Work From Home market helping to drive aggressive Panzura expansion strategy

Panzura is announcing the granting of a new patent today which is being leveraged to support Work From Home environments, and to expand Panzura’s customer base downmarket from its core of larger enterprises.

Jill Stelfox, Panzura’s Chairman and CEO

Today, global cloud file system vendor Panzura is announcing it has formally received its 34th patent, “Maintaining Global Namespace Consistency for a Distributed Filesystem.” The technology has been in Panzura’s Freedom multi-cloud file storage solution for years. Panzura is drawing attention to the new patent now both to emphasize the number of patents their technology holds, and to emphasize its relevance to the growing Work From Home market, which has been steeply accelerated by COVID-19.

“That patent was filed years ago and has been incorporated in our technology,” said Rich Weber, Panzura’s President. “We have a huge amount of intellectual property. It just happens that this one is particularly interesting because it’s part of our core differentiation and gives a voice to the technology that differentiates us. It’s real-time peer-to-peer technology is also relevant to Work From Home because it enables collaboration with people in many different locations.”

The real-time file locking capabilities facilitate immediate peer-to-peer interaction by multiple users in multiple locations through a global namespace, while storing the data in a cloud object store.

“This was originally designed to tie together multi-location companies, especially multinationals that have sites spread all over the globe,” Weber said. “We wanted to have a single file system for the enterprise, rather than for single sites, to allow productivity workers to access the same data sets. This would bring all the offices together and give them a unified data set. We see it acting in a way that’s similar to Content Delivery Networks [CDNs], but for dynamic data.”

In today’s environment, this adapts very well to home-based employees, no matter how far apart they are.

“A good example would be with a gaming company, when writing a game using multiple designers and coders who are globally distributed,” said Jill Stelfox, Panzura’s Chairman and CEO. “This allows all of them to work together on the game at the same time, even if they are super-big files.”

Stelfox said that the technology’s application to Work From Home has had a major impact on sales in the last quarter.

“It has definitely translated into sales,” she said. “Our sales time to close was just over 100 days four months ago. Our time to close in the last four months has been 63 days. We have had customers who were using our solution in their main office, and now we have had them expand to everywhere in the globe. We have had a couple of record quarters as a result.”

Stelfox just joined the company in May following Panzura’s sale to venture firm Profile Capital, in which she played a key role in making the acquisition happen.

“In October of last year, my company Edgy started working with Panzura helping with marketing,” she said “One thing we were seeing was a really big uptick in new sales. Panzura’s CEO then [Patrick Harr] was looking to raise money. I have a venture background, and contacted some friends, one of which was Profile Capital. I emphasized I saw this as a great opportunity. They started talking with old CEO and were able to buy the old company.”

In the 60 days since Stelfox joined the company, some key strategic decisions have been made.

“We have made two big changes in the last 60 days,” she said. “We are selling differently – almost exclusively through the channel – and we hired a lot of channel people in the last 60 days. On the product side, we have been able to bring in some great strategic hires. Our goal is to become the easy solution for companies who want to work in the cloud in the small medium category, while also continuing to serve these very large enterprises who have very complex requirements. To do this, there are additive pieces that we can create on our own, or that we can go acquire.”

While Panzura’s core business is large enterprises, Stelfox said that there is a whole set of companies out there – like architecture firms – who can be small  but who need to move very large files and collaborate quickly.

“There are lots of $100-500 million companies who need to move to the cloud for cost and better operations, but doing it on your own is hard,” she said. “We do a lot of things you need in order to move to cloud, which is why we have some of the biggest organizations in the world as customers.”

Stelfox said that the road map has some very interesting things upcoming, but wasn’t quite prepared to talk about them yet.

“We are working on some really cool stuff,” she said.

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