Sramana Mitra: In that process, was there any other kind of segmentation? Were there any particular styles of CIOs or IT organizations that were resonating with you? Maybe a vertical or any kind and size of business?
Chuck Bloomquist: Absolutely. There were certain verticals that were more responsive than others. The first one that we found were the banking and finance. They were the early adopters of this type of technology. Rapidly, we saw the medical space start to pick this up as well. It transitioned into the insurance. Now, there are a lot of manufacturers whether it’s in the medical space or parts manufacturing. They are rapidly advancing into content analytics and the idea of protecting critical assets.
Sramana Mitra: How much were you able to gather in terms of these service contracts to get the ball rolling?
Chuck Bloomquist: I would say it took us a good seven years to get to the point where the operation was well-funded. I can’t say we were highly profitable, but we were cash flow positive of hunger and starvation. It really started to take off in about the 2008 to 2009 time frame.
Sramana Mitra: Until about 2009, you continued in that service contract mode?
Chuck Bloomquist: Yes.
Sramana Mitra: What revenue level were you operating at this point and how many people were on the team?
Chuck Bloomquist: It was a small operating team. In 2009, we were about 10. Revenues were a million at that point in time.
Sramana Mitra: What happened in 2009?
Chuck Bloomquist: We just started identifying a change in the trends. We started seeing organizations look at data loss prevention in a different light. Personally, I think it came down to the idea that there was a maturity in the product space with some very high-profile data breaches as well. We saw a lot of activity. I wouldn’t say we saw a huge uptake immediately. What we did see was more organizations talking to us and wanting to see what we had to offer around being able to protect these certain types of information.
Sramana Mitra: The market was becoming more aware of that particular issue of critical asset protection?
Chuck Bloomquist: That is correct.
Sramana Mitra: You were getting more proactive interest from the customers?
Chuck Bloomquist: Yes.
Sramana Mitra: How did you respond to that trend change?
Chuck Bloomquist: More contracts started coming in, which enabled us to expand the business, not only from a technical side, but also from a sales side so that we can reach into more and more markets. We were able to attend more conferences and start getting our name out there. The concept of the critical asset protection program started to formulate and gel right about the 2009 time frame. There was a cohesive message that organizations were hearing as well. Timing played a great role in this.
This is particularly relevant when you’re handling customer data. We started to see PCI organizations who were handling credit cards or they were healthcare organizations that were taking care of people’s healthcare information and their social security number. This became very important to them at this stage. It’s a natural evolution on the data protection side as well assisted with the expansion of the program.