Startup Object First pleased with momentum for Veeam-focused backup appliance

Object First’s Ootbi now has over 80 installations for Veeam environments, with six of them worth over $100,000, as they stress how their storage immutability and Zero Trust capabilities are effective weapons against ransomware.

David Bennett, Object First’s CEO

Object First launched a little over a year ago with a ransomware-proof backup storage appliance purpose-built for Veeam that is simple to install and use. The product, Ootbi, sells entirely through the channel. It has also been selling well, in a crowded market, because of its effectiveness against ransomware.

“We have just now celebrated one year since our original launch, and we have achieved some pretty cool things,” said David Bennett, Object First’s CEO. “As a new storage company with a new product, that requires neither technical nor security expertise, we have already had an amazing impact on the market.  We have already deployed over 80 Ootbi installations, with six customers being valued at over six figures. We have also had significant booking growth in the second half, and an over 400% increase in inbound sales inquiries from the first half of 2023 to the second half. With all this, we have also sent some strong messages to the market about immutable storage for Veeam customers.”

The exponential curve means that any startup starting from scratch that has some degree of success should post strong growth numbers during its first couple years, but Bennett said that what really shines with Ootbi is that momentum has been taking place in a tough market, and that customers have been very happy with the results.

“What’s impressive is that we have had 80 end users willing to sign a check for a brand new product in a brand new market,” he stated. “And while any startup will have high percentage growth, how many of their customers signed a check and love it?”

Object First had a straightforward Go-to-Market strategy coming out of the gate.

“Our strategy was how do we secure as many Veeam customers as possible,” Bennett said. “They all need immutable storage. Veeam has 450,000 customers and are still growing at a great rate. Every single one needs our product. S3 is not new, but this is the first time that it has been designed for the backup use case and immutability.”

Over the last year, that  core messaging has remained the same, but Object First has done a little tweaking to emphasize other ways in which it complements Veeam.

“The story has evolved,” Bennett said. “We did a paper in conjunction with Veeam on data trust zero resilience. Our initial focus on immutability allowed us to talk about a better story. Zero Trust, which is all about implementing least privileged access, and which wasn’t implemented much in backups. Our talking about that facilitated a better together story with Veeam.”

Object First has a 100% channel strategy, and has onboarded over 29 partners in under nine months. This largely reflects their initial expansion in North America, as they launched in Latin America only in December, and launched in EMEA in  January. Bennett also indicated that 29 was not really a high number given Ootbi’s growth.

“We were deliberately selective,” he said. “We didn’t want to grow too fast and get partner growth that was too fast, so we deliberately didn’t recruit as many partners as we could have,”

Bennett divided the channel into what he termed three big buckets.

“You have the big US-based multinationals, the big corporate resellers and what used to be known as DMRs,” he said. “There is a select number of regional players. And there are service providers using our product to power their internal cloud. We have had great wins in the public sector — schools, police and fire, legal and health care. All of those accounts are big targets for ransomware.”