Meet the founder behind Rubrik, one of Lightspeed’s biggest investments to date

Meet the founder behind Rubrik, one of Lightspeed’s biggest investments to date.

Doubling down — our investment in Rubrik

In your career as a venture capitalist, you hope to meet a founder as talented and unique as Bipul Sinha. Not only have I had the pleasure of being an investor in Bipul and Rubrik, I’ve also had the privilege to work side by side with him when we were Partners at Lightspeed together not too long ago.

When Bipul was first getting Rubrik off the ground, the company was incubated at Lightspeed’s offices in Menlo Park. Over the course of those eight months, I remember engineer after engineer walking into our offices for “speed-dating” rounds as Bipul built the early team. The energy in our offices was palpable. Equally noticeable — the uptick in DoorDash orders and snack consumption as the body count in our office tripled. At one point, we purchased outdoor furniture to serve as office space, as we had packed every nook and cranny indoors. I remember joking with Bipul at one point to stop hiring — we were literally bursting at the seams.

It was a good problem to have.

Today, Rubrik is one of the fastest growing enterprise companies in the valley, having reached a $100M run rate in only 6 quarters, which is pretty astounding when you think about it. Our most recent commitment announced last week, combined with our existing investment, means we’re backing Rubrik to the tune of $140M — one of the biggest investments that we’ve ever made at Lightspeed.

I had a chance to sit down with Bipul recently and talk about the past, present and future of Rubrik.

Ravi: Going back to the beginning, how did you come up with the idea for Rubrik and how did you get it off the ground?

Bipul: During my career as a VC investor, I had great success identifying market opportunities, and then finding or assembling teams to chase those opportunities. Four years ago, I was looking into the backup and recovery market, and I was trying to comprehend what implications public cloud adoption would have on this market. I realized there was a huge looming problem with how companies would want to manage data protection in the hybrid cloud, and that this vast $50 billion market was ripe for a radically new approach. My co-founders (Arvind Nithrakashyap, Arvind Jain and Soham Mazumdar) and I had known each other for a while, and we thought — what if we created a single, scale-out software fabric from scratch that was built for cloud? That’s how Rubrik was born. We incubated the company at Lightspeed’s offices and recruited a team of top engineers from Google, Facebook, and Apple to pioneer this new approach to an old problem. The power of the idea quickly resonated in the market, and we saw rapid adoption across all verticals as enterprises looked to us as the new standard for data management.

Ravi: What was that initial “a ha” moment you had before deciding to found Rubrik? And what big problem is Rubrik solving for?

Bipul: The “a ha” moment we had was when we started researching this idea and started looking at legacy solutions. We realized how immense the pain and frustration was with current solutions in the market, how little value data protection added, and how much it cost to implement and maintain legacy solutions. We knew we could not only fix that, but also deliver a killer application to make cloud a reality for the enterprise. We solve the problem of data being locked in disparate silos without instantaneous data access and mobility by delivering a single platform to manage all data throughout its lifecycle, regardless of location.

Ravi: I’ve watched firsthand as you’ve channeled your investment instincts towards where the market was moving, and changed the sector by building something. How do you think sitting on the investor / VC side has influenced your mindset as a founder, and vice versa? Does it give you an advantage that you’ve sat on both sides of the table?

Bipul: From being a VC, I understood that companies with a long-term vision, solid business model, and path to becoming a large company would always succeed. As a founder, my goal is to build a sustainable business model, and to focus on the success of our customers and partners. Transitioning from a VC to an entrepreneur is a shift into a mindset of seeing more opportunities than hurdles, and focusing on continuous problem-solving.

Ravi: How is life different as a CEO? How do you allocate your time during a typical day as CEO?

Bipul: As a CEO, I have a real opportunity to make a direct impact on a day to day basis. Every day, I am inspired by and focused on how Rubrik can continue to deliver success for our customers, partners, and employees. I spend my time ensuring all aspects of the business are aligned with our vision — from engaging with customers to keep a pulse on the market, hiring top talent with the right DNA to drive innovation and culture, to working with our product team to build a product that delights our customers.

Ravi: You’re now hiring 70–90 new employees per quarter. That’s a lot. What is the landscape right now for good talent? How competitive is it, and how are you able to attract amazing talent at that rate?

Bipul: What allows us to achieve our unprecedented velocity is hiring and retaining the best people who embody our company values. The market for top tier talent is intensely competitive, but we are attracting talent at a high rate because people see us as a leader not just in our market, but in technology overall. We have top engineers joining from large companies like Google and Facebook because they realize they can make a big impact at Rubrik. We offer people a place to unleash their creative energy. Rubrik is comfortable doing new and ambitious things in all aspects of the business — from design to product to sales. This a team that has had eight major product releases and have bookings approaching $100 million, all in the span of three years. People want to be part of the movement and build a company with a great vision.

Ravi: Customers — what did you learn from your early customers that you are applying now?

Bipul: From early on, we’ve been fortunate to have many large enterprise and Fortune 500 customers across all industries. As I mentioned, our early customers validated our vision of the market opportunity and the strong demand for what we were doing. Beyond that, we learned to approach our early customers as partners and we’ve had valuable dialogues on everything from UI to support communications and marketing messaging.

Ravi: What is your ultimate vision for Rubrik?

Bipul: In the future, data will be like money — secure and managed, but also universally available wherever and whenever it is needed. I envision that Rubrik can be like the Visa for enterprise — providing our customers with a simple, ubiquitous and reliable solution for their most valuable asset, their data. We want to be the platform that enables enterprises to use their data across clouds, anytime, anywhere.