Today at TechCrunch Disrupt NY, DataGravity’s Paula Long took to the stage with our very own Ron Miller to discuss how to sell your startup, and why she came back for what Miller calls “another whack at the ball.”
Long noted that her prior company, EqualLogic, was “minutes” away from going public before it sold to Dell for $1.4 billion. According to Long, earlier offers in the $500 million range were too small compared to the profitable company’s revenue. However, when the offers stretched north of a billion, her attitude changed. In the view of the executive, when offers start with a “b,” you pay more attention.
The billion-dollar point is interesting, given the current focus inside of the technology industry’s infatuation with ‘unicorns,’ or companies that are worth more than a flat billion. In Long’s eyes, selling for more than a billion was her threshold, a marked difference from being valued in the private markets at a similar level.
Miller raised the question of timing. Given that EqualLogic was sold in the early days of the recession that came in 2008, how did she manage the deal with Dell? Long said that her firm was “in a market that didn’t get as effected by others.” given that everyone needs storage. “No one wants to delete their files,” she continued.
Asked what it was like to start another company after her previous success, Long said that it took her some time to find another idea that was “big enough.”
Finally, Miller asked Long about the current gender debate in technology. Long said that she didn’t feel that her gender had held her career back, and that in technology — for her — being a woman is an “advantage.”