Sramana Mitra: That’s part of an entrepreneur’s life – lots of no’s.
Zvi Guterman: Yes. That was my first startup out of Israel. We did a lot of mistakes. One of them was staying in Israel. At least, that was my belief. We were far away from the market. That was one challenge. The second one was that we were not focused enough. Those were our two biggest mistakes. Looking back, we were not focused enough. We had early traction in Europe, USA, and Japan. I even did one business trip in India. As a small entity, even though we raised $20 million, it was really hard to move that way.
Sramana Mitra: You basically blew through all that money and you were not able to get enough customer traction?
Zvi Guterman: No. We were not able to grow the company fast enough. We eventually sold the company to a public security company in the States. It wasn’t a success.
Sramana Mitra: Did they do anything with the technology that you had developed or did they just shut it down?
Zvi Guterman: The technology still exists today. Most of my lessons there were around business.
Sramana Mitra: When did this happen?
Zvi Guterman: I left a little bit before the acquisition in 2006. Then, I started my current company Cloudshare.
Sramana Mitra: What was the name of the first company?
Zvi Guterman: Safend.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start the CloudShare story. Obviously, you had a lot of learnings about business and focus. What was the technology pieces of product pieces of CloudShare in 2006?
Zvi Guterman: We started in 2007. The vision form day one was to provide an advanced infrastructure environment in the cloud for scenarios such as IT training, dev, and test. We provide IT environment in the cloud for IT professionals in order to make it simple and easy for them to enjoy the power of the cloud without needing to get into all the details. Cloud is a wonderful revolution that really pushed us to utility computing. My vision for starting CloudShare is to bring value to IT professionals as the cloud was just in its infancy and this was a second-wave value add.
Sramana Mitra: Were there competitors in the market in 2007 when you came up with this?
Zvi Guterman: Not really. It was very early. The main competition we saw was from Amazon. Amazon was the leader in the cloud. They started with the cloud. They paved the way for us and others. They had their own lab. If you were looking at someone who was doing training, they were doing it in-house. In a way, VMWare’s IT labs was a competition. We still see a fair amount of competition from companies that are early in the adoption of the cloud.