Out with the old, in with the new — Pavilion Data hires a CEO

Pavilion Data has dropped its product guy, Gurpreet Singh, after four years as Chief Exec, and exchanged him for experienced business CEO Dario Zamarian.

This abrupt change happened on July 1, when Pavilion issued a statement: “Mr. Zamarian brings to Pavilion extensive experience with enterprise technology go-to-market motions from his roles at Cisco and Dell, in addition to being embedded in the investment world with a background in private equity advisor positions.”

Dario Zamarian posing for Pavilion PR shoot.

Mike Gustafson, Pavilion’s Chairman, said in a canned quote: “The Board sought out Dario Zamarian because his proven experience and leadership will serve as a catalyst to drive Pavilion forward as it enters its next phase of accelerated growth. Dario’s track record with building enterprise companies, coupled with his leadership experience, makes him the right person to be Pavilion’s next leader.”

Gurpreet Singh.

No hard feelings

Our private understanding is that this means transitional CEO Gurpreet Singh was not considered capable of getting Pavilion’s growth rate up to the level that Zamarian could. Singh is quoted as saying: “Pavilion is in a great position for its next phase of growth. I am excited to be handing over the CEO reins to Dario, who I’ve known for more than ten years. Dario is well equipped to meet the tremendous opportunities in front of Pavilion.”

Better than Singh, apparently, and it’s nice of Singh to say so. 

Pavilion, founded in 2014, produces a multi-controller, all-NVMe SSD array — the HyperParallel Flash Array — and positions it as the fastest array in the industry. It is a proprietary hardware design, competing with software-defined storage products as well as all-flash arrays from Dell, HPE, IBM, NetApp, Pure Storage, StorONE and VAST Data, and the memory-cached Infinidat arrays. That’s a lot of competition for a hot box with a parallel file system.

Pavilion’s HyperParallel all-NVMe SSD, NVe-oF array.

With Singh as its CEO, Pavilion matured from pre-product stage to significant early revenue growth from its Hyperparallel Data Platform product. Singh also led the company’s early marketing and sales wins, and took the company through multiple financing rounds.

About that financing …

Funding VCs came out with enthusiastic encomiums for Zamarian and Pavilion’s prospects.

Wen Hsieh, General Partner at Kleiner Perkins, gushed: “We believe Pavilion is poised to be one of Silicon Valley’s foundational companies because of its unmatched ability to accelerate compute, thereby enabling customers to get to answers faster.” 

Brian Wilcove, General Partner at Artiman Ventures, was similarly glowing: “With the key wins Pavilion has secured in Media & Entertainment, Financial Services, Healthcare, and High Performance Computing as a foundation for accelerating growth, now is the time to bring in Dario with his wealth of experience scaling companies. His capital market experience will also support Pavilion’s continued momentum.”

That point about capital market experience sent us looking into our funding history file for Pavilion. It last raised $25 million in a C-round in September 2019, and total funding is just $58 million. That seems light compared to multi-hundred-million-dollar funding totals for some other storage startups. For example, Panasas gathered $155 million, Pensando managed $278 million, and Pure Storage scraped together $470 million before its IPO.

We think Pavilion will need to raise more money. Zamarian has been brought in to get the company growing fast enough for the VCs to feel happy about its potential — and pump in more cash.