Karl brings more than 20 years of industry experience in building and leading regional sales team and businesses. Prior to Rubrik, he has been instrumental in growing startups from early stage to IPO. As the former Vice President, EMEA of Palo Alto Networks, he built a team of more than 200 members and a business of over $200M in annual booking run rate in five years. Before joining Palo Alto Networks, Karl was the Vice President, EMEA at Infoblox where he grew the business from scratch to over $40M in annual bookings run rate in four years. Most recently, he started the EMEA business as the Vice President of Elastica (acquired by Blue Coat Systems).
During our launch event this week, we sat down with Karl to discuss his perspective on expansion strategies for EMEA and qualities of successful companies.
Q: In your career, you have acted as a “growth detector.” What do you look for when you are expanding a company into a new market?
A: Before investing resources and time in a market or market segment you consider developing, you want to get validation of both the problem you’re addressing and the solution you will bring. Getting that validated by all parties you consider as vital in creating the success you’re aiming for is of paramount importance.
Q: What are attributes of great companies? What do you look for when you join a company?
A: Every time I assessed an opportunity during the last 20 years, I evaluated four questions:
- How big is the problem that you are addressing with the solution you need to bring to market? Each potential customer should agree that what you’re addressing is a major issue.
- How disruptive is the solution you are going to market with? It better be very disruptive.
- How big is that market today, in terms of annual spent, and what will be the CAGR during the next 5 years? It better be billions.
- Who are the investors, and what is their track record? It better be top tier VCs.
All the above boxes are checked at Rubrik!
Q: How do you define success?
A: You achieve success when customers, partners, employees, AND shareholders are happy. Every day.
Q: Tell us about the IT landscape for EMEA. Why is it ready for a change right now?
A: When considering the problem customers suffer from in their IT environment, specifically within data protection, EMEA is no different than any other part of the world. In some parts of the world, or even some parts of EMEA, the speed at which people adopt new solutions might be different. Just like with every technological era, there will be early adopters and late majority buyers. None of that changes the fact that the opportunity starts now!
Q: How is Rubrik uniquely positioned in the EMEA market?
A: When speaking to legacy vendors, partners, and customers, 99.9% of the EMEA market still thinks that traditional solutions are complex, difficult to implement, and maintain jeopardizing SLAs. This increases cost and lacks scalability. It is a unique opportunity to revolutionize this market and become the thought leader in what will be the start of a new era. Also, it is a unique opportunity to lock in the premium routes to market through the right partnerships. Even more, it is a unique opportunity to be the first in defining the prospective customer’s thinking.
Q: What are you most excited about for Rubrik?
A: The opportunity to write history.