Vexata dredges new channels as storm clouds gather

Vexata, the extreme high-performance storage array startup, has laid off several staff and imposed pay cuts, according to industry sources. The company declined to comment on pay or confirm the number of job losses.

Founded in 2013, Vexata has raised $54m in four funding rounds, of which the most recent was a $5m top-up in 2017.

The company’s scale-out VX-Cloud software and VX-100 software/hardware system comprises intelligent front-end servers talking to intelligent back-end NVMe storage nodes. Performance is claimed at 20 million IOPS.

In an interview, Vexata said a recent reorganisation saw the company move from direct sales to channel partnerships and had resulted in some departures. We can confirm at time of writing four job losses, but our sources say several more are in the market looking for new roles.

Blocks & Files understands Farad Haghighi, VP worldwide support and services, and Stephen King, director of sales and business development, left in January. Jack Dyke, senior solutions engineer, was laid off recently and Mithun Jose, staff engineer in India, left this month.

Vexata’s view

Rick Walsworth, VP product and solution marketing, told us in an email interview, that Vexata had “made some strategic shifts and subsequent adjustments in staffing and expenses to align to the new strategies. Specifically, we have adjusted focus on two areas; Go to Market motion and Product Development.

He explained: “As of Q4 of last year we made a strategic shift towards partner-driven sales motion vs a direct sales motion.  While we retain a handful of strategic sales executives for large accounts, we are driving most of our sales growth through this new partner motion. 

“The Fujitsu announcement in November last year was the first of many anticipated announcements. Since that partnership announcement, Fujitsu has been able to nearly double our pipeline in the last quarter. We expect this to ramp even further as we engage with Fujitsu on a global scale.”

Walsworth said the company had “also ramped work on our cloud and cloud-scale focused offering, which you saw as part of the VX-Cloud announcement a few weeks back. This shift meant an alignment on engineering talent around this new market and appropriate adjustments to ensure we can deliver to the unique product and market needs.”

Pivotal changes

The all-flash array market is a tough business environment for startups. Judging from its actions Vexata is seeking to reduce cash burn as it fights to gain traction in a market dominated by established storage vendors.

This explains the pivot to partner sales to expand sales coverage and also to cloud software to reduce engineering costs and capitalise on customer movement to the cloud.