Ash Ashutosh was interviewed on Bloomberg Baystate Business on August 7th, 2018 by Tom Maroney, Peter Barnes, Pat Carrol and Janet Wu.
Interviewer: Waltham’s Actifio is a data technology unicorn and one of the most valued companies in this state and with its latest round of funding a $100 million it has a valuation of $1.3 billion. Ash Ashutosh is the founder and CEO and he joins us now to tell us more about this latest round of where he has taken the company. Ash, you’re in the hybrid cloud, what is that?
Ash Ashutosh: Yeah, I think about three years ago the enterprise market decided that there is a better way to run their IT and better way to run infrastructure by leveraging cloud infrastructure by companies like Amazon, Google, Microsoft. And it’s an opportunity to have a business combine the agility that a cloud provides with the security and all the compliance and regulation stuff that they have to do on-prem. So this combination of having businesses go across what’s within their four walls and on a cloud based infrastructure that’s what we call hybrid cloud.
Interviewer: So what do investors find so appealing about your company? What’s the edge that you have?
Ash Ashutosh: Yeah, so if you look at today’s economy almost every place out their data has become a weapon of mass destruction. Whether it’s as a retail industry completely changed by Amazon, whether it’s transportation by Lyft and Uber, whether it’s hotels by Airbnb even the mattress industry was changed by Casper. The idea of a business that is completely getting transformed by a data at the core is a evolution and that’s happening once and I would say several generations for the first time.
And if you’re in the enterprise business what Actifio software does is to unlock this data, make it available as a service to allow all kinds of users within the enterprise to truly leverage this data for developing applications faster, for running business intelligence applications, allowing the retail organizations to forecast things much better or meeting the compliance and governance required of this. For a longtime, enterprises had a massive issue of having data at different pockets, different locations, different applications.
Interviewer: Yeah, they didn’t know where some of this was or each department was clueless.
Ash Ashutosh: Exactly and what we do is just accelerate that entire business for the enterprise using data as a very, very strategic asset. And that’s what we focused on in last almost eight years. We have over 3000 enterprises some of the largest in the world leverage Actifio to make their job of using data ridiculously easy.
Interviewer: I would suppose it could help in some cases cut down on headcount as well?
Ash Ashutosh: I think it starts with a CapEx. There are two ways to make data pretty easy to access. One, you keep a lot of copies around and spend a ton of money on storage or infrastructure or you be a much smarter enterprise being very optimized in reducing costs. So I think it begins at the infrastructure cost or we talked about hybrid cloud, leverage cloud, leverage somebody’s resources for rent if you want to run analytics for 15 minutes, use Actifio to have a data mobility that moves the data to a cloud, runs analytics, brings it back and that is huge. That whole mobility the ability to use data anywhere instantly that I think is bigger. The speed has become a bigger part than the cost itself.
Interviewer: Ash Ashutosh is the Founder and CEO of Actifio based in Waltham and just raised another $100 million. And Ash this brings your total funds raised to what so far?
Ash Ashutosh: A little over $300 million.
Interviewer: $300 million.
Ash Ashutosh: Yeah.
Interviewer: And so what series was this?
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Ash Ashutosh: This is a series G.
Interviewer: Oh, okay, so might your next move to might have be to go public at some point?
Ash Ashutosh: I think you know, that’s a discussion we sometimes have. What we continue to focus on is this create a sustainable, profitable, growing business. And we’re privileged, right, we’re privileged to have some of the largest organizations in the world trust us and have 50 to 70% of our repeat business happen through these accounts. So really focusing on depth rather just expanding and trying to think about going public for now.
Interviewer: And give us some idea of number of people you’ve at work now?
Ash Ashutosh: We’re about 400 people.
Interviewer: 400, wow and revenue, profits?
Ash Ashutosh: We’re about $100 million in revenue.
Ash Ashutosh: Sometimes.
Interviewer: Hence the fundraise.
JW: So with this latest fundraise, what do you expect to do with that money?
Ash Ashutosh: I think it’s back to the two areas. The one like I said we’re a trusted custodian for some of the largest enterprises who continue to use data in very unique ways so developing new applications around security, around machine learning. But also continue to grow acquisition of some of the larger new customers. 50% of our business is new accounts. So it is the growth factor around go to market and then continued applications.
JW: Can you tell us a little bit more about your typical customer?
Ash Ashutosh: Yeah.
JW: Who can really benefit from this technology?
Interviewer: Well, even – more than that can you name some of these folks that you say you – they are your clients?
Ash Ashutosh: Yeah, so I think one, it’s typically a company with a billion dollars in revenue or above or at least about a 1000 employees and above where data truly is big enough that it’s very useful. So I’m not sure if I can name several of these, but you can think of some of the largest financial services, largest retail.
Interviewer: Here in Boston.
Ash Ashutosh: Quite a few of them in Boston, healthcare, service provider market. Just think about places where there is a lot of data and it’s just budded in there. The bigger the organization the more valuable Actifio is.
Interviewer: So you talk about – it sounds well, I’m hearing is that you give these people access?
Ash Ashutosh: Yeah.
Interviewer: Through the data. And you’d mentioned the word security, do you pull that in is it is possible to do cyber security along with this because after all a lot of companies just that’s all they do.
Ash Ashutosh: Absolutely and there are two kinds of cyber security – rest of the world we have a ton of companies, a cottage industry of companies that do a network-based cyber security. They prevent people from coming in. What we’ve done in the cyber security is we assume people are going to get into your networks. We provide cyber security around the most important part, which is your data. The ability for a customer to come back and say, “Yes, I’ve been infected – today is August 7th, I was infected on July 24th.” The ability for Actifio to identify that and spin back the way the applications were before they were infected. That is about a data centric way I think about cybersecurity.
Interviewer: And reset that.
Ash Ashutosh: Yeah and this is about a very different model, in a different way of thinking about cyber security around data, not about the network itself.
Interviewer: Ash Ashutosh is the Founder and CEO of Actifio. And a little bit of background about you.
Ash Ashutosh: Yeah.
Interviewer: Where did you come from? Are you another MIT guy who has done well or –?
Ash Ashutosh: Oh, I wish. No, I’ve been here about 18 years in Boston. I’ve had the privilege of working at some of the best and the largest companies in all kinds of roles. I played the role of being an engineer, a role of an executive. I was at HP for a while. I’ve been an entrepreneur. I’ve been a venture capitalist for a brief while and then I’ve been a customer. I mean, and my best, my advantage has been just a privilege of being on all sides of the table that gives me a very interesting perspective of what matters to people.
Interviewer: Ash Ashutosh, Founder and CEO of Actifio. Thanks for coming in.
Ash Ashutosh: Thank you.
Interviewer: You’ve given us the data download on your company. Congratulations.
Ash Ashutosh: Thank you.
Interviewer: And keep us posted.
Listen to the interview on Bloomberg Baystate Business Radio.
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