When a company says it’s growing at over 100% and won’t disclose its revenues, you can be confident that it’s not quite ready for an IPO.But it’s pretty unusual for me to talk with a CEO who reports 800% revenue growth in a $19 billion market and claims his company is winning business from IBM, Oracle and a raft of smaller companies like Varonis, Talend and Symantec.
But that’s what Dimitri Sirota, CEO of Manhattan-based data protection provider BigID told me in an August 23 interview. Should holders of stock in these companies be quaking in their boots? I don’t think so.(I have no financial interest in the securities mentioned in this post).
Sirota — who studied physics at McGill and University of British Columbia — was head of strategy for CA Technologies after it acquired cloud security provider Layer7 Technologies which he co-founded. As he commuted to work from New York City, he was reading and hearing about the abuse of personal information and realized that there was no purpose-built solution for protecting it.As he said, “A lightbulb went off in my head — what if you could secure personal information and help companies comply with GDPR and privacy legislation that’s likely to go into effect so in Japan, Korea, Australia, Brazil, Chile and India?
There was a gap in the market.”Sirota believes that opportunity is large. As he said, “Access governance is a $1 billion market, data governance is $3 billion, data loss protection is a $1.5 billion market. And the market for data governance is growing at a breakneck pace to $19 billion.BigID is growing. “Between February 2016 and August 2018, we’ve grown from six people to about 60 and expect to end the year with 80 people and raised $46.1 million.
We were growing so fast that we did Series A and Series B rounds in quick succession. That’s because we were able to get product market fit and repeatedly bring in customers quickly. We are using the money to build a salesforce — putting people in new territories as we generate sizeable revenues from our accounts.”BigID is targeting its next round of financing by growing from about $10 million to $40 million. “We are training people to sell and build a support organization that can provide 24×7 coverage.
We are also showing partners interested in the market what we are doing. When we get our Series C, we will go into new territories — expanding into Asia and Europe,” he said. BigID is seeking to hire a head of sales by the end of September.
As Sirota said, “We want somebody who has had experience growing from $30 million to $60 million and is a good cultural fit. We should laugh at each others’ jokes. The person should have worked in more places than one and know the challenges and how to solve them.”When it comes to running marketing, BigID hires people who can meet its key performance indicators. As he said, “I’ve done marketing and it’s hard to hire unless you’ve done that role. Product marketing must understand customer needs and define a solution that meets those needs better than the competition.
Demand generation must create inbound interest from customers and partners, communications must create corporate messaging.”The head of R&D, who at BigID is the company’s co-founder in Israel, has changed the role as the company has grown. According to Sirota, “At the beginning, it’s important to have clarity about what you want to build. You must make sure your minimum viable product solves a problem. After you get product/market fit, you have to build a product that can handle commercial realities such as security, scaling, and performance. Then you have to support a variety of use cases, introduce quality assurance, and build add-on products.
“BigID is confident that it will keep growing. As he said, “You have a vision for the product, customers, channels, and market and demonstrated the ability to execute combined with a good helping of fear and urgency. My advice for CEOs trying to scale a company is to lean by example: talk to other CEOs, and board members. It is like Harvard MBA method of case studies on steroids. Be willing to take risk, just be smart about it.”I am wondering whether Sirota can continue to raise capital to finance the growth of BigID and whether he can take it public this time.
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