This is a textbook case study of how to bring complex technology to market.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?
Lior Gal: I’m an Israeli out of Tel Aviv and soon to be 47 years old. I grew up in Israel. I did army service for five years and then left the army to study computer science and math in university. I ended up working in the space.
For the first few years, I worked for big companies. I started as a technical guy at Amdocs. I was introduced to EMC technology. I fell in love with those big boxes that cost so much money. That’s where my infrastructure career started with EMC.
A few years later, I felt that the Israeli market is caging me. It’s caging my passion for creating and disrupting. I decided to move to the startup world and relocated to California in 2005. Since then, I’ve done three different startups. One was acquired by EMC, one by Dell, and one by F5.
Then I joined a mid-sized company called Data Direct Networks as the global VP of Sales for four years, building the web-scale practice. The same kind of passion got me to decide that it’s time to push this further – to start something that I will be able to make a bigger impact. That’s how Excelero was started.
Other than that, I’m a family guy. I have four kids. I’m trying to balance work and life as much as possible. I’m clearly a workaholic who thinks about business every second of the day.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start this story at the point where you are starting your first company.
Lior Gal: I always felt that my understanding of the market taught me to fish out what others didn’t. Working for others later on in my career, there was always someone that you had to convince. I’m not talking about the Board or investors; I’m talking about the CEO or head of sales.
In 2014, I turned 41. I felt that I had enough maturity. The market was ready for disruption. I did the same again. I tried to work with the founders of the previous company to convince them that there is more to be done. When they said that they didn’t think the same, that was the time to look at the mirror and ask if you’re willing to risk it all and to dare.
It was a huge jump from very high compensation into risking it all and committing to something. I decided that it’s that time for me.
Sramana Mitra: What was the concept that you were going to put your energy behind?
Lior Gal: It was clear back then that the storage market is about to die. It was about to be disrupted. Everything is moving to the cloud. With that, everything becomes scaled out and distributed. Remember my story earlier about the EMC boxes that can connect to tens of servers, that concept broke down. I saw that by selling into customers in my previous job. I felt that there is an opportunity to disrupt the market with technology that will be the next generation of what storage needs to be. Storage is dead. You still need to be able to connect compute to data everywhere. That was what I felt we can create.