After a year’s sabbatical – where I enjoyed among other things, being the school caravan driver for my kids and their friends -being more involved in home projects than my family would like!😃 – all while investing in a few startups and serving on two Boards – I have finally decided it’s time to get back in the saddle of an operating role.
Today, I was named CEO and President of Cohesity. Cohesity is a leading data management and data security company in the Silicon Valley. With over 3000 customers, they have been doing very well in their market. IDC ranked them the fastest growing company, among the largest vendors in their category, in 2021; Gartner ranked them a Leader in their Magic Quadrant; GigaOM ranked them the best performer of a crowded space of vendors in their latest report.
To top it all, this is a company whose value proposition, I can easily explain to my mom and kids!😃 – “We help companies and governments, protect their data, back it up, archive, search/analyze historical data, and of course, secure it from ransomware attacks.”
I’m super excited about the journey ahead, and want to share a few key reasons why:
It always starts with the people. When the Cohesity Board and Mohit Aron first reached out to me earlier this year, while I knew several of the Board members, I didn’t know Mohit well. I spent the last few months getting to know Mohit and I was blown away by his smarts, his passion, and his integrity. He was a key architect of the Google File System, was the Founding CTO of Nutanix, and as such, his technical chops are respected in the industry for building the best tech in whatever he touches, bar none. The founding engineers at Cohesity are some of the best talents from Google and other companies. The exec team is not just highly talented, but very cohesive! The Board is a top-notch Silicon Valley board, with deep experience in guiding several great companies to speed and scale. The Cohesian team has a strong engineering-centric and customer-success reputation – I’m super excited to get to know and work with all of them!
Being a product guy at heart, this was the next important factor. During my VMware days, Cohesity always stood out to me as having the best technology of the next-gen data protection players that we partnered with. I wanted to dig deeper, so I called a few customers. A Fortune 50 CIO and Cohesity customer, told me something that blew me away. He said there were 2-3 companies he had seen over the last two decades that had the most innovative tech – VMware 20 years ago, AWS 10 years ago, and more recently, Cohesity! That is special company to keep. He went on to explain that the speed and scale of Cohesity’s platform, combined with the simplicity of its usage, was disrupting all the legacy players in their space. Furthermore, with the increasing rise of ransomware, the cyber security opportunities were not lost on me. I saw a platform, that truly aligns with a phrase I like: Enterprise Secure, yet Consumer Simple. Bringing Speed and Scale in one platform for data management and data security is a big opportunity – across backup, storage, archival, disaster recovery, test/dev, analytics/search, security against ransomware, and much more. It would collapse a vast potpourri of point vendors, into a holistic, well-architected and timeless platform.
Data is the new oil of the economy. With over 3000 customers, I was amazed by the number of Fortune 500 and Global 2000 brands that had chosen Cohesity over alternatives, to protect the most mission critical asset in their business – their data. Four of the top 10 Fortune 500 companies, 5 of the top 10 U.S. banks, and 2 of the top 5 global pharma organizations, as well as hundreds of federal/local organizations have chosen Cohesity as their strategic platform. I’ve often told my GTM teams over the years – the world is made up of 5000 large companies and 5 million small companies (the surface area of opportunity we were trained to attack at SAP and VMware, where our products became ubiquitous). As such, I see no reason why every company, government and organization – small and big – shouldn’t trust Cohesity with protecting their data! Everyone has data that needs to be backed-up, protected from ransomware, archived, and analyzed for risk and insights. Legacy architectures were not optimized for an environment where data is today – in any cloud, any app, any device.
I was excited to learn that beyond the good VCs that Cohesity has as investors (Sequoia, Wing, Softbank and others), they also have key corporate investors – Amazon AWS, Cisco and HPE. These are all natural strategic partners of Cohesity already, along with other hyperscaler cloud and server/storage hardware players. The top SIs and VARs are starting to make key bets with Cohesity. I look forward to turbo-charging the relationships I’ve cultivated over the years with these partners. I’m confident, that between all these partners, we will build a strong ecosystem, that is a force multiplier with significant revenue, and joint customer success opportunities for all. I’ve already got a few game-changing ideas in mind for partners!
Cohesity sits at the intersection of three of the highest priority business issues today: Security, Cloud and Data Management – and many of these are Boardroom topics. This is at least a $25B Total Available Market (TAM). where disruptive innovation allows the modern architectures to take share from legacy players – just the same way that Salesforce did to Siebel, Workday did to Peoplesoft, CrowdStrike did to Symantec, and so on. Cohesity is built for a multi-cloud era, with a superior modern platform that includes a self-managed and SaaS approach – this creates an opportunity for the next decade plus. If we continue to execute, Cohesity is poised to become a major powerhouse in the industry.
CALL TO ACTION
My call to action is simple:
- Customers: If you are a customer that I’ve been honored to work with over my 20+ years at SAP, VMware and even way back at VERITAS, please reach out to me. I will always have a customer-first approach to my leadership. If you are an existing customer, I look forward to listening to your needs, especially if we have room to improve. If you are not yet a Cohesity customer, we will work hard to earn your confidence.
- Partners: If you are a partner in the ecosystem – be it a hyperscaler cloud, hardware server/storage, ISV, SI or VAR – I look forward to making this a big opportunity for all of you. I will reach out to you in the next few weeks and look forward to connecting.
- Employees: I am looking forward to meeting all Cohesians in the next few months – working with you and Mohit to make Cohesity the Best Place to Work in our category!
- Recruits: We have many open positions we are hiring around the globe. I want Cohesity to be a talent magnet, where we recruit the best and brightest in the industry! Send me your resume, if you want to join our mission – we will make this a fun ride together!
Onward and upward!