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VMblog Expert Interview: WekaIO's Ken Grohe on driving exponential growth through a combination of great product and customer focus

interview weka ken grohe 

Storage industry veteran, Ken Grohe, has just joined WekaIO as President and Chief Revenue Officer (CRO). Grohe's appointment as a key member of the leadership team signals Weka's intent to move into the next phase of its strategic growth program. Enterprise Strategy Group analyst, Steve Duplessie, describes him as a "fantastic go-to-market executive" who will "absolutely help move Weka to the next level."

Grohe speaks to VMblog about his career, why he has joined WekaIO and his ambitious plans for driving growth at the company.  

VMblog:  You've had a long and illustrious career in the storage and software sectors.  Please tell us about some of the highlights.

Ken Grohe:  I spent the largest portion of my career at Dell EMC, where I was the company's 110th hire and was serving as VP and GM at the time that I left. My 25-year career with EMC was extremely rewarding, with the opportunity to steer sales and partnerships in disruptive businesses such as flash storage and the cloud. I established many of the initial solid-state, memory, storage, and software solutions and customer wins for EMC. Most recently I was heading up sales and marketing as CRO at Stellus, where I also launched the company from stealth. Prior to Stellus I was at Virident Systems as VP of Worldwide Customer Operations, where I helped grow the company from $3 million in bookings to a $685 million exit. I've also served as president at SignNow, as well as SVP and GM of Barracuda Networks.

VMblog:  With five job offers on the table, why did you choose to join WekaIO?

Grohe:  I was being pursued by several companies and was evaluating several offers. Weka stood out because I've been tracking Weka's development since its launch in stealth in 2017. I was excited by Weka's momentum, with 600% revenue growth in 2019 and continued growth through the difficult pandemic months of 2020. Plus, when I spoke to Weka customers, their enthusiasm for the products and technology impressed me. The vision that Liran [Zvibel, CEO and Co-Founder of WekaIO] shared with me for the company's future was also compelling. There are some big plans for the future - including a possible initial public offering. I'm really grateful to have the opportunity to be part of that journey and legacy.

VMblog:  Can you share insights about what you hope to achieve at Weka?

Grohe:  Weka's vision is to be the de-facto solution for enterprise storage on-premise and in the cloud-and I'm here to help guide the company to that vision. My charter is to ensure that Weka grows at an exponential rate and expands its market share. I'm confident that with Weka's accelerated customer adoption and major partnership announcements that we'll realize the vision.  have a strong track record in helping other major technology companies to achieve these goals. I have spent more than three decades in SaaS and storage - not only am I passionate about the technology, I also have years of experience in solving customers' problems. I'm looking forward to using this experience and proven success in this industry to help Weka reach new heights.

VMblog:  What sets Weka apart from the pack?

Grohe:  WekaIO is the leader in high performance scalable file storage for data-intensive applications commonly found in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, financial analytics, life sciences and genomics, and  across other industries. It offers epic performance at any scale and is the only file system that maximizes the investments in GPUs-keeping them saturated with data.. Our product is hardware-agnostic, heterogeneous, and scalable to petabyte levels. We solve storage problems for our customers, offering a cost-efficient modern file system optimized for flash and that is cloud-native. For customers who want to future proof their datacenter and accelerate time-to-market and to-value, Weka is the only file system that can deliver that. Weka was architected from the ground up to deliver high performance, low latency, and high bandwidth at cloud-scale economics-it's not an evolutionary step in storage, it's revolutionary. We'll be betting that a blend of a customer-centric outlook and great product will position us to win in a fast-changing enterprise market.

VMblog:  What role do you see for the channel and OEMs in Weka's future?

Grohe:  We'll be following four strategies to drive growth in the months to come: expand the partner ecosystem making more OEM partnership announcements soon; partner with OEMs; selling direct to mass customers as well as large enterprises, and selling through value-added resellers, integrators, and other channel partners. Something we've seen from VMware's success is that it's not only possible but desirable to grow the market in a way that creates an opportunity for everyone in the ecosystem.

For more information on how Weka solves big problems for our customers, see our customer testimonial page: https://www.weka.io/customer

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Watch this video to learn more.

Published Thursday, June 25, 2020 7:31 AM by David Marshall
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