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Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Jesse Lipson, Founder and CEO, ShareFile by Citrix (Part 3)

Posted on Saturday, Jun 9th 2012

Sramana Mitra: Who are the leaders in those six quadrants? If you look at computer file sharing, who is the leader, in your opinion?

Jesse Lipson: I think on the consumer side, the ad hoc file sharing , companies like YouSendIt have specialized in that area. On the consumer storage and backup solutions, Dropbox tends to be the most popular. I think collectively, those two dominate the consumer space.

SM: And the small business part?

JL: There are several players in the small business arena. We tend to be focused on certain areas of the small business arena ourselves. We don’t try to position ourselves as a pure storage player. It’s more of a combination of a little bit of storage, what we call curated content, and not the whole kitchen sink of your music files and everything, but more of the organized content that you want to share with colleagues, clients, vendors, and partners. We have a little bit of a storage aspect, but also, we’re primarily focused on sharing in the small business market. We’re one of the leaders when it comes to data sharing in the small business market. Other players are companies like Box.net and some of the offerings that started off in the consumer space bleed into the small-business space as well, like Dropbox and YouSendIt, also have business offerings. In that space, I would say those are the players.

The enterprise space is unclaimed in terms of the number one player. I think Citrix, our product, is positioned very well because I talked earlier about how there are some products that are a bit more mature, and then there are some recent companies like EMC and VMware that have enterprise credibility but are not even in the market yet with products. I think Citrix is unique because we’re the only player in the market that is a trusted public company and that has a mature product that’s been around for several years and has gone through a lot of user testing. I think that we’re poised to do well in the enterprise segment, particularly the data sharing area.

SM: Given that overview of the current landscape, if you go back to when you were negotiating your acquisition deal with Citrix, can you recount some of the negotiation? If you put yourself in Citrix’s shoes when they were looking at the landscape and trying to decide what company to acquire and what their strategy was going to be in file sharing, what was Citrix thinking when looking at this space, and why did Citrix home in on ShareFile?

JL: Citrix is a unique business as far as I’m concerned. One of the things that appealed to us is that Citrix is one of the only companies that has a strong enterprise presence. We do over $1.5 billion in revenue on the enterprise side. We’re also very strong on the small business, software-as-a-service side with GoToMeeting, GoToMyPC and now Podio. We always thought that ShareFile had the potential to succeed both in small business and the enterprise. Citrix is one of the few companies that could help us in both of those channels.

I think when Citrix was looking at the acquisition, the executive team saw data as being central to the strategy of Citrix over the long term because it supports almost all of the products within Citrix, from the high-end enterprise, virtualization, desktop virtualization, and app virtualization tools to the small business–focused tools like GoToMeeting and GoToMyPC. I think the executives wanted us to become a data sharing platform within Citrix for businesses as well as continue to pursue our standalone product.

SM: When they looked at the competitive landscape, was one of the criteria for the acquisition that your price was more interesting because you didn’t have VCs involved?

JL: I don’t know. One other thing I left out, which is important is from Citrix’s standpoint, and from ours, was the matching core values within the Citrix team and the ShareFile team. I think it was very clear as we met with Mark Templeton, the CEO, and all the other executives that we all had the same philosophy and the same core values. Citrix has three core values: humility, integrity, and respect. There was a clear cultural fit, and Citrix takes a long-term approach on their acquisitions.

Bernardo [de Albergaria] was with Expert City, which was the company that Citrix acquired about eight years ago that the GoToMeeting and GoToMyPC products. He’s still there in a leadership position today. So, I think Citrix takes a long-term approach on their acquisitions, and they felt we were a great long-term fit.

This segment is part 3 in the series : Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Jesse Lipson, Founder and CEO, ShareFile by Citrix
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