Can you explain exactly what Infrascale does and what problem it solves?
Infrascale provides comprehensive, cloud-based data protection by delivering industry-leading backup and disaster recovery solutions. Combining intelligent software with the power of the cloud, Infrascale removes the barriers and complexity of secure, offsite data storage, and standby infrastructure for real-time disaster recovery. Trusted and recommended by leading independent industry experts, Infrascale equips its customers with the confidence to handle the unexpected by providing greater availability, better security, and less downtime when it comes to their data.
What attracted you to Infrascale?
Over more than 25 years in the technology industry, I've learned what it takes to build a successful company; 1) Market, 2) Technology, and 3) People. If any of these is lacking, I've learned (the hard way) to stay away. For Infrascale, I am excited about our large and growing market in Data Protection, Backup, and Disaster Recovery. These markets represent more than $100 billion in addressable market opportunity and our sector is evolving fast enough that we can make bets on future requirements and create innovative solutions to leapfrog our competition. Infrascale is a proven leader in cloud backup and disaster recovery, supporting over 65,000 companies and more than 1,000 resellers. To bring it all together, Infrascale has an amazing global team, a strong customer-first culture, and impressive lead investors and board representatives from Carrick Capital and Route 66 Ventures.
How are you leveraging your technical, sales, branding and operations experience in your role at Infrascale?
I’ve been able to leverage my years of successes and failures to focus on making the right bets, turn customers into evangelists, and empower our teams to deliver. I started my career as a computer programmer and have worked in almost every job at a software company. I’ve built enterprise financial systems for banks, worked in technical support, technical sales, sales, and sales management at Oracle. As a CEO, over the past 20 years, I've been able to dig into the details and learn what works and what does not work when growing technology companies. Here at Infrascale I've brought with me the need to understand our customers, their requirements, and what future innovation is needed to win in our highly competitive cloud backup and disaster recovery market.
What's your leadership philosophy and how are you applying it at Infrascale?
Having grown up with the same leadership mentor that Vince Lombardi had, my grandfather Colonel Red Reeder, I thought it was normal to discuss leadership philosophies at the dinner table. After years of studying, trial and error, and peer-to-peer experience sharing, I now define my leadership philosophy as H.E.A.R. - Honesty, Empathy, Accountability, and Respect. I believe in a servant based, people first, leadership method where leadership understands that their goal is to serve, and their job is to make their teams successful. It really comes down to being a leader vs a manager.
What are some of the specific challenges you have successfully overcome that will inform your approach to leading Infrascale?
Throughout my career I have had what feels like an unlimited number of challenges. The two that I'll discuss are customers and employees. The three biggest challenges around customers are:
1. Understanding exactly whom your customers are and what problem you are solving for them.
2. Building a product, support staff, processes and systems that enable you to delight your customers and turn customers into evangelists.
3. Saying no to your prospects and customers. So many companies try to do whatever it takes to close a deal or make a customer happy when the best way to close deals and make customers happy is to have an innovative product roadmap with a timeline that you can deliver on time.
As for employees, the biggest recurring challenge that I've dealt with over the years is making sure that employees understand the company vision and objectives, and how their personal objectives help the company beat expectations. Leadership cannot expect employees to be highly productive and beat expectations if all employees are not 100% clear on what success looks like in their role.
What are the benefits of working with a group like Carrick Capital Partners and how, if at all, did they influence your decision to join Infrascale?
As mentioned above, working with the right people is one of the most important criteria to make any business successful. When I was evaluating working with Infrascale, it was great to sit down with Marc McMorris and Steve Unterberger to hear their experiences, leadership philosophies, and expectations. I find that my leadership philosophies and expectations are closer aligned with private equity investors like Carrick Capital Partners, especially when it comes to building and growing technology companies. It is also a nice benefit to join a portfolio of successful companies with strong leaders. One recent example of the strength of their leadership and portfolio was in the beginnings of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Jim Madden, Marc McMorris, and Steve Unterberger setup and facilitated a call with their portfolio CEOs so we could all share our experiences and give our expected outlook. Peer-to-peer meetings where we can learn from each other, are very helpful, especially when dealing with such uncertain and critical situations like a global pandemic and recession.
What's your advice for other growing businesses considering private equity?
I've worked with and run multiple private equity-backed businesses. The best advice I can share is to make sure they take the time needed to find the right partner. Ensuring that the private equity partner’s goals and expectations are aligned with their own is critical for a successful relationship. Research their current portfolio and take the time to understand who they invest in and why. All private equity firms have specific industries and company stages where they prefer to invest – do the homework before making your first call. Make sure to align with private equity firms that have experience in your industry and have worked with multiple companies at different stages. Bringing on board members that have seen the ups and downs in your sector will help advance your company and save you many headaches in the future. If you are looking to invest in growth and scale your business, you better pick a private equity partner that has a successful track record of portfolio companies that have done the same. I've seen firsthand what it looks like when companies and investors have conflicting goals and expectations. Carrick Capital and Infrascale's goals and expectations are aligned, so that makes my job much easier.
What are you most excited about at Infrascale and what are your goals for the next five years?
At Infrascale, we are passionate about uptime, and we treat our customers' data like our own. With everything moving to the cloud, all expectations are changing. From employees to customers, to partners, no one wants downtime. Everyone expects all systems to be running and accessible 24x7x365. Over the next five years, we are going to continue to build out our industry-leading cloud backup and disaster recovery solutions to ensure our customers never lose their data, are fully protected against ransomware, and have uninterrupted access to their systems – no matter the disaster.