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Actifio CEO talks about growth, quietly sacks bunch of staff

Copy data reducing startup goes into staff reducing mode

Copy data reduction startup Actifio has laid off some staff, the fifth storage startup we've heard about this month to do so.

We heard about a RIF of 10 – 15 per cent of the company, with sales, professional services and engineering affected, and more than 40 people affected overall.

On being asked about this, co-founder and CEO Ash Ashutosh said: "After six years of rapid growth, we took a close look at [the] productivity of sales and post-sales teams, turned over the non-productive ones, hired new teams and doubled down on profitable, high-growth areas.”

He emphasised that the business overall is expanding and growing: "In the last 90 days we hired new teams in Germany, East and West regions of US, hired dedicated account teams for our largest users and hired engineers focused on cloud architectures. For the new fiscal year, starting Feb 1, we are executing on a model of high growth with profitability by the end of the year."

The base for this high growth is 2015's final quarter and Ashutosh said: "We just closed Q4, which was our strongest revenue and cash flow quarter, capping a remarkable year for the company. Actifio now has over 1,200 enterprise users, including hundreds of global brands, and we power over 50 of the largest cloud service providers."

As far as staff are concerned, though, things were very different.

We are growing, building a profitable business and holding people accountable. Sometimes companies grow faster than people and some times people grow faster than companies. In each case, it is critical to make the necessary alignment. We made our own last quarter.

Let's just remind ourselves that this is people's livelihoods we're talking about, and people can't grow faster than companies unless management hires people it later doesn't need or hires the wrong people.

Actifio joins the list of downsizing storage startups that includes Atlantis, Data Gravity, Panasas and Tegile.

With startups abandoning growth-at-any-cost strategies and going for profitability instead, the risks of working for a startup are becoming greater. ®

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