Sramana Mitra: How did these new categories of customers find you?
Karen Gondoly: We have a strong presence on Google and we also get a lot of word-of-mouth recommendations because our customers enjoy working with us. We are a customer-focused organization.
At the beginning of the pandemic, we essentially dropped our roadmap and said, “We are not going to do the task that we thought we were going to do this year because what we need to do is make these people productive and make them successful.” Because we have this collaborative approach to our development cycle, our customers really appreciate us and in turn, they share that story with people they know.
Sramana Mitra: You guys have been around for a while.
Karen Gondoly: Yes, since 2002.
Sramana Mitra: How big is the company?
Karen Gondoly: We are a private company, so I am not going to share the total numbers. We are not big. We are not a VMware-sized company. We are a modestly-sized company.
Sramana Mitra: Are you bootstrapped or are you venture funded?
Karen Gondoly: We were venture-funded originally. I was hired in 2008. That was right when we took the first round of funding. I was hired as the product manager at that time. We took another round of funding but neither of these wasn’t particularly large rounds. Recently, the company has purchased itself back from some of the VCs. We are now completely employee-owned.
Sramana Mitra: As you look around, what are open problems or white spaces from where you sit?
Karen Gondoly: One of the things that we try to do is plug the white spaces a lot ourselves. Some of that is the VPN-less Leostream Gateway that I mentioned along with support for different display protocols and hosting platforms that the other vendors cannot satisfy. Outside of that, it is the white spaces that I see when working with the Leostream environment that I scratch my head about.
We get a lot of questions from people asking, “What is the best client device for a user? Can you recommend a client device?” That is a tough question for us to answer because we do support so many display protocols. Different clients support different protocols. Some clients cannot be modified and some can. We started talking with some of these vendors and what we would love to see is someone who could build a client device that is as agnostic to the display protocol as Leostream is. And it could be great if that could be done in firmware.
One of the things that we hear from people is that security is key. When you are talking about a client device – the piece of hardware that you are going to send home with your users – you want that to be as locked down as possible. Many people are looking at Zero Clients and they want to use those but they tend to be locked into a single display protocol. What would be great is if you could have a Zero Clients that could somehow be made agnostic so that the people could use it for various use cases and scenarios.
Sramana Mitra: That is very precise. That is an excellent answer. Nothing short of what I would expect from a fellow MIT.
Karen Gondoly: Thanks. I noticed that you are from MIT as well.
Sramana Mitra: Not only that, I think we were at MIT around the same time as well. I saw your LinkedIn and it shows that you were there until 1995. I was a grad student from 1993 to 1995. I went off to start a new company. I started a new company while I was at MIT and then I went off to do that full time.
Karen Gondoly: Yes, 1993 to 1995 was when I was there for my Masters.
Sramana Mitra: Nice to meet you. Thank you for your time.
This segment is part 2 in the series : Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Karen Gondoly, CEO of Leostream