A Q&A with Gridstore co-founder and CEO Kelly Murphy. The Mountain View–based company was founded in 2009 and raised $12.5 million in Series A funding in mid-October. Investors include GGV Capital and Onset Ventures.
SUB: Please describe Gridstore and your value proposition.
Murphy: Gridstore is a grid based software defined scale out storage solution. We deliver a simple powerful and affordable solution for businesses of all sizes to grow their storage as their business grows, no overhead, no over provisioning. Our award winning solution, The Grid, was built from the ground up and delivers superior performance and scalability at a fraction of the cost of traditional storage systems.
SUB: Who are your target markets and users?
Murphy: Our customer base today is made up primarily of mid-size entities, and departmental units in larger organizations. Our sweet spot for verticals are education, mid-size financial services and managed service providers.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Murphy: The status quo, in other words, those still on DAS, but growing so quickly that this doesn’t cut it anymore, and incumbents such as NetApp and EMC—in mid-market—that have built scale out storage on legacy technology.
SUB: What differentiates Gridstore from the competition?
Murphy: The Grid is software defined storage, at the heart of the Grid is vController, which is in any device accessing storage. We process data using existing network and server resources, instead of at the storage node—the most expensive resource. Through direct parallel I/O, customers can achieve 100 percent IOPS availability as a result. No over provisioning, no overhead.
SUB: When was the company founded and what were the first steps you took in establishing it?
Murphy: 2009—the first step was putting together a great team of engineers and establishing a clear understanding that we were going to start with a clean slate. We weren’t going to build on legacy technologies.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for Gridstore? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Murphy: I founded, and later sold, an on-demand software company, Marrakech Software, and was experiencing the same challenges that businesses are going through today. I was continuously running out of capacity and spending millions of dollars on forklift upgrades. I couldn’t find solutions that could scale seamlessly as my business grew. I also began to see the emerging trend within web scale giants Amazon and Google—they were no longer buying big storage, understanding that they could never scale efficiently with the likes of EMC, HDS, NetApp, etc. They began to build their own storage systems, with a team of experts. Gridstore is inspired by these concepts of scalability and efficiency. We deliver a simple, powerful and affordable solution that is tailored for the workloads of businesses today.
SUB: How did you come up with the name? What is the story behind it?
Murphy: There’s nothing to it, it’s literally a store for the Grid.
SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building the company?
Murphy: Getting the right team in place to successfully execute takes time.
SUB: You recently raised $12.5 million in Series A funding. What are your plans for the funds?
Murphy: We are building out our channel partner program and sales force for distribution; and investing in bringing to market the next generation of scale out technologies.
SUB: Why was this a particularly good time to raise more outside funding?
Murphy: The industry is ready for change. The market dynamics have shifted and businesses understand they can no longer scale with legacy technologies. It’s the perfect time for the market to embrace change
SUB: How does the company generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?
Murphy: Through sales, we are a product, which combines intelligent software with commodity hardware to deliver a solution.
SUB: What are your goals for Gridstore over the next year or so?
Murphy: To continue meeting the needs of both our existing customers as well as new ones. The amount of interest in our technology and solutions continues to grow and we’re excited about that.
Gridstore – www.gridstore.com