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Unicorn in the Making: Datrium CTO Sazzala Reddy (Part 3)

Posted on Saturday, Jan 4th 2020

Sramana Mitra: The primary problem that you’re addressing is disaster recovery.

Sazzala Reddy: That is the number one use case we found for our platform.

Sramana Mitra: How did you settle into this problem domain? What led to this being the chosen problem to go solve with your founding team of five?

Sazzala Reddy: We started off as a founding team of five with the idea that we want to change how data centers operate. How can we bring cloud-like characteristics to the data center model? That’s what we started off as our thesis.

We started the company in 2013. Cloud was not fully there yet. Amazon was still growing. It wasn’t full-blown like it is today. We started with a data center product and tried to provide DR and backup within the data centers themselves.

Slowly as we made progress, we felt that cloud was powerful. It offered us an opportunity to take our software, move it to the cloud, and make it even more simpler for customers.

Sramana Mitra: What did you launch with? Did you launch as a bootstrapped company? Did you fund the company? What were the circumstances under which you got the company off the ground?

Sazzala Reddy: We initially had a hypothesis on what we wanted to do. We know a lot of people in our industry. We got a few angel investors to invest in us just for their name. We got the founders of VMWare and the CEO of VMWare to invest in us.

We also got the CEO of ServiceNow to invest in us. We had about four or five angel round investments from these top names. That gave us a good branding to say that other people support us. Then we went to NEA to fund our Series A round.

Sramana Mitra: Who at NEA was working with you?

Sazzala Reddy: It was Scott Sandell and Forest Baskett. NEA also funded Data Domain, so they knew us quite well. Data Domain was a very successful company. EMC bought the company for $2.4 billion. We didn’t have that much problem in raising money. We could’ve gone to any VC to raise money. Our backgrounds made that possible for us.

Sramana Mitra: What years did you raise money from NEA?

Sazzala Reddy: December of 2012. 

Sramana Mitra: What happens next in the history of the company?

Sazzala Reddy: We started looking for a building and started looking for people to hire. We started looking for engineers to come join us. Because we were five people, we had our own set of connections from our various backgrounds.

We hired an initial set of 10 people to start building that basic foundation of the platform. Before starting the company, we did an analysis of the market. You don’t want to build something which people don’t want. We talked to a lot of people to see if they would buy. In some sense, we had a background for this. It helped us to easily put things together in our head.

This segment is part 3 in the series : Unicorn in the Making: Datrium CTO Sazzala Reddy
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