HIGH FLYING NJ DATA-PROTECTION STARTUP OWNBACKUP ACHIEVES UNICORN STATUS

Sam Gutmann, CEO of OwnBackup | Courtesy OwnBackupOwnBackup | Courtesy OwnBackup

 February 1, 2021  Esther Surden

Word came last week that OwnBackup, the Englewood Cliffs-based cloud data protection company, closed a Series D investment of $167.5 million after just closing on $50 million six months ago. (See our story here).

The investment brought OwnBackup’s cumulative funding total to more than $267 million.

More importantly, with this raise, OwnBackup is valued at close to $1.4 billion. That brings OwnBackup up to unicorn status.

A unicorn is a startup that has grown to be valued at over $1 billion. Unicorns aren’t as rare as they once were. According to CB Insights, a tech-market intelligence platform, there are more than 500 of these companies in the world.

The new funding round was co-led by Insight Partners (New York), Salesforce Ventures (San Francisco), and Sapphire Ventures (Palo Alto, Calif.), with participation from existing investors Innovation Endeavors (Palo Alto), Vertex Ventures (Palo Alto) and Oryzn Capital (Tel Aviv).

We spoke to Sam Gutmann, OwnBackup’s CEO, about the recent funding round.

Of the leading investors, Sapphire Ventures was new to the deal. Gutmann stated that he was extremely excited to have Sapphire, which was known as “SAP Ventures” back in the day, because it’s “now behind some of the hottest unicorns and recent tech IPOs.”

OwnBackup’s biggest investor, Insight Partners, stepped up once again in a big way, he added, and it was really important to have Salesforce Ventures, which has been with OwnBackup since the beginning.

Salesforce Ventures has invested in a number of successful startups, such as MongoDB, Twilio, Box, DocuSign and Zoom. Observers have noted that the gains from Salesforce Ventures investments have often exceeded the gains from the company’s core software business. It is also worth mentioning that OwnBackup is on the Salesforce AppExchange, and that it’s rare to see a unicorn originating from there.

OwnBackup has experienced five years of triple-digit growth, but Gutmann was clear about the challenges ahead. NJTechWeekly.com asked him if he felt any pressure, now that the company has achieved unicorn status. He joked that the biggest pressure was that many were expecting OwnBackup to get to “decacorn” status quickly.  

Phenomenal 2020

Becoming serious, he said, “We’re really excited. We had a phenomenal 2020 from a business perspective, and we beat our pre-COVID plan by a good, good chunk. And we see that momentum continuing into this year and beyond. So, while we certainly have a ton of work to do, and growing a business from 300 employees to 600 employees is certainly a tall order, the business is there and the customer base is there. And it’s going to be a lot of hard work, but we think it’s definitely doable.”

Fueling the company’s momentum are bigger trends in the industry, he noted. “We saw in the business in a broader sense that COVID forced many companies to accelerate their digital transformation projects. And as they were forced to do that, some of the controls they had in place — whether it be that you could only access the system from the office, or the development team had all kinds of in-person meetings — went away. Our customers were forced to accelerate what they were doing, and it all became much riskier.” So, having OwnBackup in place allowed them to accelerate their projects with peace of mind at night, he said. “They said, ‘Hey, if something goes wrong, I can easily put the pieces back together.’”

When NJTechWeekly.com had spoken to Gutmann after the prior fundraising round, he noted that the company had software expansion plans that would see it going after backup businesses in other cloud environments besides Salesforce. “To date, we’ve been exclusively focused within the Salesforce ecosystem, which is huge. But as we realize the vision and look at other clouds, we really see an IPO-sized entity ahead of us,” he told us then.

In our recent talk with Gutmann, he said, “For a very short amount of time we stopped our expansion plans on the hiring front. But as we got through March and April and May, we ramped that right back up, so that plan has remained the same. We’re probably a quarter or two behind where we thought we’d be in the beginning of the year. Again, we wanted to make sure business would persist through the worst part of COVID, and it has. But stay tuned. A little later in the year,” there will be some announcements. “We are actively working on this.”

Regarding his commitment to New Jersey, Gutmann said that the company’s hiring plans include many new employees in the Garden State, though “we don’t know what the future holds with working from home versus coming back.” He added that OwnBackup was “one of the rare cases where we’ve actually expanded our office. We’re doubling the size of our physical footprint here in New Jersey. And I’m very excited about that. You know, firstly, we want to create an environment that people want to come back to, but we’re not forcing anyone to come back.”

This article originally appeared in NJTECHWEEKLY. It is republished here with the permission of Esther Surden, Editor & Publisher.

FROM ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, FAST-GROWING OWNBACKUP SECURES CLIENT DATA WORLDWIDE

Sam Gutmann
Sam Gutmann, CEO of OwnBackup | Courtesy OwnBackup

FROM ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, FAST-GROWING OWNBACKUP SECURES CLIENT DATA WORLDWIDE

Steve Sears

 September 25, 2019  Steve Sears0NewsNJ Tech CompaniesNJ Tech PeopleTech for Business,

Numbers are important to OwnBackup. The company currently houses 80 employees at its headquarters, in Englewood Cliffs (possibly 200 by year’s end), and 150 worldwide.

“We have a large presence still in Tel Aviv, we have an office in London and we have 10 to 15 people scattered across the United States working remotely,” said Sam Gutmann, CEO.

In August, OwnBackup was ranked #102 on the Inc. 5000 list for 2019, and it came in at #2  when NJTechWeekly.com compiled a list of fast-growing NJ tech companies from the Inc.article,

However, as significant as these numbers are — and from Gutmann’s reaction, you know they’re extremely important — what OwnBackup is doing for its steadily increasing clientele is at the forefront of the CEO’s mind.

“We consider it backup 3.0”

Sam Gutmann, CEO of OwnBackup

“We consider it backup 3.0,” said Gutmann. “Cloud to cloud, moving data from one cloud to another. Right now, we focus on the Salesforce ecosystem, the fourth-largest enterprise software company in the world: 180,000 customers.”

How it works

He explained the process. “We generally back up customers that use Salesforce or other applications built on the Force.com platform. When a customer deploys our tool — frankly, it’s a 15-minute set-up process — we almost immediately start backing up all the data they have on the platform. Then what happens, in the event of a data loss, the first thing you need to do is understand what happened. Salesforce or anything built on the cloud now is a giant, relational database. So if you delete 100 accounts, for example, you’re just not affecting those 100 accounts; the contacts, the opportunities and the leads would also be affected. We call this ‘cascade delete.’ Our series of comparison tools allows you to compare any two points in time. And we understand what data records were added, changed or deleted. Once you understand the extent of that data loss, we have tools that will allow you to start recovering the data.”

Recovery time for OwnBackup global clients depends on extent of the data corrupted. “We really want to provide the [100% Software-as-a-Service solution] tools, so you, the client, can understand what exactly was affected in a surgical way, and put the database back together, precisely the way you think it should be,” said Gutmann.

OwnBackup, minus its current name, was started as a part-time project in 2013 in Israel by Gutmann’s friend and colleague, current CTO Ariel Berkman. In mid-2014, Berkman landed a large enterprise customer in the United States, which encouraged the company to think more globally and changed the part-time project into a full-time venture. The latter involved bringing in a management team, and that’s when Gutmann got involved.

Born and raised in Bergen County, Gutmann lived in Manhattan for 10 years, but he’s now back in the New Jersey suburbs. “Frankly, [I] almost always worked in Jersey, even when I lived in the city. I did the reverse-commute.” Though only a stone’s throw from the George Washington Bridge and the business mecca that is Manhattan (and the rest of New York City), office space in his locale is a third as expensive, he said.

“We attract great talent right where we are,”

Sam Gutmann, CEO of OwnBackup

Gutmann and OwnBackup have just moved into a bigger space in Englewood Cliffs, and Gutmann noted that commuting daily to a New Jersey office is easier than crossing the Hudson. “We attract great talent right where we are,” he said, adding that there are two shuttles that transport Gotham residents to the company offices.

The search for talent

OwnBackup is on the lookout for talented folks. “If you’re amazing, and you want to join an amazing fun, fast-growth tech company, we are very, very much hiring,” said Gutmann. He explained that there are currently 39 open positions to fill, including those for account executives, sales development representatives and marketing specialists. “[Bergen County] is a great place. We are one of the fastest-growing tech companies in Bergen County, or perhaps the fastest-growing, and we want to continue to grow here. We look forward to continuing our involvement in the community and to continuing to build a great company.”

Gutmann also stressed that office camaraderie is crucial. “We are very proud of the team we’ve built. Culture is extremely important to us. The two most important things that I do is help hire and attract amazing people and help foster a culture where everyone is working together towards our mission and our vision, but having fun while we do it.”

The absolute number-one challenge? “Hiring amazing people. We have hired slowly and methodically, and there’s a lot of great people out there, but sometimes they take a little time to find. Our growth is certainly dependent on our ability to ramp up the team, and we’ve done a great job at it, but we’ve got a long way to go.”

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This article originally appeared in NJTechWeekly, and is reposted here with the permission of that site.

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