Actifio Chief Ash Ashutosh Does Not Rule Out IPO, But Says Pressure to Do So Has Dropped

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Ash Ashutosh

BOSTON—Actifio founder and Chief Executive Officer Ash Ashutosh is not ruling out an initial public offering (IPO) in the near future but says the pressure to do so has dropped, according to Boston Business Journal.

Data-management startup Actifio joined a handful of Massachusetts unicorns — private companies valued at more than $1 billion — with a $100 million round of funding in 2014, according to Boston Business Journal. Since then, it has been seen as a prime candidate for an initial public offering, most recently being included in a list of potential 2017 IPOs by research firm CBInsights.

Ash Ashutosh

“Three years ago there was a lot more, I would say, concern by the customers on making sure that the platform they were choosing was going to be a viable company, but a couple of things happened,” Ashutosh told Boston Business JOurnal. “One, we are very well capitalized. We raised quite a bit of money to make sure we are able to support the customers. Two, even more importantly, the companies they thought were going to be reliable, public ones they thought they could count on, disappeared.”

An informal motto around Actifio is that “fast is the new big,” capturing Ashutosh’s belief that the ability to change to meet customer needs matters more than dominating a particular market niche, Boston Business Journal said.

Actifio now employs about 75 people in its Waltham office, half of its local headcount in January 2015, and about 320 worldwide, according to Boston Business Journal.

“Now we are in the third phase of saying, ‘Okay, can we figure out a business model that allows us to demonstrate that we can actually make it into a profitable business?” Ashutosh told Boston Business Journal. “So cash-flow positive is an important milestone for us to demonstrate that this is a sustainable, viable business. And the options to figure out which part of the business we focus or de-emphasize becomes easier to implement at that point.”

Ashutosh said he told the company at the beginning of 2016 that he wanted to break even or show a profit by the end of the year. Actifio was cash-flow positive in the third quarter, ahead of schedule, Ashutosh said, though he doesn’t consider that “sustainable” yet, according to Boston Business Journal.

Ashutosh doesn’t think Actifio’s remaining a private company will be necessary for its future success, Boston Business Journal reported.

“The mistake most public companies make is they think that the number one criteria is to somehow show to the shareholders that you’re improving at some numbers as opposed to responding to the customer,” Ashutosh told Boston Business Journal. “If you’re in the right market and you’re able to respond to what’s required by the customers — if you’re able to respond to keeping them absolutely delighted, whether you’re public or private (you will find success).”

Ashutosh, founder and CEO of Actifio, was most recently a Partner with Greylock Partners where he focused on making investments in enterprise IT companies. Prior to Greylock, he was Vice President and Chief Technologist for HP Storage.

Ashutosh founded and led AppIQ, a market leader of Storage Resource Management (SRM) solutions, which was acquired by HP in 2005. He was also the founder of Serano Systems, a Fibre Channel controller solutions provider, acquired by Vitesse Semiconductor in 1999. Prior to Serano, Ashutosh was Senior Vice President at StorageNetworks, the industry’s first Storage Service Provider.

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