Rubrik Approaches Revenue Milestone, Appoints New Sales EVP

The new hire will lead Rubrik's global sales and business development organizations, focusing on building new and existing business and revenue streams.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

February 10, 2017

6 Min Read
Rubrik Approaches Revenue Milestone, Appoints New Sales EVP

**Editor’s Note: Click here to see which channel people were on the move in January.**

Rubrik, the cloud data-management company, is on pace for $100 million in annual revenue and has signed more than 220 partners globally.

Rubrik's Mark SmithSince its inception three years ago, it has had seven major product releases, supporting 14 different physical, virtual and cloud platforms. Its cloud data-management service combines traditional backup with the ability to recover, manage and secure data across public and private clouds.

This week, Rubrik announced the appointment of Mark Smith as executive vice president of global sales and business development. He previously was Arista Networks’ senior vice president of worldwide sales and business development, and has more than 25 years of experience building global sales, marketing and business development teams.

During his four years with Arista, that company’s revenue grew from $200 million to more than $1 billion.

In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Smith talks about working with partners and helping Rubrik achieve further financial milestones.{ad}

Channel Partners: What do you want Rubrik’s partners to most know about you?

Mark Smith: In my mind, it’s probably three things. First and foremost, they can make really good money with Rubrik. We (have) a limited number of partners and we want to go much deeper than wider. We don’t want 1,000 or multiple thousands of partners like the legacy vendors have. We want to have a limited number of partners that make really good margin and significant revenues with Rubrik. Secondly, it’s really awesome technology that’s very disruptive. I’ve been in IT for 25 years and there’s been very little innovation in backup and recovery with the legacy vendors over that time, and Rubrik’s coming to market with an entirely new approach, which saves people significant money and also allows them to move to hybrid cloud and public cloud, which is a massive trend. And finally, I think the other thing is that we’re channel-centric. One-hundred percent of our business has been driven through the channel and we recognize the critical component of having the channel as our partners.

CP: Rubrik has experienced rapid expansion in the past three years. How do you plan to accelerate that growth?

MS: Obviously we’re going to do a number of things. We’re expanding the product, which allows us to address more of the market, but the total addressable market (TAM) is there. When you combine all of the aspects – backup recovery, security, secondary storage – all of those areas, it’s a $30 billion TAM. So first of all, it’s just taking share in a marketplace where people are desperate for a new technology and an innovative approach that saves them money because all CIOs are telling their managers you’ve got to cut your costs 10 percent annually or more, and they can’t do that with their traditional vendors. So it’s growing into the TAM and taking share. It’s also …


… leveraging the reach of the channel. We can’t possibly with our sales team – even though it’s growing really fast – get to enough customers fast enough, so we’ve got to depend on the channel to be able to take us into both new markets and new customers every day.

CP: Do you see new market opportunities for Rubrik’s cloud data management? Are there opportunities in particular sectors, industries, verticals?

MS: I was asking those questions, desperate to find out which verticals can we go after, and frankly the reality is the solution applies to all verticals. So every enterprise customer on Earth – I’ve visited hundreds of them over the last number of years – is looking to move to a hybrid cloud, a public cloud and private-cloud solution where they can take advantage of automation and lowering costs of IT, and also increasing reliability of IT. So there’s really no enterprise that doesn’t need the Rubrik solution to continue that move toward automation and lowering their total costs of IT.{ad}

CP: What is your assessment of Rubrik’s channel program and channel strategy?

MS: Maybe I’m a little cynical after being in the industry so long; I think a lot of the partner programs out there, they spend a huge amount of time on creating all sorts of rules and regulations, and requirements. And the thing I love looking at the Rubrik channel program is it really starts with having great product that customers want and demand is at the customer level, and that’s why the channel is coming to us. The second day I was here, the largest storage reseller in the United States reached out to me and said, “Mark, we totally want to change our strategy from our legacy vendors to Rubrik.”

I like the fact that the program is very simple and it’s around the partners making good margins. It’s around not only can they make money and margin on products, software and support, but also one of the innovations of Rubrik is our API interfaces, which allow us to customize solutions to customers. And when you get into services, that’s where the channel can make just superb margin.

CP: What do you plan to accomplish within your first six months to a year?

MS: Not slow Rubrik down. I’ll tell you that their revenue growth is amazing. To almost be at $100 million in revenue in six quarters, even having come from Arista Networks where we passed $1 billion, and while I was there for four years we grew from somewhere over $180 million to $1 billion plus in four years, Rubrik is growing even faster. So my first job is to make sure I don’t slow it down, but also to get to the key channel partners and make sure that we have a joint plan of how we’re going to execute on growing even faster.

CP: Is this looking like Rubrik’s biggest year yet in terms of revenue, signed partners and product releases?

Smith: Our No. 1 goal with the channel is to …


… actually sell a lot more with each of our partners, and certainly we’ll sign new partners because there’s just such customer demand. We’ve got 220 partners today and our top 10 partners have done $1 million-plus in revenue and millions in revenue with us, and what I would like to see is for those top 10 partners a year from now to have done $10 million plus with us. So our goal is to go deeper with the channel partners that we already have and with key strategic partners that we’ll sign.

From a revenue-growth standpoint, we’re projecting massive growth this year. So I think you’ll see a press release within 12 months and it will be just an astronomical number. From an infrastructure-company perspective, our goal is to continue to be the fastest-growing infrastructure company ever.{ad}

CP: Where do you see Rubrik’s channel strategy in three to five years?

MS: I really like what Cisco did in the early 2000s timeframe where they went to a specialization approach. So I think strategically I would like to see us move to specialization as our platform that we have today grows and we add continual product capabilities, and address new functionality and requirements for end customers. I want to see us move to a specialization where our partners can still be part of a limited distribution environment and make good margins because they’re technically adding incredible value to customers.

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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