Intronis CEO Change -- But Cloud Storage, MSP Growth Continues

Intronis CEO Change -- But Cloud Storage, MSP Growth Continues

Intronis CEO Kent Plunkett (pictured, l.) has resigned from the cloud backup and online storage company to pursue new opportunities. Jay Bolgatz (r.), VP of engineering and development, has been named interim CEO. Intronis's focus on MSPs and Channel Chief Ted Roller remain in place, and the company is "certainly on plan. We're crushing it," in terms of meeting internal 2012 financial goals, according to Bolgatz.

OpenView Venture Partners, the company's venture capitalist, has hired an executive search firm and also formed a committee to evaluate internal and external CEO candidates.

The Intronis CEO change comes amid continued growth at the company, but the MSP-centric storage market -- on-premises, mobile and in the cloud -- has become fiercely competitive. "As far as we're concerned we see nothing but opportunity ahead," said Bolgatz. "We're doubling down investment in R&D, sales and marketing. Our focus, vision, and product strategy all remains in place. It's all about the channel."

This is the second Intronis CEO change in roughly two years. Former CEO Plunkett joined Intronis in November 2010, succeeding company co-founder Sam Gutmann. The company touted Plunkett's previous SaaS experience at Salary.com, which he eventually took public. Intronis revenues more than doubled during Plunkett's tenure, and the company has frequently appeared on the Inc. 5000 list of America's fastest-growing privately held businesses. Plunkett pumped his own money into Intronis, joining a $3.85 million investment round earlier this year. He remains an investor in the company.

Interim CEO Jay Bolgatz, meanwhile, is a 25-year veteran of commercial software development. He joined Intronis in May 2010 as VP of engineering. His resume includes key development posts at Exit41, Iron Mountain, Informix and Digital Equipment (among other companies). Intronis says Bolgatz has deep experience leading cross-functional teams, multi-site engineering efforts, and off-shore development and testing. Bolgatz has no previous CEO experience, but two sources who have worked with Bolgatz during previous career stops say he is a born leader.

Success... And Competition

Intronis has successfully focused on the MSP market over the past few years, designing a channel-friendly partner program that allows VARs and MSPs to generate recurring revenue. Key hires have included VP of Channel Development Ted Roller, who arrived in July 2010 and has raised Intronis's profile with MSPs; and VP of Marketing and Community Carol Ferrari, who has focused Intronis messaging on strategic MSP-oriented events across North America.

Roller is at an ASCII event today, and Ferrari is preparing for such conferences as IT Nation and MSPWorld.

I believe Intronis has been growing about 50 percent annually, and it sounds like OpenView Venture Partners is committed to a long-term growth plan rather than any near-term exit strategy.

Still, competition is intensifying and the MSP-oriented storage market is rapidly evolving:
  • Traditional consumer-oriented cloud storage companies (Carbonite, Mozy) have been launching channel partner programs.
  • Businesses are seeking new ways to manage and protect data on smartphones and tablets. (Bolgatz says Intronis is working on such solutions.)
  • Potential rivals such as Axcient and Datto are growing fast and preparing international strategies for 2013. (Here again, Bolgatz says, Intronis is preparing moves.)
  • And some companies, such as Doyenz, have announced staff cuts amid the market changes.
MSPmentor has been predicting a shakeout in the MSP-focused cloud storage market for quite some time. My personal belief: There are too many vendors chasing MSPs that already have proven storage solutions.

A lot of anecdotal evidence suggests Intronis is healthy and growing. Bolgatz stated point blank that the company is meeting financial goals for 2012. But we'll also be watching to see how Intronis navigates the CEO search and the evolving market dynamics.
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