Already a huge success from the first company he founded, Avamar of Irvine -- which he sold for $165 million in 2006 -- Jedidiah Yueh is on a roll again. His Menlo Park-based Delphix, which he founded in 2008, has tripled its sales over the past couple of years and boasts customers ranging from Facebook and eBay (EBAY) to Comcast and IBM.
Delphix helps businesses create mobile, website and other applications. Companies often consume enormous time and computer storage space making multiple copies of their data so it can be used to design, test and otherwise tweak their applications. To solve that problem, Yueh said, his software creates virtualized copies of the data, which lets companies create apps much quicker and with far less computing resources.
The 40-year-old Yueh discussed his ambitious plans for the company and how its product works in a recent interview that was edited for length and clarity.
Q How much does Delphix's software speed up the creation of applications?
A We help companies roll out their application projects 50 percent faster, sometimes as much as 80 percent faster. We've had cases where customers released programs in one-fifth the time.
Q Why is that important?
A That's a very big competitive advantage. Today businesses are becoming more and more reliant on applications. And the time it takes you to roll out new application releases and new features is very material to your ability to compete within a market. The applications are the way that you interact, as a business, with all of your contractors, employees, partners and customers. So for instance, Walmart is one of our customers. If they don't manage their e-commerce releases, new features and new products in a very agile and a very competent fashion, over the long haul they'll just completely lose the opportunity in the e-commerce space to companies like Amazon.
Q As I understand it, Delphix's software makes it easier for a company's employees to work on the same application simultaneously in different computerized environments. How does that help?
A It takes a lot of people a lot of time to pull just the right data for just the right phase of your development life cycle. And you're doing the same work over and over again, across a lot of environments. So it's a very manual set of operations. Once you install Delphix, we're automatically synchronizing the data. You just pick the time of the data that you want from whichever system you want it from, pick the system you want it delivered to and we open the data environment.
Q How difficult is it to create a product like that?
A If you look at technology companies, databases and applications are some of the most complex architectures and design elements. So creating virtualization around data and within these structures is very complex. It's one of the reasons why I moved up to the Bay Area. If you want to tackle this complex of a technology, this feature-rich of a platform, you need what I call the kingpin architects and engineers. You need people who have built major products before. And in our world you need them cross-functionally, you can't just hire them from the big database vendors or from the big systems vendors. You actually need kingpin architects from a couple of different domains.
Q You have about 150 employees now. Are you hiring more?
A We are. We've roughly doubled headcount over the past couple of years and we expect to roughly double headcount over the next year. It's hard to do more than that. You can. But then you have more people who don't know what they do than people who know what they do.
Q You said your annual sales are about $40 million now. What's your goal for Delphix over the next decade?
A It's roughly to double or triple sales for the next five, 10 years. That's the easy plan. And to build a big stand-alone software company. The market is big. The majority of IT spending occurs in the application maintenance and project markets, and that's really what we service
Contact Steve Johnson at 408-920-5043. Follow him at Twitter.com/steveatmercnews.
Place of birth: New York City
Current position: President and CEO of Delphix
Previous jobs: Vice president of product management at EMC, CEO of Avamar, chief operating officer of NTD
Education: A U.S. presidential scholar, he has a bachelor's degree in English from Harvard University
Residence: Menlo Park
Family: He's engaged
five facts about Jedidiah Yueh
1. His parents were born in mainland China, but fled its communist leadership to Taiwan and later to the U.S.
2. He's written a novel along the lines of "The Hobbit."
3. He never envisioned becoming an entrepreneur, but said he founded his first company -- Avamar -- when he realized its data-backup product filled a vital need.
4. He enjoys trying out top restaurants when traveling because he loves food, including molecular gastronomy, which involves altering food with scientific tools and ingredients.
5. He likes golf and calls himself "pretty good at pingpong," which he and his employees play at Delphix.