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Concept Financing for a Fat Startup: Tomer Shiran, CEO of Dremio (Part 4)

Posted on Tuesday, Jan 15th 2019

Sramana Mitra: In the time that you’ve cracked the market for your early customer base, what has become the dominant use case of the product?

Tomer Shiran: It’s actually pretty diverse now. It’s very horizontal.

Sramana Mitra: So you’re selling to IT?

Tomer Shiran: Oftentimes, we’re selling to IT. We’re either selling to IT or selling to the data consumers. It’s typically a VP of Analytics or a Chief Data Officer. It depends on the organization. The types of customers are pretty diverse.

Sramana Mitra: When do you start selling?

Tomer Shiran: We started selling and asking for money in the summer of 2017.

Sramana Mitra: How much were you able to sell by the end of that year?

Tomer Shiran: In our first six months, probably a handful of customers. Each customer was spending in the six-figure range, so it was between $100,000 and $500,000 a year.

Sramana Mitra: You had six six-figure customers by the end of the year.

Tomer Shiran: I don’t know exactly.

Sramana Mitra: Somewhere thereabouts. The period we’re discussing, there’re no more financing rounds?

Tomer Shiran: At the end of 2017, we had a number of opportunities to raise a Series B. We’re very interested. We decided to move forward with one of those. We didn’t do much fundraising at all for our Series B. It was more of a pre-emptive raise. We were six to nine months from being at a point where we needed to raise. That made our life easier. We didn’t have to go up and down Sand Hill Road.

We really like Norwest as the investor. We met Rama around the end of 2017 a number of times. I really got to know him and felt very comfortable having him join the company and the Board. I think it was January of 2018 when we pulled the trigger on the Series B. We raised $25 million for our Series B. A few months later, we added another $5 million from Cisco.

Sramana Mitra: Now we’re in the first quarter of 2018 and you’ve raised another $30 million. You’re a very well-capitalized company. What’s happening on the business side? What’s the adoption trajectory?

Tomer Shiran: Now we’re moving from the phase of being an engineering organization to a company that has all the other functions. We hired a CMO. Kelly Stirman joined us from MongoDB. We brought on Collin Weitzman. He joined from Mesosphere to build the sales organization. We started hiring some sales people.

We went from having one sales representative that was responsible for the beta program to building out an enterprise sales team. We decided that we would build that out to about eight or nine reps in the US and put one person in Europe more as an experiment, which has been working out really well. Then we hired support. We had to build out the rest of the organization.

Sramana Mitra: The whole channel organization.

Tomer Shiran: Even direct sales.

Sramana Mitra: I don’t mean channel as in indirect sales. I mean building the whole sales process.

This segment is part 4 in the series : Concept Financing for a Fat Startup: Tomer Shiran, CEO of Dremio
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