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Pivot3 ranked 37th out of 5,740 companies considered in the WSJ's Next Big Thing list. To date, the company raised 78 million dollars. To be eligible for the ranking, a company must have raised an equity round of financing in the last three years and have a valuation of $1 billion or less. In addition to this requirement, Caswell confirmed that the ranking is also based on the quality of investors. He credited his company's success to their ability to surpass a number of risks, including management risk, technical risk and financial market risk, in addition to leveraging an open system model.

"It's about the skill-set of your investors and how they can help you in the market at large," said Caswell. "Our investors are easily able to either provide introductions to potential partners or customers for us to work with." Caswell explained that the venture capital process is designed to strip those risks out. "If you get past the hurdles of management and technical risk, the final stage is looking at how to scale your technology from there, once it's validated in the market. And I believe that is the aspect the Wall Street Journal focuses on—taking the technology and what we have done in the surveillance market and providing this at a high scale in an incredibly diverse mix of hardware and software partners," Caswell continued.

The virtual server environment

From its initial focus on the casino and gaming segment of the market, Pivot3, founded in 2003, now continues to scale its solutions to more conservative markets such as government and enterprise. The company's video surveillance storage solutions were recently added to the security product portfolio of Siemens Security Solutions, a U.S.-based business unit of Siemens Industry Inc.'s Building Technologies Division. The move demonstrates the importance of storage as a strategic element of major security installations.

"This industry is characterized by word of mouth," said Caswell. "People talk to each other to find out not just what is a good product but what companies are willing to invest in to make installations successful." One of the other areas that the company is addressing, through its vBank Appliance, is the convergence of IT and surveillance. "With the vBank, we are increasing the number of virtual servers that can run on each appliance tenfold and we are adding support for VMWare," Caswell explained. "This speeds up the convergence for security surveillance users."

The vBank adds computing resources to support more virtual servers, solid state disk drives to extend storage performance across general business applications and bundles VMware vSphere, VMware vMotion and VMware vCenter™ server technologies to simplify management. Individual vBank appliances can be stacked in a Pivot3 storage and compute STAC (i.e., a set of appliances) to create, protect and load-balance storage across vBank appliances. The product development stemmed from market need to have a converged infrastructure that can support both surveillance and general IT applications. Retail is one area in which the responsibility in maintaining and implementing the IT infrastructure and the surveillance infrastructure has merged, said Caswell. "The interest that we have seen so far in the IT space comes from the server buyers and not from the storage buyers," he continued. "This concept of rejoining servers and storage could be a lead indicator as to the architecture of how systems will be developed in the future."

Caswell confirmed that Pivot3 will continue to upsize server aspects of their solutions. "We think that is going to appeal to customers who were server buyers but who may not have a server or SAN administrator but still need to scale out their storage and are looking for ways to do that."


Pivot3's Lee Caswell