created massive client issues and reputation damage. It was a massive problem.
Another example was a dentist that I went to. Their patient management and record system failed. They then had to cancel all of their appointments as people came in because they didn’t even know who had appointments. That was something that wasn’t being addressed at all when we started the company.