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Portfolio August 23, 2011

Pure Storage Launches

Disrupting the world of enterprise storage

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Today marks the launch of Pure Storage, one of the most exciting enterprise companies in the Greylock portfolio. Founded by John Colgrove (better known as “Coz”) and John Hayes, Pure has assembled a world class team of product innovators that is setting out to disrupt the world of enterprise storage.  How you might ask?  By delivering the world’s first all-Flash Enterprise Array.

While flash technology has been around for some time, it’s been mostly viewed as a consumer electronics technology, commonly used in smartphones and tablets. But in recent times, flash has emerged as THE technology of the future for enterprise storage as the existing, 50 year old (!) hard disk platforms are quickly running out of steam. Specifically, trends such as virtualization and data consolidation are increasing the demand for random input/output (I/O) well beyond the capabilities of hard disk technology. While other startups and incumbents have begun to embrace flash technology, most are doing so in an evolutionary way:  introducing flash as a new tier into their current lineup of hard disk-based arrays. While this tactic may work in the short term, history has shown that the winning formula for embracing new disruptive technologies usually requires a “clean sheet of paper” approach like the one that Pure is taking.

Greylock led the series B round in Pure in July 2010 and participated in the most recent $30 Million series C round.  Our good friends at Sutter Hill Ventures had incubated the company and led the series A investment.  At the time of our original investment, we were attracted to the combination that all venture firms are looking for:  1) world class team, 2) HUGE market and 3) disruptive technology.  As easy a formula as it might seem, finding all 3 in one company is a rare occurrence.   Soon after making the investment, we worked actively with the team and board to recruit Scott Dietzen as CEO.  Known to many as “Dietz”, Scott was the perfect choice for CEO:  a brilliant entrepreneur (BEA/Weblogic, Zimbra) who brought strong technology and go-to-market talents. And he was a great cultural fit:  along with the founders, Scott wanted to create a strong culture and build a company for the long term.

Pure Storage is the latest example in Greylock’s long history of investing in the storage industry.  We have been fortunate to be a part of storage leaders such as Data Domain, Legato, Decru, Polyserve and Data Robotics.  Please join us in wishing the Pure Storage team the best of luck in creating the next great storage company.

“But in recent times, flash has emerged as THE technology of the future for enterprise storage as the existing, 50 year old (!) hard disk platforms are quickly running out of steam.”