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Qumulo funding set for sales/marketing expansion

Qumulo closed a $30 million funding round today, which the scale-out NAS startup will likely use to hire more former Isilon employees.

Qumulo is striving to replace Isilon as the scale-out NAS system of choice in today’s data centers. The company’s DNA is heavy with former Isilon executives and engineers, who helped build Isilon into a $2.25 billion acquisition target for EMC in 2010.

A band of original Isilon engineers founded Qumulo in 2012. When one of the founders, Peter Godman, moved from CEO to CTO in late 2016, he hired another former Isilon hand, Bill Richter, as CEO. Richter has since brought in a new VP of worldwide sales (Eric Scollard) and vice president of marketing (Jay Wampold), both former Isiloners. Now Qumulo is poised to significantly build out its sale and marketing staffs with its $30 million funding haul. The Qumulo funding round brings its total investment to more than $130 million.

“This is the right time to grow out sales and marketing,” Richter said. “We’re hiring as fast as we can.” He said the 150-person company will add its first international offices this year, either in Europe or Asia.

Qumulo funding will also make its way to R&D

Richter said Qumulo is still investing heavily in research and development as well to help it take on NAS giants Dell EMC Isilon and NetApp.

He said Qumulo’s advantages over those vendors are that its engineers are doing this for the second time, and they have designed file systems for the 21st century.

“NetApp was built in the 1990s and Isilon was built in 2001,” he said. “None of the other products out there now are built for the modern world. They’re not software-defined, there’s no integrated analytics. These file systems are incredibly hard to build. Our guys started in 2012. It’s their second time going through this, and by starting when we did, we were aware of what the modern world looked like. We can swing for the fences.”

Richter said Qumulo has already done most of the heavy lifting by building in features such as erasure coding and snapshots into its file system. “Those are big rocks to put in the bag,” he said. “Now we get to focus on pure innovation.”

Another focus will be on the cloud. Last year, Qumulo signed an OEM deal with Hewlett Packard Enterprise for HPE to sell Qumulo software on HPE Apollo servers. Richter said he will look for more OEM partners, as well as integration with Amazon and other public cloud providers.

“We’re doing a lot of work behind the scenes with public clouds,” Richter said. “You can’t found a company in Seattle in 2012 and not build a public cloud strategy.”

Qumulo claims it had a 425% year-over-year growth in petabytes shipped to customers, but does not say what its revenue growth is. Richter makes it clear that the young company is not yet close to break-even and the current funding likely will not be its last round.

“We’re in investment mode,” he said. “We’re hiring sales people as fast as we can. At the same time, we’re certainly cognizant of building a business structure with a long-term, sustainable profit model.”

Northern Light Venture Capital led the latest Qumulo funding round with previous investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Madrona Venture Group, Top Tier Capital Partners and Tyche Partners contributing.

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