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Wasabi CEO David Friend: $250M Funding To Double Channel Reach, Fuel Global Expansion

Joseph F. Kovar

‘We’ve got 13,000 channel partners today. And we’d like to more than double that. And we’re in 13 regions around the world now, including the U.S., Canada, England, France, Germany, Netherlands, Singapore, Australia, Japan, I’m probably forgetting something. But we want to be at somewhere around 25 or 26 regions by this time next year,’ says Wasabi Technologies CEO and co-founder David Friend.

Funding The Future Of Wasabi

Boston-based cloud storage company Wasabi Technologies this week said it has raised an additional $250 million in funding, half of which came from private equity and other institutional investors and half from debt, and said the company now has a valuation of over $1.1 billion.

The new funding represents a big bet on Wasabi, which is using its large channel and alliance partner base to compete against cloud giants like Amazon Web Services by promising to provide cloud storage for about one-fifth the cost of using public cloud providers. But a bet on Wasabi and its serial entrepreneur CEO and Co-founder David Friend is a safe move given how quickly the company has grown and the success Friend and his co-founder partner Jeff Flowers had with their previous venture, cloud storage provider Carbonite, which was acquired in 2019 by OpenText for $1.42 billion.

Friend measures the success of Wasabi in various ways, including having 13,000 channel partners worldwide with plans to double that number over the next year, and alliance relationships with many of the top data protection vendors who make it easy for their channel partners to use Wasabi for back-end cloud storage.

[Related: 2022 Storage 100: Who’s Got Your Backup?]

With this new round of funding, Friend has found a new way to measure success: being able to raise debt.

“Finally, people are taking us seriously enough that we can raise debt as well as equity,” he told CRN. “This is a really important milestone for us because when you have a lot of physical facilities like we have, you really want to finance that stuff with debt. It’s like real estate. When you’re going to put up an apartment building, you don’t do that with equity. You borrow most of it from a bank. And then you use your equity for sales and marketing and R&D, that kind of thing.”

Friend said he expects this to be the last round of funding Wasabi gets. And he also said the company really didn’t need the extra funding, but instead could immediately become a profitable company if it had been satisfied with its current situation.

“The emphasis right now is on top line growth,” he said. “And as long as we’re expanding into all these new markets and building all these data centers and everything else, that’s a cash drain. But the minute you slow the growth down, you can turn profitable. So we’re at that point now where, if we didn’t have access to more investment capital, we would just slow down the growth and we can survive indefinitely.”

Wasabi and its investors are betting on growth. For more on how it hopes to achieve that growth, read on.

 
Joseph F. Kovar

Joseph F. Kovar is a senior editor and reporter for the storage and the non-tech-focused channel beats for CRN. He keeps readers abreast of the latest issues related to such areas as data life-cycle, business continuity and disaster recovery, and data centers, along with related services and software, while highlighting some of the key trends that impact the IT channel overall. He can be reached at jkovar@thechannelcompany.com.

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