HP is facing the decline of several key businesses, but it still has talented engineers and execs that are coveted by other enterprise tech vendors.
HP’s Vertica unit is one part of the company that’s getting a lot of attention these days, especially from Boston-area big data startups.
Vertica, which HP acquired in 2011 for around $350 million, makes an in-memory database with analytics tech that can crunch huge amounts of data quickly. It’s a highly regarded product that was built by some of the brightest engineers in the business.
The problem for HP is that not all of them are sticking around. Some top Vertica engineers and execs have left because their so-called “golden handcuffs” have come off. Others were recruited away by VC funded big data startups hungry for top talent.
All told, about half the staff that joined HP in its March 2011 acquisition of Vertica has left, according to one former employee.
Here’s where they’ve ended up:
- Derek Schoettle, who was HP Vertica’s VP of communications, media and entertainment, left in November 2011 to become CEO of Cloudant.
- Rob O’Brien, former field engineer at HP Vertica, is VP of customer service at Cloudant.
- Andy Ellicott, who was senior marketing director at Vertica from 2006 to 2009, two years before HP acquired it, is Cloudant’s VP of marketing.
Hadapt, a Boston-based big data startup whose flagship product integrates SQL, a database tech, with Hadoop, one of the hottest big data techs.
- Mingsheng Hong joined Hadapt in June 2012 as chief data scientist. He was previously HP Vertica’s field CTO.
- Scott Howser, HP Vertica’s former VP of product marketing, left in June and now has the same role at Hadapt.
- Joe Cavanaugh, a systems engineering manager at HP Vertica, left earlier this month to become solutions architect at Sqrrl.
- Ari Daskalakis, HP Vertica’s VP of pre-sales and professional services left last month and is now VP of technical services at Sqrrl.
Other Vertica vets have ended up in Boston-based tech roles:
- Chris Lynch, Vertica’s CEO when HP acquired it, left in March 2012 and is now a partner with Cambridge, Mass.-based venture capital firm Atlas Venture.
- Former HP Vertica CTO Dan Holle left last May to take the CTO position at Greenplum, a division of EMC, and also part of the EMC-VMware joint venture called the Pivotal Initiative.
- Andrew Lamb, former lead developer of HP Vertica’s query optimizer team, is now chief architect at Boston-based big data startup Nutonian. It develops Eureqa, a tech used by more than 30,000 scientists worldwide that turns raw data into mathematical questions.
- Min Xiao, HP Vertica’s former director of corporate pre-sales and professional services, is now field engineering lead at Data Tamer, a stealth mode startup founded by MIT professor and database expert Michael Stonebraker and entrepreneur Andy Palmer, who launched Vertica.
Despite the employee exodus, Vertica is still has around 40 core developers and “lots of promising new hires,” one source tells us.