WekaIO hires industry sales vet as chief revenue officer

WekaIO has hired Ken Grohe as president and chief revenue officer, as it looks to ramp up to IPO.

Grohe joins from Stellus Technologies, a Samsung backed startup that shut down the entire sales and marketing team in April – just three months after launching its first product.

Ken Grohe headshot
Ken Grohe.

Weka CEO Liran Zvibel said in a statement: “Ken’s expertise in this market and keen understanding of the customer journey will be the catalyst that drives the next phase of growth for Weka… Ken’s role will be influential in executing the company’s vision to become the de-facto solution for enterprise high-performance computing.”

Steve Duplessie, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) chipped in: “I have known Ken since our shared time at EMC, he is one of the best performing sales and marketing executives you will ever meet.”

Grohe’s career includes senior positions at SignNow, Barracuda Networks, Virident, and encompasses a 25-year stint at Dell EMC, where he finished as GM for the global flash business.  

He told us he had been job hunting and had received two written and two verbal offers when the Weka offer arrived. Grohe said customers he talked to advised him to join WekaIO. Weka’s momentum impressed him, with its 600 per cent revenue growth rate in 2019, and so far maintaining growth rates in the pandemic.

“This company more resembles VMware than any other company I know,” Grohe added. He said its product is hardware-agnostic and heterogeneous, widely applicable and scales to huge levels; “We eat petabytes for lunch.”

Sales success

He noted existing OEMs, like HPE, have already invested in Weka. And he reckons it can keep the peace with partners – as VMare does -and grow the market overall for everyone.

Grohe tells us there are four general strategies to grow sales to high levels; VARs, OEMs, selling direct to masses of customers, and big game hunting – going directly for million dollar-size deals. Weka is equipped to do all four simultaneously, he said.

There’s confidence there. In his hiring announcement he declarles: “I have proven success in this market, and I am grateful to join the leadership team and to have the opportunity to influence and guide Weka into the next phase of growth…The pathway to IPO is ahead of us.”

Stellus

And Stellus? Grohe declined to comment. That company has gone quiet since May and executives are not responding to our enquiries.

That company launched its first product at the beginning of February. So what reason would there be for CEO Jeff Treuhaft to pull the sales and marketing plug three months later? Did Samsung cut funding for some reason? is it pandemic-related? It’s a mystery.

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