CRN Exclusive: Veeam's Ratmir Timashev On Post-Veeam Plans And How To Succeed In Tech

Ratmir Timashev, who along with longtime friend and fellow entrepreneur Andrei Baronov co-founded Veeam, told CRN about the planned transition time for the two after Veeam is acquired by Insight Partners, and gave tips to future tech entrepreneurs.

From Friendship To Payday And Beyond

Andrei Baronov and Ratmir Timashev co-founded one of the most successful software companies of the last decade, Veeam, a leader in data protection software and up-and-comer in the nascent data management market. But with the planned acquisition of Veeam by New York-based private equity company Insight Partners, and the announced intent to move its headquarters from Switzerland to somewhere in the U.S. to pave the way to further growth, the two are transitioning to more of a consulting role with Veeam while they consider their next moves.

Timashev, in an exclusive meeting with CRN, said that he and Baronov have been friends since their mid-1980s youth in Russia, and have a strong chemistry between them. Therefore, they will be looking soon at where to point their entrepreneurial experience next.

Timashev also shared his multi-part secret to success as an entrepreneur. It's a simple plan. Here's a hint: Be Facebook, not Myspace.

For a look at what it means to be a tech entrepreneur, and at what may be in store for Timashev and Baronov going forward, turn the page.

Veeam says you and Andrei Baronov are leaving the company following a transition period after the acquisition closes. What are your plans for leaving the company?

We will be helping the company in the transition period. And on a consulting basis after things settle down. On a consulting basis, we will be pretty active, and we will have some incentives to make the company continue to be successful.

So the relationship is not ending soon by any means?

We will be helping the company in the transition period. And then we will be helping the company on a consulting basis.

You and Andrei (pictured) have had a long relationship. Prior to Veeam, you two co-founded Aelita, which was eventually sold to Quest Software. Do you expect the two of you to work together on future ventures?

Yeah, absolutely yes. We've been friends since 1985 when we were roommates. We started doing business together in 1995 at our first company, which was called Aelita Software. We started in in the 1997 time period, and we sold it to Quest Software. I mean, we're just trusted business partners. So I respect him for his genius and I believe he is a 'Steve Jobs' of technology management. He's absolutely a genius technologist as well as a genius business person. So I respect him for what he is, and he respects me for what I am like in terms of a sales and marketing genius. So he is a technology genius and I'm kind of a sales marketing guru. We're just trusted partners, and I expect that we will continue coming up with ideas. But right now, still our focus is Veeam, and making a successful transition in the next few months. And then helping Veeam on a consulting basis.

You said that you guys were roommates. Was that back in college?

Yeah, back in college in Moscow. Then, when I was at Ohio State University as a grad student, Andrei came over to Columbus, and that's when we started our first company in back in '95, '96.

So the two of you were in the U.S. when you started your first company.

Yes. We started business in the U.S.A. I came as a grad student in '92. Andrei stayed in Russia to finish his PhD, and then in '95, I asked him, I said, 'Come over, we will start to do some things around internet and Windows NT. So he came over in '95, '96, and that's how our first company Aelita Software started. So basically, we knew each other since 1985, but in business together we started in 1995 in Ohio.

So as you look at the IT industry, what are some things that that you and Andrei might be interested in exploring outside of Veeam?

It's all around the next-gen technologies all around cloud, what’s going to come after the cloud, after Kubernetes, after containers. We don't know yet. Andrei especially is very pragmatic. He doesn't like to be called a so-called visionary even though he is absolutely a visionary. He doesn't want to be a visionary. He's like, OK, I understand the overall direction. but how are we gonna make money in the next 12 or 24 months? So he's very pragmatic. And that's why I like him. He's very focused on making money in the next two years, right? What customers really need in the next two years.

If a young person came up to you today, a smart person, and asked you what would be a good thing for a young entrepreneur today to invest in technology-wise, how would you advise that person?

I always say that to be successful in technology, you have to do three things. You have to be at the right time, at the right place, and create a brilliant product. You don't want to be the first. You don't want to be last. Google, Microsoft, Facebook, they were not the first. Apple wasn't the first to invent a smartphone. So you want to come at the right time, at the right place, and create a brilliant product.

So just think about this. Don't be the first. Wait. Work some deals. Create the market. What's the name of the social network which was before Facebook? Myspace? Let a Myspace create the marketplace for you and you do it better. Just a more brilliant product.

Anything else?

That's three things. Number four and number five is sales and marketing. Of course be aggressive in sales and marketing. But if you don't have the first three, being at the right time at the right place with a brilliant product, let's talk about Facebook or Apple, then number four and number five, sales and marketing, you'll have difficulties. So yeah, I mean, the genius of the young entrepreneurs is finding those three things, and that's just a gut feeling: Right place, right time, with a brilliant product.