Cloud Storage Startup Panzura Parts Ways With CEO Chou, Hires Management Consultant As Interim Leader

Panzura, a cloud storage startup launched in 2008 by former Aruba Networks software engineers, has parted ways with CEO and co-founder Randy Chou, CRN has learned.

Panzura has brought in John Peters, a Silicon Valley-based management consultant with a track record of resurrecting and selling struggling startups, to lead the company on an interim basis.

In an interview with CRN, Peters confirmed Chou's departure and said Panzura's board of directors decided recently that new leadership was needed to take its business to the next level.

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"Randy did a tremendous job of getting the company off the ground with solid technology," Peters told CRN. "He's been effective at getting the company to a certain level. Now, the board is looking to take the company to multiples of where we are now. The skills needed to do that are different."

Peters said Panzura isn't looking to sell at this point and will instead focus on scaling its business for long-term growth. Once that plan is in place, Panzura will look for a long-term CEO, he said.

The rest of Panzura's senior management team is remaining intact, including co-founder and CTO John Taylor, Peters said. Chou couldn't be reached for comment.

Panzura is the third startup in which Chou and Taylor have worked together. They were founding members of the software team at Aruba Networks, which was acquired last year by Hewlett-Packard, and also worked together at Alteon WebSystems, which was acquired by Nortel Networks in 2000.

Peters has previously served as interim CEO or COO at a number of Silicon Valley startups. Most recently, he was CEO of Voltage Security, which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard last February.

Panzura was an early player in cloud storage gateways, which are hardware or software appliances that connect an organization's on-premise application data with public cloud storage services, enabling it to be used for things like backup and disaster recovery.

Panzura has public cloud storage partnerships with Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Google, among other vendors.

With the cloud storage gateway space becoming increasingly crowded, Panzura has been touting the collaboration aspects of its technology. Its proprietary cloud file-locking system lets geographically dispersed teams work together on projects without writing over each other's data.

"Everyone thinks of us as cloud gateways, but we are the opposite. We provide enterprise feature sets and performance across cloud storage," Panzura Chief Marketing Officer Barry Phillips said in an interview. "With Panzura, apps built for low-latency LANs work just as well around the world."

Panzura, Campbell, Calif., has raised $58 million in four funding rounds from an investment team that includes Khosla Ventures, Matrix Partners and Meritech Capital Partners. Its latest funding was a $25 million Series D in June 2013, according to Crunchbase.