“In the Studio,” Tintri’s Kieran Harty Brings Virtualized Storage To The Enterprise

Editor’s Note: Semil Shah is an EIR with Javelin Venture Partners and has been a contributor to TechCrunch since January 2011. You can follow him on Twitter at @semil.

“In the Studio” approaches the end of 2012 by welcoming the type of entrepreneur that doesn’t end up in the tech blogs very often, if ever, as they’re generally working on technologies that most of us would never fully understand and, given the stakes, spend the first few years of initial development in stealth mode for fear of being scooped by the competition.

Kieran Harty, CEO and co-founder of Tintri, is one of the most quiet, unassuming folks I’ve met in my short time in the Valley. Someone reached out to me about Harty’s background, and while I’m usually uninterested in getting pitched to be on this show, I found his story, his company, and his technology to be fascinating. Harty left Ireland for Stanford, studied under legendary professor and Google angel investor David Cheriton, earned a PhD in distributed systems, started out at TIBCO, then took a job as VP of Engineering at an early-stage company that happened to be VMware, helped build the team from 25 people, and left after many years, finally ready to embark on his own and participate in the culture of the Valley he had sought after many years ago.

In this longer discussion, Harty discusses two interesting topics:

  1. One, he goes into detail about the technology driving Tintri, which provides storage for virtualized environments, and how he went to his basement every day for over six months, noodling on ideas, until he found something that resonated with his close circle of advisors;
  2. And two, he discusses how he teamed up with large venture capital firm NEA as an EIR and began the process of finding a co-founder, developing a plan, and then went into hiding for over two years, quietly recruiting a team of engineers and investors to help them on the long go-to-market road that is enterprise IT sales, especially in today’s noisy storage market.

If you’re working at a large enterprise IT company and/or thinking about launching a new technology product in this space, I’d encourage you to listen to what Harty has to say, as he’s spent many years — decades even — behind the shadows, waiting for the moment to bring his ideas into the real world, and so far, with over 150 paying customers and big incumbents in a large multibillion dollar market in sight, the future indeed looks bright.