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Jesse Rothstein of ExtraHop and Jeff Dickey of Nexcast

ExtraHop CEO Jesse Rothstein wants to help the folks who “keep the lights on” in your IT department spend more time innovating.

The Seattle startup, backed by Madrona Venture Group, Meritech Capital and Andreessen Horowitz, is developing a platform for enterprise IT organizations to manage applications in complex technology systems. What does that mean for you? Perhaps your next flight gets off the tarmac just a little bit faster.

One of ExtraHop’s customers, Alaska Airlines, uses complex software to do pre-flight calculations that help determine if a plane can take off. And when there’s a delay in that work, there’s a delay in your departure.

“A lot of the legacy approaches we used to take in IT are no longer tenable,” Rothstein explains. “We build better tools to help us manage daily complexity.”

Though he never saw himself as an entrepreneur, Rothstein made a choice to create his own job at ExtraHop.

“I couldn’t find the job that I wanted, so I had to build it,” he explains. That’s when he realized he may have been more of an entrepreneur than he realized. “Entrepreneurs always have something to prove,” he says, “I wanted to take a product from conception all the way to market, and prove that I could do it.”

These days, Rothstein sees himself “primarily as a team-builder.” He spends his days “finding the talent and growing the team” that will help ExtraHop as they continue to expand. “You judge a leader by the team that they’ve built,” Rothstein says, adding that the best leaders are the ones who surround themselves with the smartest people they can.

Besides growing his team at ExtraHop, Rothstein is hoping Seattle’s entrepreneurial and startup scene can continue to grow and thrive as well. Seattle has “access to talent, access to customers, and access to capital,” he says. “I would love to see Seattle be even more of an entrepreneurial hotbed.”

Here’s more from the latest episode of Nextcast:

Jesse Rothstein ExtraHop from Nextcast on Vimeo

Nextcast founder Jeff Dickey is passionate about technology, business and philosophy. He works as the chief cloud architect at Redapt, a Redmond-based cloud and big data infrastructure company. Additional reporting by Kate Stull. [Editor’s note: GeekWire is proud to partner with Jeff Dickey who produces the Nextcast entrepreneur interview series]. Past interviews here.

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