Sramana Mitra: How did you meet Yaniv?
Lior Gal: Through one of the angel investors. He was a Chairman at one of the startups that I worked for and knew the three other technical co-founders from another company. When he met them, he reached out to me and introduced me. He did not set up expectations.
We met at a coffee shop. I had to fly back to Tel Aviv for the meeting. I’d met a lot of technical people before. When you are talking to people who are unique, you can feel how their brain works. You feel it when you see a solution that is so disruptive. I gave my recommendations.
Then Yaniv made a move which I didn’t expect. He reached out and said, “We should meet again. If you like our vision, become a part of our vision.”
Sramana Mitra: From a business direction point of view, when you saw this technology, what was your hypothesis? What direction did you think you were going to be able to take this from a go-to-market point of view?
Lior Gal: For the first few years in a company, the lead business guy needs to put the right direction. You can’t just hire salespeople and expect them to sell something that you’re trying to invent. The process was simple. We looked at the scale of what we were building and we said, “Where do we want to end?”
We said, “We want to end at a place where our software can be sold as a service on the public clouds which will eventually become the future for everyone. People will use them at any scale.”
How do you get there? What are the baby steps to get there? A baby step implies designing it to be able to get there one day. Then you need to validate it so you can build the trust of the public cloud and customers. We put down a list of 20 high-valued web and cloud customers. Most are in the Bay Area with tens of thousands of servers.
We worked with them as design partners with the goal of getting to the end of the line where they become our first customers. That was the early days of the design phase. When the product became more robust, we started touching innovative enterprises. Think of names like GE, Nasa, PayPal, Technicolor. These are guys that everybody knows. They had the same problem on a smaller scale. We started working with enterprises that are innovative.
We started winning accounts and growing our business by at least 50% quarter by quarter. That was the phase of 2017 all the way to 2019 where we already have almost a handful of customers. These are the ones with the scale of one hundred thousand server infrastructures. None are public yet. Hopefully, that will change soon. Now we are on the path of making it stand out on the public cloud.