Enterprise SaaS backup-as-a-service provider Clumio exits stealth with 100 per cent channel strategy

Clumio is targeting the enterprise space, with extreme simplicity as its attraction and a long-term goal of displacing incumbents in cloud, virtual and on-prem backup with their single solution.

The Clumio interface

Santa Clara-based Clumio has emerged from stealth, with the announcement of $51 million in its Series A and B funding rounds, and the formal launch of its backup-as-a-service product, which has been available since April. Led by Poojan Kumar, the co-founder and former CEO of PernixData, which was acquired by Nutanix, Clumio aims to be a disruptive player in the backup space, although out of the gate, its platform support will be limited.

Backup has a claim to be the most congested space in IT, with several dozen players selling into the North American market alone. Kumar believes, however, that Clumio can provide a differentiated value. He compared the company to Office 365 and GoogleG Suite in email, as the natural evolution of the space.

“Email started on prem, with Exchange and servers, but that was too complex, so we had a shift from that,” Kumar told ChannelBuzz. “The result was hosted email. Now that has evolved, to cloud products like Office 365 and GSuite.”

The backup market is seeing the same evolution, Kumar stated.

“The legacy, which is still there, was on-prem and centric,” he said. “Then you had hosters partnering with legacy vendors in their own data centres. In backup, we are the equivalent of Office 365, delivering the service end-to-end. On-prem is shrinking, but there is still a ton of data there. Much of it has been lifted and shifted to the public cloud, and there is data in other SaaS services. All of these three sources  require backup, and we provide that through our service, which removes the complexity and cost of backing up in the cloud.”

Making backup very simple is emphasized.

“This is a big market, and it is a crowded market, and the competition is the status quo,” Kumar stressed. “We are looking to change that with unprecedented simplicity.” That includes taking less then 15 minutes to install the service and start protecting data. Fees are determined by the number of VMs protected.

The service had a soft launch three months ago, and is being announced now. At this stage it backs up anything in a VMware hypervisor, as well as anything on the AWS cloud. That’s only intended to be a starting point, however.

“Our architecture is built to be multi-cloud, but we built it on the AWS cloud, and for availability in the U.S.,” Kumar said. “But as we grow and expand, we will support other regions, and will expand our reach into other public clouds like Azure and Google Cloud Platform. Similarly, today we back up anything on prem that uses a VMware hypervisor, but we will be expanding support there as well.”

Kumar said that this initial limitation isn’t a problem for customers.

Poojan Kumar, Clumio’s CEO and co-founder

“Enterprise vendors typically have two or three backup vendors,” he noted. “What they see is our end state, where we can replace all of these. On Day One, it isn’t there yet. But what we do cover provides simplicity to that part of their environment. We eliminate the complex.”

The target market is another part of Clumio’s strategy that will transition as the company expands.

“Every company goes through an evolution,” Kumar said. “We are building towards the enterprise, but that’s a journey. Our initial customer base since we made the service available in April is mainly mid- market customers, but we are beginning to see traction in the enterprise. Large enterprises today tend to have SaaS first thinking, and the fact that we will be able to deliver full on prem and public cloud is something else they like. These are big differentiators for the enterprise.”

The Go-to-Market strategy is 100 per cent channel.

“We are already there, and are engaged with channel partners already,” Kumar said. “The channel is excited about the simplicity that we bring to the customer.

“We tend to appear to partners who are shifting to the public cloud, and who partner with SaaS companies.” Kumar added. “So far, it has been regional VARs, and a couple national VARs. On the MSP side, if they are comfortable about managing it in the public cloud, that will work, but we are not in the business of local data centres. This platform runs in the cloud.”

As is common with most channel-focused startups, Clumio is looking to be select with the partners they recruit.

“Focus is the key for us with partners,” Kumar said. “We are focused on partners who see this as innovation.”

The initial focus on VMware and AWS had made those companies’ sales forces cheerful collaborators.

“The applications running on VMware are protected, and we are enabling AWS to have more on-prem data land on the public cloud, so there is a lot of collaboration with them at the field level,” Kumar indicated.

The plan is to focus on the U.S. market for this year, and begin to expand sales motions into other countries, including Canada, by the end of the year.

“From a product and platform perspective, expansion is easy,” Kumar said. “The challenge is building out the Go-To-Market motion. Right now, we are focusing on the US, but by the end of the year, we will be looking to tackle other places.”

Now that Clumio is out of stealth, the priority is on building awareness.

“We will to be showing up at major conferences, starting with VMworld,” Kumar summed up. “You will see us continue to innovate, including cloud-centric workloads that move beyond VMware and AWS.”

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