Last month, the Pune and California-based SaaS company Druva announced three significant developments: opening its new headquarters in Sunnyvale in California, raising USD 130 million led by Viking Global Investors and becoming a billion-dollar company.
Druva’s rise to becoming a unicorn after a decade of operations has much to do with its list of clients that includes 10% of Fortune 500 companies. It’s totally built on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and offers all-in-one solutions of backup, disaster recovery and analytics.
In an interaction with The Passage, Jaspreet Singh, co-founder of Druva, said they are growing at a rate of 50% year-on-year and will be profitable in two to three years. He also said the company’s decision to move to the US was motivated by the search for a diverse talent pool and the need to expand their customer base.
The Passage: Please tell us how Druva has evolved over the years.
Jaspreet Singh: Milind Borate, Ramani Kothmandaraman and I founded Druva in Pune in 2008. The previous decade has brought about changes in Druva which has shaped it as a leader in data management and protection. We saw the connected future to come and recognised there was a better solution for data protection and management. Today, Druva is the only solution built entirely on AWS, offered as-a-Service and delivering data protection and management for the cloud era. We deliver globally accessible, infinitely scalable and completely autonomous enterprise data resiliency. More than 4,000 enterprises trust us and we manage more than 100PB of data worldwide.
The Passage: Many SaaS companies from India ultimately move to the US. Why did you decide to move your headquarters to California? Is the Indian market too small?
Jaspreet Singh: After securing our first major investment from Sequoia India, we agreed the company needed to relocate to the United States to continue its journey. Being headquartered in Silicon Valley would create new opportunities to expand the company’s customer base and scale with a diverse talent pool that would put us in a strong position for future growth. Building a sales and marketing team which possessed prior experience was an absolute necessity given that we were planning to compete globally.
The Passage: Do you see India becoming a big market for you any time soon?
Jaspreet Singh: Yes, the dynamics are changing in the country and it is growing at a great pace. We are witnessing growth of enterprises and this is definitely a positive sign.
India is a key contributor to our revenue, and we see it growing in the years to come. We work with several major enterprises in the country across industries and will continue to grow our customer base in the region. Given that we are built on AWS, we support all major AWS regions, including Mumbai.
The Passage: How has the unicorn tag changed things for you? How are you going to use the recent funding?
Jaspreet Singh: We continue to remain focused on flawless execution, bringing new innovations to market, and delivering a best-in-class solution for enterprises across the globe.
The investment will be used to fuel growth and global expansion in key regions, especially Australia, the UK, Germany and France. We will also be driving new product innovations, including data analytics, data discovery, compliance and solutions to address the complex and distributed nature of today’s data.
The Passage: How has your revenue growth been? Has your company become cash-flow positive?
Jaspreet Singh: Druva is in a state of hyper-growth currently, growing at 50% year-on-year. In 2018, Druva was recognised in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 for the third consecutive year and was the only data protection and management vendor to be recognised.
We are a capital efficient business but we are not currently cash-flow positive. Our focus is to deploy capital on growth as the market we are attacking is extremely large. We have a two to three year path to profitability as we continue to focus on growth.
The Passage: You have a development centre in Pune. Can you explain the work it does?
Jaspreet Singh: The development centre in Pune is a major step towards continuing global expansion, strengthening our international reach and positioning Druva to attract the best talent in the world.
Last year we moved into a new facility to accommodate our expansion, which serves as a key innovation centre focused on product development. This new facility supports our goal of reaching 1,000 employees in the region. It also provides a central location for supporting our global client base located across the US, Europe and APAC.
Druva currently has more than 700 employees across seven global offices, including in Sunnyvale, California; Denver, Colorado; Reading, UK; Singapore; Wuppertal, Germany; Tokyo, Japan; and Pune, India. We service more than 4,000 enterprises including Fortune 500 companies like Flex, Hitachi, Live Nation, Marriott and Pfizer.
The Pune facility will continue to be a home base for Druva’s engineering talent pool, focused on building technology that will change how organisations all over the world manage and optimise their data.
The Passage: The Indian cloud market has gotten really competitive in the last few years with Microsoft, Google and Amazon fighting for this pie. How do you see this?
Jaspreet Singh: Globally, we continue to evaluate other environments based on customer needs. However, the AWS platform allows Druva to offer its customers a data protection solution that is secure, infinitely scalable, globally accessible and consistently delivering new innovations.
The Passage: Do you think Indian founders in the B2B space, compared to their Chinese counterparts, are more likely to expand in the global market?
Jaspreet Singh: I’m not sure it’s fair to compare the two, given the different markets, opportunities and business environments.
In regards to India’s own entrepreneurial drive, I remember reading somewhere that the new motto for several India startups today is – ‘From India, for the world’. I think this is largely because Indian startups have evolved and become true innovators armed with operational knowledge of global market. They have developed a confidence in the ability to deliver best-in-class solutions for customers and succeed in a global economy.
The Passage: You have an interesting list of clients. What is your work with NASA like?
Jaspreet Singh: We have worked with NASA for several years, and just like all our other customers, we have helped them create a single, unified copy of data in the cloud, where they have better visibility to manage and protect their most critical information.
By eliminating complexity and unnecessary hardware with a simple and reliable data protection solution, our customers can reduce their TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) by up to 50%, minimise time-consuming administration and refocus resources on other organisational priorities.