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Unicorn in the Making: Datrium CTO Sazzala Reddy (Part 1)

Posted on Thursday, Jan 2nd 2020

Datrium is executing very well in the cloud-based disaster recovery space. Read on for the company’s journey so far.

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?

Sazzala Reddy: I was born in India near Hyderabad. My father is a climate scientist. My mom was a teacher. When I was very young, my father decided to do a PhD in Australia, so we moved there. I went to school there for a couple of years. Then we decided to go to Brazil and live there for a couple of years.

Sramana Mitra: Why Brazil?

Sazzala Reddy: After my father finished his PhD, he got a job in the UN as a scientist. My father was in demand because he had a particular unique skill in figuring out how the climate changes for a particular region. It’s for helping governments decide whether they should be investing in irrigation or not. We had a choice between Africa and Brazil. We thought Brazil was cooler so we went to Brazil. 

Sramana Mitra: How old were you when you moved to Brazil?

Sazzala Reddy: I was about 10. After two years, we decided to move to Africa. We decided to go to Mozambique because they spoke Portuguese there.

At that point, I felt that I was missing out on my education. I felt like all this travelling is messing up my education. I decided that I was going to bail out and go back to India and live in a dorm to get my higher education. My family stayed back in Mozambique. After a couple of years, they moved to Ethiopia.

At that point, my sister moved to India to get more formal education. Finally, my mom came back and then my dad also came back. I went to college in India and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. I then decided to come to the US.

Since I was a kid, I wanted to do physics, especially nuclear physics. I applied to a bunch of universities in US. I came to Michigan – Ann Arbor. I did two Masters in Nuclear Engineering and Computer Science. My first job was in an AT&T lab in New Jersey.

Sramana Mitra: What year was that when you went to AT&T?

Sazzala Reddy: 1997. I was in AT&T for about three years. There were a lot of smart people there who invented a lot of things. It was a big company. I was not really enjoying the slow progress.

At that point, Silicon Valley was hot. Somebody reached out to me from Silicon Valley. He was Michael Stonebraker, a professor from Berkeley. He started a startup here. In 2000, I moved here to join the startup company.

Sramana Mitra: What company did you join?

Sazzala Reddy: It was called Cohera. It was a distributed database company.

Sramana Mitra: What year was Cohera?

Sazzala Reddy: 2000.

Sramana Mitra: Just as the market was crashing.

Sazzala Reddy: I came in March; the market crashed in April. It was an interesting time.

This segment is part 1 in the series : Unicorn in the Making: Datrium CTO Sazzala Reddy
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