Startup Spotlight: Road trip leads to disaster recovery startup Doyenz

Doyenz CEO Ashutosh Tiwary

You’ve got a lot of time to think when traveling by RV from South Carolina to Washington state — a good 2,300 miles. Ashutosh Tiwary didn’t spend his time singing car-trip songs or playing the license plate game.

Instead, Tiwary took full advantage of the hours, brainstorming for much of the voyage by phone with Przemek Pardyak about a new type of IT disaster recovery service. The result of that road trip four years ago was Doyenz, which was founded a month later upon Tiwary’s arrival in Seattle when a business plan was scribbled on a napkin at Tully’s coffee.

Today, Doyenz employs more than 60 people and the company boasts board members such as Visio co-founder Jeremy Jaech. (Correction. Visio co-founder Jeremy Jaech was incorrectly listed as an investor in Doyenz. He sits on the company’s board).

We chatted with he 50-year-old Tiwary — who previously co-founded Performant and worked on the Visual Studio Team at Microsoft – for the latest installment of Startup Spotlight.

Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “Fire, flood, theft, calamity, you name it—we have your IT systems protected and ready to run when disaster strikes.”

Inspiration hit when: “I was driving solo cross-country in a motorhome discussing ideas for our next startup over the phone with my co-founder Przemek Pardyak. We knew there was a void in the (small and medium-sized business) market for true enterprise-quality disaster recovery. (Small businesses) didn’t want hand-me-downs from their larger enterprise brethren; rather they needed fast access to their key applications when unplanned downtime strikes. Backup is a solved problem and recovery is what needed attention. We’re all about recovery and providing (small businesses) with quick access to their applications in the cloud in the event of a disaster.”

VC, Angel or Bootstrap:  “We’ve secured $10 million to date from our angel investors who recognize the value of what Doyenz brings to the market because they have felt the pain of trying to recover from IT disasters.”

Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “Automation!  We want to make recovering your applications as easy as turning on a light switch…. With our ‘secret sauce automation, recovering applications is only just a few clicks a way. The process is simple and painless.”

The smartest move we’ve made so far: “A deliberate focus on hiring talented, motivated and hungry people who can change the world and take our business to the next level.”

The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “Every startup hopes to get to the hockey stick. We’re fortunate to be on the hockey stick (growth) but did not anticipate how steep the ramp would be. And it’s about to get steeper.”

Would you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “Bezos, because I can learn so much from him about building the largest business-oriented online service platform.  His expertise aligns closest with the model in which we are delivering our service.”

Our world domination strategy starts when: “People start using Doyenz as a verb. I’ve heard from prospective partners that they want to ‘Doyenz’ their servers.”

Rivals should fear us because: “We have the technology, the experience of building and delivering a service, and the channel to make us number one. The opportunity is ours to lose.”

We are truly unique because: “We walk in the shoes of our partners every day and deliver innovative solutions to the problems they face.”

The biggest hurdle we’ve overcome is: “Getting to the proverbial hockey stick and climbing it while keeping our existing customer base happy. We protect thousands of servers already on the system while scaling the service to bring on hundreds of thousands more.”

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Stop focusing on how much money you’re going to make or your percentage of equity. All that does not matter. Make sure you are passionate about your idea and that it solves a real customer problem. Focus on the ride of building a successful startup and the rewards will come in due course.”

Startup Spotlight is an occasional look at a Seattle area startup company. Have an interesting new venture you want spotlighted in GeekWire? Fill out the questions above, send a couple photos of the founder(s) and company logo to tips@geekwire.com. Past profiles can be found here.