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Hot data backup startup Rubrik is now valued at $3.3 billion. The CEO tells us what to expect in the 'second chapter' of the company



  • Data management platform startup Rubrik announced Tuesday that it closed $261 million in new funding, in a deal valuing the company at $3.3 billion.
  • Rubrik CEO Bipul Sinha says that this funding means the company is opening a new chapter. 
  • Chapter one for Rubrik was all about data backup and recovery, he says. Now, Rubrik is entering chapter two: machine learning, a foundational technology behind artificial intelligence.
  • Rubrik's revenue has grown quickly, but Sinha recalls that in the early days, recruitment and marketing were some major challenges Rubrik faced.

Bipul Sinha, CEO and co-founder of data management platform company Rubrik, found inspiration in an iPhone.

When you take a photo on an iPhone, the phone tags it with your location, places it in a folder or album, and shunts it up to the cloud. Likewise, that's what he hoped to do with Rubrik: Help make it easier for companies to automatically organize their data and shunt it up to public clouds like Amazon Web Services for safekeeping.

Now, Rubrik announced Tuesday that it closed $261 million in a series E funding led by Bain Capital Ventures, in a deal valuing the company at $3.3 billion, as it takes that vision to the next level. 

"Back in 2013, when we started to think about Rubrik, public cloud was getting a lot of prominence in the enterprise," Sinha told Business Insider. "We were thinking, what if we re-platform and re-architect an infrastructure for the business environment. That's what got it started."

The first chapter of Rubrik, Sinha says, was all about providing those basic backup and recovery services for data. But now with another $261 million in hand, Rubrik is about to enter what Sinha refers to as chapter two: applying artificial intelligence to the whole affair. 

"Now we are entering the second chapter of the company where we are looking at the data we are managing for our customers and asking if we can provide machine learning," Sinha said.

In other words, Rubrik wants to use AI to do more with helping its customers automatically manage even the largest amounts of data. If nothing else, Sinha says, AI can automatically apply the right security and regulatory compliance properties to that data, recognizing it on the fly even as it gets backed up to the cloud. 

Read more: This investor turned founder scoffs at funding slowdown: 'real businesses' can still get money

Ultimately, Sinha hopes to build Rubrik into a large public company, with a platform that every small business around the world can use.

Just last year, Rubrik launched an enterprise data platform called Polaris, even as it welcomed Microsoft Chairman John W. Thompson and former Cisco CEO John Chambers to its board of directors. Sinha says that Rubrik plans on investing more in product development with this new funding in the can.

At $3.3 billion, Rubrik is now one of the most valuable enterprise technology startups on the planet. Sinha recalls that when he first launched Rubrik, he felt he that he let the company down when it launched with no media coverage, making it difficult to create buzz. Similarly, Recruiting talent was also a challenge, Sinha says, as Rubrik was fighting with the Silicon Valley giants to recruit good people. 

But now, Rubrik has grown to a 1400-employee company with global offices, and fast-growing revenue, Sinha said. In total, and including this new round, Rubrik has raised over $553 million from investors like IVP, Greylock Partners, and Khosla Ventures. The secret, Sinha says, was just to work harder and focus on figuring out what, exactly, your customers want from you.

"High ambitions, high expectations — that becomes a rallying cry for you to double down and work harder," Sinha said.

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