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Think Big. Move Fast.

One of my favorite things about the tech industry is that reputations and relationships matter. Unlike Wall Street, or Hollywood, people in the tech industry pay it forward and treat each other well.  This isn’t just Northern California touchie feelie; life goes in cycles and startups are a repeat game. We will all see each other again if we hang around the valley long enough. The path that led Aaron Batalion to join Lightspeed as my partner, focusing on consumer investments, is one of those relationship driven stories.

My first job out of college was at McKinsey in the Sydney office. A few years later my boss there, Charles Conn (who now runs the Rhodes Scholarship program), left the Firm to found CitySearch, a first generation online cityguide business. I didn’t know anything about the internet, but I knew that he was a very smart guy, so I called him and asked if I could come. He said yes, so I found myself in Los Angeles during the first internet boom. It was 1996, so within 6 months anyone working in the internet was a relative expert, and I’ve been working in consumer tech ever since.

One of my bosses at CitySearch was John Pleasants, who was later CEO of Playdom, one of our portfolio companies, and sold it to Disney. But in between he was CEO of Revolution Health, and he introduced me to Aaron Batalion and the other founders of Hungry Machine when they left Revolution to go out on their own. These are some “smart and scrappy founders” he told me, keep an eye on them.


A year later and the Hungry Machine team had one of the top apps on Facebook, a social network for book lovers called Visual Bookshelf. I loved the team and what they were doing and would have loved to lead their A round, but I was on the board of Flixster, a social network for movie fans, and the potential for future conflict seemed high. So we didn’t invest but kept in touch and I tried to be helpful.

Another year or two passed and Hungry Machine had become the biggest publisher on Facebook through a network of top apps, including Pick Your Five, the biggest single app on the platform. Again, I loved the team and what they were doing, and would have loved to lead their B round, but I was on the board of Rock You, a competitive publisher of Facebook apps. So once again we didn’t invest, but kept in touch and I tried to be helpful.

Another year or two passed and Hungry Machine had become LivingSocial, a local daily-deals website that was growing very fast. I still loved the team, I once again loved what they were doing, and this time I had no conflicts. We were able to invest!

Over the next four years I worked closely with Aaron and his cofounders as LivingSocial rode out the ups and down of the local daily-deals space. We worked together through good times and bad. I got to see him in all conditions, from trying to keep the site up through incredibly growth to making tough decisions about cost reduction, from finding clever new channels for customer acquisition to piloting new product lines at lightning speed. And throughout I saw him live and exemplify LivingSocial’s core values, (i) Make strong moves, (ii) Recognize others, (iii) Surprise and delight, (iv) Live hungry and (v) Champion good ideas. Aaron was not an introverted CTO. He was certainly incredibly strong technically, but he brought business, product and culture insights to the boardroom discussion that had a major impact on the way the company was run.

Three years ago Aaron moved to the Bay area, and eventually he left LivingSocial, planning to start another company. In the meantime he did what he does best, help other people. He became an in-demand advisor and individual investor in other startups, sharing the lessons learned through his own founder journey. He and I spent more time together as he pondered what his next startup would be. Eventually he came to realize that he was enjoying working with other founders more and more, and that he wanted to turn that into his profession.

When Aaron made this decision, a number of firms wooed him to join their teams. Happily for Lightspeed, the time that we had spent together over the last few years, and the way that Lightspeed has remained a supportive and involved investor in LivingSocial, in good times and bad, gave him a real comfort that he would find a cultural fit with our team. And so we’re so thrilled to have him join us, an overnight addition, seven years in the making!

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By: Will Kohler and John Vrionis

Datos logo 2


We are thrilled to be partnered with Tarun and Prasenjit, founders of Datos IO, who just announced their Big Data recovery solution for customers of scale-out databases such as Cassandra and MongoDB.

Early stage investing always comes down to two things: people and market. Datos IO has both in good measure.

People build products. In the enterprise space, we often find that the product visionaries behind the next great success come from the ranks of the legacy incumbents. Their deep domain knowledge enables them to recognize the flaws in the current products, and their entrepreneurial drive seeks to redefine or disrupt the market.

It was immediately clear that Tarun and Prasenjit are the types of people we’re looking to support. Tarun didn’t just sort of understand the data management and application recovery domain:  He was a product manager at Data Domain, THE 800lb gorilla in the category. Prasenjit didn’t just know a little bit about storage systems and software: He helped architect the very first iSCSI storage controller at IBM Research.

The best startups have founders who are magnets for talent. They are magnets because of their world-class abilities and their vision, and because they are compelling storytellers. They also have the ability to become great leaders if they are good human beings with a track record of treating people the right way and having the highest level of integrity. Tarun and Prasenjit are all of the things we look for in a set of founders.  datos headshot

The other equally important factor in investing in Datos IO was our belief in the market opportunity and timing.

To remain competitive in today’s economy, startups and enterprises are making data a top priority, allowing them to engage and understand customers like never before. This data-centric world encompasses social, mobile, and cloud environments and an increasing number of real-time applications that generate unprecedented levels of business insights. Think IoT, on-demand commerce, mobile front-ends, real-time analytics, digital advertising, fraud detection, and much more.

The demands of Big Data are forcing enterprises to rethink their entire IT infrastructure stack. We’ve had a front seat from the beginning of this process through our founding investments in DataStax and MapR. Growth rates for these new distributed apps and databases has reached critical mass. Companies are standardizing on NoSQL platforms, providing tailwinds for an estimated 35% CAGR in the NoSQL market from 2014-2020, according to some analysts.

As enterprises adopt scale-out databases to remain competitive, IT groups need a next-generation recovery platform to manage their mission-critical applications at the core of massive revenue streams. Tarun and Prasenjit come from this world, and they understand that managing recovery with Python scripts is not going to cut it.

Datos IO is introducing the first big data recovery platform that offers a “single state of truth” for distributed applications. Maintaining consistent versioning across all scale-out data stores for enterprise applications is a big deal, and not just for application owners and heads of IT infrastructure. DevOps can formulate versioning and recovery mechanisms to orchestrate delivery of applications including test and deployment, continuous integrations, and version control. And of course DBAs must ensure that new databases offer the same kind of enterprise-grade data lifecycle management capabilities as in traditional relational databases.

Tarun and Prasenjit have addressed the question of recovery in their past lives at Data Domain and IBM, respectively, and we’re extremely fortunate to partner with them as they reinvent it for the new data-centric world.

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Today we are excited to announce Lightspeed’s $10 million Series A investment in Rubrik. Just as Apple built a time machine to protect Macs, Rubrik has built a powerful time machine for enterprise cloud infrastructure that unites data management with web-scale technology.

A market size of epic proportions, a groundbreaking architectural approach, and a world-class founding team drove our decision to invest.

A $47 Billion Data Management Market

This year, IDC estimates that enterprises will spend $47 billion on infrastructure to manage data across business continuity (data protection, replication, recovery), regulatory compliance (archiving, eDiscovery), and business growth (application development/testing, analytics). The Rubrik time machine—Rubrik Converged Data Management—not only delivers backup and recovery but also lays the foundation to addressing each of these areas. For example, enterprises using Rubrik can accelerate DevOps by provisioning on-demand infrastructure for application development and testing.

A Radical New Approach

The velocity at which data is managed is crucial to business survival today. Rubrik innovates with a slimmer architectural approach to delivering instant recovery by eliminating the need for backup software. RubrikRubrik customers have gotten up and running within 15 minutes, slashing the amount of time (sometimes up to 6 months) required to establish and customize their backup and data protection environments and enable de-duplicated storage systems underneath.

In addition, Rubrik’s architectural approach recognizes the voracious need of today’s enterprises to manage ever-increasing volumes of data. Rubrik introduces web-scale technology to data management for the first time. Think Google and Amazon scale-out data centers. That means customers can scale up to thousands of nodes to handle PBs of data with no re-architectural changes or forklift upgrades.

A World-Class Team

When Lightspeed invests in companies, we look for people with the potential to be world-class entrepreneurs. Prior to Rubrik, Bipul Sinha was my colleague and partner at Lightspeed. He has an amazing knack for identifying and mentoring star entrepreneurs building radical new technologies to disrupt massive industries and has already been involved in some pretty game-changing companies like  Nutanix, PernixData, and Numerify. One year ago, Bipul decided to co-found Rubrik with Arvind Jain (Google Distinguished Engineer, founding engineer of Riverbed), Soham Mazumdar (Google Staff Engineer, co-founder of Teragoogle, Google Founder’s Award recipient), and Arvind Nithrakashyap (co-founder of Oracle Exadata, a $3Bn+ annual business). Together, they have built an all-star team from Google, Facebook, Data Domain, and VMware to revolutionize the data management industry by transforming complex, legacy enterprise IT into elegant products that are dead simple to use.

It’s a privilege to be working with Bipul, Arvind^2,  Soham and the rest of the team. Lightspeed is thrilled to partner with Rubrik on its journey to build a large, lasting, game-changing company.

Check out Rubrik’s Early Access program.
See Rubrik’s press release and keep up with the latest news @rubrikInc on Twitter.

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Highfive will change the way we work together

Arif Janmohamed, Partner, Lightspeed Venture Partner


“Please enter your 9 digit meeting code and hit pound.”
“Sorry, that passcode is incorrect.”
“Please enter your 9 digit meeting code and hit pound.”
“At …

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Prescient words from the CEO/Founder of Nutanix, Dheeraj Pandey . . . he wrote this almost 4 years ago and the future is turning to look a lot like what he predicted . . . .


Why Nutanix, and

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Today we are excited to announce that Lightspeed Venture Partners is leading Guardant Health’s $50M Series C. For the last few years, we have been closely following advancements in genomics that have brought down the cost of sequencing the …

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Today we are excited to announce that Lightspeed is leading Clever’s $30M Series B. When we first met the founders Tyler Bosmeny, Dan Carroll, and Rafael Garcia, we were blown away by both their vision for transforming education and the …

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When Avi Networks founders Umesh Mahajan, Murali Basavaiah, and Ranga Rajagopalan first came to Lightspeed in 2012 with their vision of bringing the benefits of a hyperscale approach to application delivery and layer 4-7 services, it made perfect sense to …

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Once every few years, the combination of a couple of macro trends allows for a new software category to emerge. At Lightspeed, we believe such a confluence of macro factors is coming together to create the next big software category: …

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Today we are excited to announce that we are co-leading the first venture round in Blockchain, the leading Bitcoin wallet; a $30M Series A.

We have been studying and investing in the Bitcoin space for a couple of years …

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