Enterprise startup Nutanix ticks all the boxes.
The company has now raised $US172.2 million in four rounds of funding.
It has an impressive $US1 billion valuation after just four years.
An IPO is expected in the next 18 months.
Its central product an all-in-one hardware box for corporate data centres combining a computer server and storage. A company can snap together multiple Nutanix boxes and they all work together.
Others can do most of that.
What makes Nutanix different is the fact that all its secrets are out there for everyone to see.
And it’s deliberate. It’s all about the sales process.
Here’s the theory: today companies do most of their work deciding on what to buy without talking to a vendor. They go online first and they’re 60% to 70% away from a decision before they make contact with a vendor. In that case, Nutanix believes, the more information online the better.
Howard Ting, vice president marketing and product, says Nutanix from day one wanted to go after the large enterprise accounts.
And many of those have international operations which is why Nutanix has extensive sales outside the US.
In Australia, it has around 15 staff and this is expected to grow to 30 or more.
“One of the principles of our culture is that if you go and look on our website or on YouTube you will find lots and lots of documentation and videos which talk about the core intellectual property of the product,” says Howard, who’s in Australia for a few days in Sydney.
“This is the secret sauce behind Nutanix and it’s all out there and that’s very unusual.
“Most companies guard their technology secrets like it’s their lifeline.
“Our approach is different. We think building transparency builds trust and credibility because people understand what’s happening. It’s not just a black box.”
That transparency also applies to staff.
“We probably invest the most time in Twitter,” he says. “Every employee, roughly 450 of them, has a Twitter account and is active on Twitter.
“We also have an internal network which is powered by a tool called Yammer. It gives everyone an equal voice in the company. I can tell you that I take every question on marketing and product management very seriously.
“It makes the executive team and everyone at headquarters much more accessible.”
It’s working. 50% of Nutanix’s customers come back and buy again within six months and 70% come back within 12 months.
It’s all about customer acquisition.