Rubrik transitions to new phase as sales and engineering heads leave

Earlier this week, Blocks & Files reported the sudden departure of Rubrik’s Chief Revenue Officer Brett Shirk and several senior execs from the company. Since then we learnt that head of engineering Vinod Marur has also left the company. We caught up with Rubrik CEO and co-founder Bipul Sinha to ask him what was going on.

On our phone call yesterday Sinha painted the picture of a company growing at such breakneck pace that it needs to transition to new exec leadership as it enters new phases of growth.

Bipul Sinha

“We are on an exponential growth curve,” Sinha told us. “Obviously if you think about Rubrik as a high growth startup [then] what high growth does is that an average company takes 10 years to get to a point where a high growth startup can do it in two, three, four years. And then you have to constantly re platform the company for the next phase of growth.“

He thinks Rubrik is in the half a billion to two billion dollars transition phase right now. The company goes from zero to $100m, $100m to $300m, $300m to $500m, and $500m to $2bn is the next phase of growth.”

As a consequence, “when you enter that next phase of growth, you have to really think about things like talent, leadership, how are we approaching the market, and things like that, and that always leads to to new talent coming in to really accelerate the strategic direction and lead the next phase of growth.”

He told us that this new growth phase required different sales leadership, but emphasised: “Brett is an incredible leader, and he’s really built a powerful sales engine that we have today. And that really sets the platform for our next phase.”

So how well is Rubrik doing right now? The full 2020 year and fourth 2020 quarter, ended January 29, set revenue records, according to Sinha, who noted that Rubrik had grown against the background of a data management market that is changing to a service and subscription orientation.

Bullet points from his comments include;

  • “We added 300-plus new employees just last quarter.” 
  • “Our customer base is also increasing, very very rapidly. We now have over 3200 customers worldwide [and] our product is installed in over 55 countries around the world.”  
  • “Customer spend on Rubrik is also growing very rapidly with over 200 customers with more than a million dollar spend.” 
  • “We are going through the subscription transition of Rubrik. And quarter over quarter, our subscription product revenues are growing rapidly… we were nearly 70 per cent subscription last quarter.“
  • “So again, very very high growth and this is very important data for us because, as we mature our SaaS model, it is important to have subscription as the as the majority of our business.”

Enterprise SaaS supplier

“So what we’re seeing,” Sinha said, ‘is the thing is that we sell into the large enterprise segment, you’re not an SMB player and large enterprise segment when you’re selling like hundreds of thousands of dollars deals or millions of dollars deal it always has to be high touch.

“Even as a SaaS platform, you will have high touch sales, just like ServiceNow’s SasS platform. When you sell… millions of dollar deals to people [they do] not buy on phone or cell service budget because they want to understand the alignment vision, they are trusting you with their most important asset. It’s going to be a big deal.”

This “demands a different kind of sales process, a different kind of of sales leadership to definitely orient us in a different direction.” 

New CRO and engineering head

Brian McCarthy.

Sinha said Rubrik is appointing a new CRO, Brian McCarthy, who currently occupies the same role at ThoughtSpot. McCarthy is a “leader who has long experience in software and SaaS, to really lead the company and double down on the direction that we are going.”

Arvind Nithrakashyap (known as “Nitro”), Rubrik co-founder and CTO, has replaced SVP Vinod Marur as  the head of engineering. Sinha said: “So, Nitro as you know, has been my strategic partner from day one… He is the spiritual kind of guru of Rubrik engineering and… we brought him back to really strategically direct again the next round of Rubrik’s [growth].”

Regarding Marur, Sinha said: “We’re very thrilled about that our VP of Engineering, the role Marur had, has moved on to his next opportunity.  And he has done a fabulous job of really building the engineering team and the management team and the structure and brought in like lot of great discipline and a structure from Google. And he he wanted to pursue his passion in the next company.”

So, like Shirk, Marur built a great team that, now needs new leadership. It’s a ruthless world in accelerated growth companies like Rubrik.