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Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Matthew J. Schitz, CEO of Symform (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Mar 19th 2012

Cloud storage is a cost-effective way for businesses to secure data or quickly recover  them when they’ve been lost. And there are plenty of cloud storage companies out there serving businesses of all sizes in every possible industry. Though one of many, Symform offers its clients something a little different, as my talk with CEO Matthew J. Schitz will show.

Sramana Mitra: Hi, Matt. Would you give us a bit of context about Symform and your background?

Matthew J. Schitz: I have been in the software technology and software-as-a-service space for the past 20 years as a senior executive, CEO, and president. They’ve all been startups that have grown to a level of success to qualify – for example, each company has been an Inc. 500 company over the past few years. What I’ve been doing is coming in for companies that are at the stage where they’ve proven the technology, and now they want to scale the business. I’ve worked very closely with the founders who are, in these cases, technologists and built the company, financed the company, recruited a senior management team, focused on channels, sales and eventually, a liquidity event of some kind, either IPO or acquisition. My companies have done both.

SM: In terms of segments, what have you been working on? What kinds of businesses were these?

MJS: I’m best known for having been CEO of two successful cloud computing companies. The first one was a company called Courtlink, which is now a full operating division of LexisNexis, the largest legal publisher in the U.S. We were the first company in the world to do electronic filing of legal documents directly into the legal system. Instead of a lawyer doing a brief on paper and having a courier run it down to the courthouse, we had a cloud computing application where lawyers could go online, create those documents, file them with a judge or courthouse directly, get updates of the cases, and so on. Litigation in the U.S. is a multibillion dollar business. The company became a very big company. Now, it’s a large operating division of LexisNexis, as I mentioned.

The second cloud computing company that was the CEO for is a company called DocuSign. They’re the world’s leader in electronic signatures. Instead of sending someone an NDA on paper, via fax or as an attachment, which had to be printed out, and then finding a way to return it to the sender, DocuSign, a cloud computing service, offered fully secured electronic signing with full workflow capabilities. I came into both of those companies at a similar stage to Symform, the company I’m with today, and took them through a growth cycle. I think when Courtlink merged with Lexis, it had 300 employees. DocuSign is up to about 300 employees and is a strong candidate for an IPO in the next few months.

That takes me to today. I joined Symform in 2011.

SM: And what does Symform do?

MJS: We’re revolutionizing the cloud storage and backup market. As everyone knows, electronically stored data is exploding. In fact, I read all the research. The forecasts are a 44 times increase in stored data from 2009 to 2020. That makes it the fastest-growing segment in IT. We’re generating massive amounts of data we need to store electronically. Cloud storage companies today do it all the same way. They take your data, and they back it up to a centralized data center. We’ve developed a brand new technology, a revolutionary technology where we take the data and store it on a peer-to-peer network across the globe. We have users in 46 countries. To join our network, you contribute some local disk space that you have at your site, and in exchange, we give you cloud off-site storage and backup across the network. So, you contribute some space. We take the data; we encrypt it for security purposes; we shred it; and then we geo-disperse it across other users’ computers. We have formed the world’s largest virtual data center across the globe. Our plans are to scale this even further and make Symform the revolutionary way you store data in the cloud.

We had ESG – which is the Gartner of storage – study our distributed network, and their conclusion was that it’s actually safer. Again, a few things, we encrypt the data before it ever leaves your site, which is unique. We shred it, and then we geodisburse it in 96 unique locations.


This segment is part 1 in the series : Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Matthew J. Schitz, CEO of Symform
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