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Issue Date: December 2010, Posted On: 12/6/2010

Chasing 'data on edge' with high-flying Copiun
Founders look to capitalize on increasing mobile needs
By Martin Desmarais

Jain Chaudhry
MARLBOROUGH, Mass. — In an increasingly on-the-go business world, Copiun Inc. has just the answer for companies hoping to keep track of the data flowing from desktops to laptops to mobile devices. Its data management product helps companies access and search data outside of the office aiming to reduce the time and cost often incurred by IT managers as they chase around this data from device to device.

Co-founded by Puneesh Chaudhry and Sanjay Jain in 2008, Marlborough-based Copiun is banking on the continual evolution of the business world and the need to protect the ever-important data as it flows throughout a company's often global reaches.

Chaudhry, the company's chief executive officer, points out that research is showing that more and more company data now resides in laptops than ever before and that this, as well as data on other mobile devices, has businesses scrambling to keep control of what can be crucial information on these "endpoints," as he calls them.

"The PC mix from the desktop to laptop is changing dramatically," said Chaudhry. "There is a drastic change in the amount of data that now lives outside the data center.

"It used to be 10 years ago if you protect the data center you were good, but now it is on the edge," he added. And this data is the most important data and protecting it is compounded by the fact that it is often the only copy, he continued. He believes that companies are increasingly asking themselves what happens if they lose this data and not coming up with an answer they like.

Copiun would like to think it has the answer. "Our mission is to help companies regain control of data on the edge," Chaudhry said.

While this is a growing problem, Chaudhry said that many companies are still refusing to deal with it in the sense that IT managers are telling employees not to store data on laptops and other devices and making it a policy not to do so. On the other hand, he says, plenty of businesses are waking up to the problem and realizing that such a policy is just not realistic anymore. "Other companies say, •It is happening. We have to deal with this. We can't just say don't worry about that data,'" he added.

"For those that are working up top that we have a really good solution," Chaudhry said. "There has not been a solution for this in the past, but we now have a solution and we can say, •Now you don't have to stick your head in the sand.'

"It is happening in every place and it is a matter of time before the lagers have to step up as well," he added.

For now, Copiun has already done well with the companies that are on the forefront of addressing the problem on managing data "on the edge." Copiun first released its data management product last year and already has 25customers.

Still, the company is being proactive in helping to open eyes to the possibilities it offers, as well as convince the nonbelievers. Copiun has taken to the Web with videos, Webinars and blogging to spread the word about what it offers. According to Chaudhry, the company's mantra is: "Educate the customer." Chaudhry himself is a frequent blogger about his industry niche.

"Today's customers they start getting educated way before they want to start buying," he said. He adds that potential customers want to get a feel for a vendor and gain trust before signing on board for business, and Copiun is more than willing to oblige them.

Though business has been good, Chaudhry asserts that the following year should be a strong one for Copiun.

"We think it is a great market," he said. "The problem is only going to get worse and there are not many good solutions for this problem.

"We are finding enough opportunities right now to keep us busy, but I think next year is going to be very good for us," he added.

Though it was started two years ago, Copiun just raised its first round of venture capital this past August, $1.9 million from Hub Angels, RRE Ventures, Launchpad Venture Group, Beacon Angels and Launch Capital. Chaudhry says Copiun's strategy was slow and steady from the start. "We took the old fashioned route of let's build it and then raise funding," he said. "The cost of product development has gone down significantly so you can do a lot and with a lot less."

The money will be used to continue to market the product and increase customers.

Currently, Copiun only has approximately 15 employees, but Chaudhry predicted this number would rise an additional 10 to 15 in the next three quarters. Still, he feels that the company can increase its success without a massive headcount. "Our product is so easy to install and use we do not need a lot of people on the street," he said.

"We are using a creative mix of outsourcing and leveraging R&D to do things," he added.

Chaudhry knew Copiun co-founder and chief technology officer Jain in India, but the pair reconnected while working at EMC in Massachusetts.

At EMC, Chaudhry was responsible for strategy, mergers and acquisitions and business operations for the company's storage software group. He is credited with helping to define EMC's data protection strategy. Jain was a lead architect for VMware integration into EMC's data protection products.

According to Chaudhry, his strategy work with EMC sparked him to leave and start his own company, though he admits to not knowing exactly what kind of business he would start when he left. However, he knew he wanted Jain with him so he said he told his fellow entrepreneur, "Let's quit and we will figure out what to do."

The pair spent a year doing market research on business opportunities. The data protection experience both had made some segment of the industry a wise choice and once the pair zeroed in on the problem of data management for laptops and other mobile devices they spent the next year building a product.

A graduate from the Delhi College of Engineering before he came to the United States in 1997, Chaudhry also has a master's degree in business administration from Columbia University.

Prior to EMC, Jain was business unit manager at River Run Software Group, software consultant at NCR and software engineer at DCM Data System.

He has a bachelor's degree in computer engineering from the Pune Institute of Computer Technology and a master's degree in computer science from Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur.

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