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Tintri CEO Barton tells board: ‘I'm outta here’

The captain of fast-sinking Tintri has abandoned ship, just three months after he came aboard as a lifesaver.

Tintri CEO Thomas Barton, 54, informed the board of his decision on Monday, according to a securities filing. Tintri did not elaborate on the reason for Barton’s departure, but said it was not due to a “disagreement” or matters pertaining to Tintri’s operations.

Shares of Tintri  sank nearly 25% on the news, closing Tuesday trading at a new low of 19 cents a share. A new Tintri CEO has not been named, and it may soon be a moot point, given the vendor’s ongoing struggles to acquire new funding, repay debt and retain customers. Tintri officials did not respond to interview requests.

Tintri was unable to make a timely earnings report last quarter, and its shares have been trading under the $1 price minimum needed to retain listing on Nasdaq. Under Nasdaq rules, such companies have 180 days to reestablish the share-price requirement, but it’s not likely Tintri will be around to worry about it.

When it revealed preliminary earnings last week, Tintri said it lacks “sufficient liquidity” to continue operations beyond June 30. That date is the one-year anniversary of Tintri’s initial public offering, a move it undertook to stay afloat financially following years of heavy losses and a drop in venture  funding.

Going public has not panned out according to plan. In the same earnings report, Tintri publicly acknowledged for the first time that “existing and potential customers and suppliers have expressed concerns regarding the company’s financial condition.”

According to the filing, Tintri owes $15.4 million in principal outstanding for a line of credit with Silicon Valley Bank and $50 million related to a credit facility with TriplePoint Capital LLC. Another $25 million of junior debt is tied to subordinated notes, bringing Tintri’s indebtedness to $90.4 million. Against that, Tintri has about $42.5 million in aggregate cash and cash equivalents.

Barton is the second Tintri CEO in four months to resign. He took over for Ken Klein, who left the job in March after five years at the helm.

Launched in 2008, Tintri initially marketed its all-flash storage for VMware shops. The company since has transitioned to hybrid and all-flash cloud arrays for hyper-scale environments. Although its technology has received high marks for scale and manageability, Tintri has struggled to sell enough storage to outrun a succession of quarterly losses.

Barton officially started as Tintri CEO on April 2 at a salary of $400,000, with the opportunity to earn $250,000 in performance-based cash bonuses. He added the title of interim CFO in May.

Industry observers considered Barton a good choice, given his background in both enterprise storage and venture investment. Barton joined Tintri from Broken Arrow Venture Capital, a Los Gatos, Calif., firm where he had been a founding partner since 2007.

From 2002 to 2007, Barton was president and CEO of Rackable Systems, a maker of x86 storage servers. Rackable Systems was acquired by Silicon Graphics International after Barton had left the company, and the technology became part of Hewlett Packard Enterprise after it acquired SGI in 2016.

Regardless of how he baited the hook this time, Barton apparently was unable to get investors to bite. Rather than fish from the side, Barton decided to make landfall, leaving Tintri even further adrift at sea.

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Struggles to acquire a new funding,repay debt retain customers
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