'With Office 365 you make almost nothing in the second year' - Druva CEO takes aim at big guns

Sam Trendall
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'With Office 365 you make almost nothing in the second year' - Druva CEO takes aim at big guns

Data protection vendor lifts lid on expansion plans and discusses channel opportunities

"This year is a terrible year for IPOs," according to Druva CEO Jaspreet Singh.

From which one can probably infer that the data management and protection vendor will not be among those technology firms seeking to float publicly this year. Not that attaining more funding ought to be that pressing a concern for the company, having received a $51m series E cash injection in September. That funding round, which contained seven investors, was by far Druva's biggest investment to date, coming at in a little more than double its series C and D rounds, which generated $25m each.

Singh told CPI Europe that the recent investment would be spent on "very, very aggressively" pursuing expansion in new markets and geographic regions.

"We have a few verticals that are really good for us; pharma and life sciences are really good for us, consulting is big for us - we [work with] KPMG, Deloitte, and PwC. We have big law firms [in our customer base], and technology is a good vertical for us," he added.

But the vendor would never neglect ongoing investment in improving its products, pledged Singh, as well as continuing to add sales and engineering professionals to its current global headcount of 450.

In terms of further funding, the Druva chief asserted that his firm would "definitely" like to float publicly at some point, but predicted that it will still be "some time before we get there".

"There has to be the right combination of revenue scale - which we are getting this year - and [it being] a good time for IPOs; this year is a terrible year for IPOs," he explained. "People will be starting to put capital back into markets later this year. The irony is that the market wants to be good, but the whole political turmoil [is putting people off]."

Channel profitability
Druva's channel programme contains just two tiers: the entry-level Authorised; and, above that, Certified. Singh claimed that, for partners relatively new to the cloud world, the vendor was prepared to undertake a lot of "hand holding" during their initial sales. He asserted that his firm is snatching business away from legacy hardware players, claiming that Druva recently sealed "a very large deal in the US", in which its technology was pitted against an offering built around backup hardware from Commvault being proposed by a large systems integrator.

"With cloud, your sale becomes a lot more consultative… [and] there is a lot more money in consulting cloud than in consulting back-up - you can have one cloud architect who can bill the same as five people [in the back-up world]," said Singh.

And it is not just the hardware players on which Druva has the edge when it comes to

channel profitability, its CEO claimed. Singh also took aim at Microsoft and Oracle, whom he believes do not offer partners an attractive financial proposition in the longer term.

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"With Office 365 you get a big compensation in the first year, but almost nothing in the second year. We take a much more long-term view," he added.

Over the last year, Druva has recruited partners in the Benelux region and established an office in Germany. Singh (pictured right) indicated that "the Nordics is the next big focus" for the data-protection specialist.

Druva was co-founded by Singh and CTO Milind Borate in 2007, and was formerly based in the Indian capital of New Delhi before establishing is current headquarters in Silicon Valley. In addition to its HQ and German base, it also has locations in Singapore, Tokyo, Mebourne, Pune in India, and London - from which it runs its European operations. It has so far raised $118m of investment across five funding rounds.

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