Foster Hinshaw Back in Command at Dataupia; News of Company’s Death Greatly Exaggerated, He Says
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companies with “big data” to crunch do want integrated appliances. “I think that customers really like the idea of having a system that just works, like the iPhone. With my previous company [Netezza], we went with an appliance and I think the success speaks for itself.”
Hinshaw, who returned to work about six weeks ago, says he was able to line up some new financing for the company from its existing backers, though he isn’t saying how much. (As of January, Dataupia had collected about $40 million from Polaris Venture Partners, Valhalla Partners, and Fairhaven Capital.) He says the slimmed-down business is nearly cash-neutral, meaning it’s now burning through its venture funds very slowly. “I know what the burn rates are in the other companies in this niche, and I’m proud of the fact that we have a good enough customer base that we are financially very strong,” he says.
Hinshaw says he was “shocked—and that’s a polite word for it” at some of the rumors spreading about Dataupia as news of its steadily shrinking staff leaked out earlier this year. But he says the company itself, which never released much information about its financial condition (or about Hinshaw’s health condition, for that matter), is partly to blame. “Because of the lack of solid information, I think there were a number of surmises made by various people based on some scanty information,” he says.
He argues that Dataupia has weathered the recession more successfully than many of its peer companies. “We haven’t lost a single customer, and we have customers re-ordering stuff, so we are very healthy—we just haven’t been public about it.” And he pledges to be a bit more transparent in the future (though he does say that “it’s to our competitive advantage to limit a lot of what we say publicly”). Specifically, he says observers should expect some new product announcements shortly.
And finally, Hinshaw says he’s glad to be on the road again. “I think I have a good vision for where the industry is and where the customers are,” Hinshaw says. “I have fun going through that and watching as the industry matures and understanding how it’s maturing. That, to me, is the fun of it—to be a part of the journey.”