Case Study Number 1: Object Matrix
We grab hold of entrepreneurs and just figure out every which way we can help them grow
Most of the great entrepreneurs looked rather tired and depressed the first time I met them…. Working 100 hours a week can do that to you….
I’ll never forget when Howard Hartenbaum, Partner at August Capital now, but then managing money for Tim Draper’s father sent me an email introducing me to Niklas Zennstrom in August 2003. Something along the lines of: ‘He did Kazam; he’s taking on telecoms’. Niklas had been raising capital for a long while at that point, and he didn’t look like he was going to sell for $2.5 billion within 2 years …
This is what I love about what I do … most of the world doesn’t get it … NEVER underestimate an entrepreneur … the more you tell them they can’t do it, the more they’re thinking – I’ll just show you….
We went on to do a lot of work with Skype, and four of the early Ariadne team flipped into Skype in 2004.
When I met Jonathan Morgan, CEO and Founder of Object Matrix, he looked pretty dishevelled it has to be said too. He seemed frankly depressed but I could see that he had something with his storage business despite only making £20 K of revenue in the entire year of 2007. It’s not normal to work 100 hours a week for years when you’ve only sold £20 K. Jonathan was a fighter. I could tell.
Ariadne introduced Bob Morton, one of our founding shareholders, soon after meeting him, and Bob plunked £150 K into Object Matrix before you could say, ‘can you spot a big company emerging…..’
Object Matrix is the leading provider of object storage and nearline archive solutions to the media/entertainment industry. Established in 2003, Object Matrix is a software company based in Cardiff, Wales that provides tightly integrated digital preservation platforms and works with global broadcasters, telcos, banks and utilities companies to ensure that their video content is always available. Customers include BBC, BT, Deutsche Banks, Fox Sports, France Televisions, Globo, the Miami Heat, NBC Universal, and Sony Pictures.
I then introduced Jonathan to Felda Hardymon, Partner at Bessemer Ventures, one of the top VC firms in the US. They looked very very seriously at investing in Object Matrix, and though they didn’t, actually Jonathan got a big kick in the derriere out of their interest, and it spurred him on. He knew he had something. And he was off!
Finally, I introduced Jonathan to one of Ariadne’s Senior Advisors, Travis Baxter, who became their Chairman two years ago.
We call all of this the Ariadne Capital Bear Hug (I know I know – very scientific term), but it’s what we do … we grab hold of entrepreneurs and just figure out every which way we can help them grow.
There’s all the rough and tumble of start-up life that Jonathan can tell you all about someday, but a global leader in storage to media firms is based in Cardiff.
Watch this space: Object Matrix is flying…..