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Meet Arun Agarwal of Infinio in Kendall Square

Today we’d like to introduce you to Arun Agarwal.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
In 2011, I was just graduating from business school. I had the good fortune of meeting Vishal Misra (a professor at Columbia University) through some investors, and with seed funding a small group of us quickly got to work exploring options to commercialize his and his fellow researcher’s intellectual property. We quickly zeroed in on a market problem (data storage performance) and raised more capital to build a team and go-to-market. After some debate, we decided to locate the company in Boston given the breadth and depth of infrastructure software talent here — I had been part of the team at Endeca Technologies (acquired by Oracle), which helped us recruit the best of the best. Today, some of the world’s largest companies run Infinio in their production data centers.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I’m not sure building a company is a smooth road for anyone! The hardest part of building a company is the inability to “parallelize” the different steps or areas of risk. For example, you can’t start really sorting out your go to market challenges until you have first sorted out product/market fit. And you can’t sort out product/market fit until you have built a working minimum viable product (MVP). Unfortunately, each step will take as long as it takes, and will hold up the rest.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Infinio provides software that makes data centers run faster. Most data centers today are built on a software from a company called VMware, and we’ve partnered very closely with them to offer a complementary product to help our shared customers. Our area of specialization is storage performance – that is, the speed with which servers can access their files or databases. We enable people to do things like run reports faster, compile software more often, and improve users’ experience in applications. Plus we do it all with a much lower CapEx investment than alternatives. Without our software, people have to purchase expensive hardware and manage large migration projects to new platforms. With our software, they can begin delivering high performance within 15 minutes without disrupting their operations.

What were you like growing up?
I wouldn’t say there was anything particularly remarkable or noteworthy about my upbringing. I grew up in a small town in Michigan, and had pretty typical interests (video games, playing outside with friends, etc.). I did catch the entrepreneurial streak and start my first company in high school however. Then, when I was in college at MIT, my roommates and I pursued a few more startups. So I guess you can say entrepreneurship has been a recurring theme for me since I was a teenager.

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