10,000 Customer Milestone
Varun Mehta, Founder and Vice President of Operations
One of the most nail-biting questions in a startup’s early life is: now that we’ve built a product, will anybody buy it? At Nimble, we faced this question in the fall of 2010. We had worked for two-and-a-half years to perfect a high performance, flash-based storage array that was built from the ground up. We had even managed to persuade 10 beta customers to kick the tires starting in April of 2010. The plan was to run the beta for six months until October 2010, and then get down to the business of selling.
Fortunately, we didn’t even have to wait that long. Our first beta customer was Mohler Nixon, a local Bay Area accounting firm. They were so pleased with the performance, stability and ease of use that they became our very first customer in August 2010. They bought a pair of CS220 Adaptive Flash arrays for replicating between two cross-valley offices. The systems immediately boosted their primary storage performance by a factor of 10 and eliminated the Data Domain boxes they used for backup. A copy of our very first customer check is framed and proudly displayed at the Nimble headquarters in San Jose.
Those early days were exhilarating. Sales widely exceeded our projections. We had our share of customer escalations and late nights, fixing critical bugs and getting out new functionality. Our entire product development and support team was made up of just 18 engineers at the time, but they rose to the challenge and ensured that our customers had a wonderful experience.
By the end of 2010, we had exceeded our first quarter sales goal by a factor of three. We had also grown our customer base to 40 companies. In fact, the majority of arrays we shipped back in 2010 are still in operation, providing fast and reliable service to those early customers more than six years later. Many of those customers have come back and bought newer generations of systems as they continue to scale their businesses on Nimble.
Fast forward seven years to present day, and we are both thrilled and grateful for the 10,000 customers who now run their businesses on Nimble. If the average Nimble array serves 200 end users, then the work of 2 million people is positively impacted every day by the fast and reliable operation of our systems.
This is rarefied space. Few companies get to the point where they can claim such a magnitude of impact. In the enterprise storage array business, I would estimate that only five companies have achieved the 10,000 customer milestone in the last 20 years.
I’m also extremely proud of our product innovation that is unlike any other offerings available today:
- Nimble OS – a modern and multiple-media aware I/O stack built to extract the highest levels of performance, capacity and reliability from mainstream commodity components. This ensures industry leading functionality at very cost-effective prices.
- Infosight – a pioneering infrastructure, monitoring and management solution. It allows our 10,000 customers to manage their arrays at a much lower expense and with an unprecedented 99.9999% level of reliability.
A quick Google check reveals that customers love our support, and our Net Promoter Score of 85 proves it. Whether you have a problem with your Nimble system or even with a component that is connected to your storage, a call to Nimble routes you directly to a level 3 support engineer who will guide you to a solution.
In Sales, we are proud to have innovated in ways that have reduced complexity and enhanced the customer experience. This includes a simple two-line quote (1 entry for product and another for support), constant support pricing for five years, no additional software licensing fees, and the ability to upgrade controllers every three years as part of your support program.
To keep Nimble at the forefront of technology, we are working on new innovations that extend beyond storage and on-premise solutions. In 2017, you will see the biggest product line expansion in the history of the company. It’s going to be exciting for us, our current customers, and for the next 10,000 customers that we welcome to the Nimble family. I’m so appreciative of everyone who has helped us reach this significant milestone: our employees, customers and partners. Thank you for embarking on this very successful journey with us.
- Varun Mehta