DataCore Software Corporation
When technology pioneers, George Teixeira and Ziya Aral invented a technology that would meet today's market demand; they knew they needed to move quickly. Their proposed storage-operating software would result in storage servers with one-third the cost and three times the performance of current hardware systems. But when their innovation fell on deaf ears at the company where they worked, they knew they would need to do it on their own.
"Unfortunately, 10 years of being a business executive does not equip you for running your own business—you don't know anything about things like insurance," explains Ziya. In order to prepare for the transition from big corporation executives to small business owners, George and Ziya needed business advice. They went to SCORE with a very rough outline of a business plan and were met by counselors Dick Wasserman and Alvin Schwartz. Dick, a retired IBM executive, helped them simplify the technical language used in the business plan so that it could be clearly understood by potential funders.
After four revisions of the business plan, George and Ziya, along with 12 employees, walked out of their large corporation to start their own business, DataCore. "We had no job, but a very interesting technology," explains Ziya. Together, the new team raised $750,000 through family and friends and their own funds—just enough to rent a warehouse space and to start creating the technology. But, DataCore needed to raise a lot more capital in order to continue.
DataCore received $6.6 million from two of the largest and well-known venture capital firms—making it the first software start-up firm in Florida to ever receive venture capital from these firms. This earned them the honor of being named by Facts Online as one of the 117 "hot" technology companies, along with AOL, Excite, Yahoo! and Microsoft.
DataCore reports that as of September 2003 the company has matured over the past few years. The company's flagship product, SANsymphony, began shipping in May 2000 and has been updated with new features several times. DataCore currently ships version 5.2. Additionallly, the company has grown to 180 employees. According to Ken Horner, vice president of marketing at DataCore, "We've struck key deals with partners and have announced many Global 2000 customer wins over the past years to drive revenue. We raised over $35 million in July of 2000 and over $30 million in October 2001."
George and Ziya spent many hours with their SCORE mentors rehearsing and polishing a presentation for bankers and venture capitalists. Alvin, a retired financial executive, played the role of a staunch venture capitalist with no comprehension of technology, asking tough questions. "We kept exercising their consistency," says Dick. George explains, "We were used to talking with the tech industry, but it's a different language with venture capitalists. SCORE asked the hard questions that we needed a concise answer to."
"Unfortunately, 10 years of being a business executive does not equip you for running your own business—you don't know anything about things like insurance," explains Ziya. In order to prepare for the transition from big corporation executives to small business owners, George and Ziya needed business advice. They went to SCORE with a very rough outline of a business plan and were met by mentors Dick Wasserman and Alvin Schwartz.