Last week at the CED Tech Venture Conference there was a lot going on with respect to Research Triangle Park (RTP), and great representation from Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill which surround it. There was also great representation from Citrix. In fact, the full startup story was in attendance. From our CEO, to the person that leads M&A, to the previous CEO of a prominent acquisition, to our early-stage startup accelerator, we had all four bases covered in terms of stage and major roles.
It marked an exciting and proud occasion for me on numerous fronts. First and foremost I love seeing startups succeed. Jesse Lipson is just such an entrepreneur, and now having spent a couple days on the ground in Raleigh, I have even more respect for the job he has done. Jesse built Sharefile from the ground up, refused to take any venture capital despite all the firms that came knocking, and scaled his company to a sizable exit into Citrix. Citrix in turn picked up a prime piece of its cloud strategy in the secure, cloud-based data storage and sharing software Sharefile champions. This is the innovation cycle we get to see so often in tech, the cycle from talented entrepreneur -> to validated startup -> to acquired growth. It’s a beautiful thing. And the greatest part, it often repeats itself.
That is why the Citrix Startup Accelerator exists, to help drive that cycle faster. We’re looking for the Jesse Lipson’s of the world (that need at least a little capital) who can particularly benefit from the host of resources and expertise we bring as an investor. We are the early-stage enterprise accelerator. Cloud services, infrastructure, enterprise mobility, application management, and collaboration software are some of the technologies we focus on, and it is our mission to help our investments succeed to Series-A or acquisition.
In Mark Templeton’s keynote last Tuesday he said “Being entrepreneurial is about having beliefs, adding that to a strategy and getting results.” Well it appears to me that since I graduated from UNC in 2001, one result that local entrepreneurs have believed in is growing the startup ecosystem. And to now see Citrix and other companies like Redhat continuing their investment in the area and driving this growth even further … it marks a great progression for my home state. Proud is very much the word.
#TVC2012 provided a great opportunity to see just how in tune Citrix is with the startup ecosystem, and how truly two-way that communication and those benefits flow. When you’re a company that acquires and integrates as often as Citrix does, it only makes sense. It quite literally IS in the DNA of the company to be the largest startup out there as a function of all the entrepreneurs that now help run it. I know what some are thinking, ‘yea right, Citrix is big, how can that be?’. When I first started at Citrix last December I was curious as well. I knew the 2 person team I was joining to be quite autonomous and scrappy, but what about the rest of the company? I had my answer within the day. I met a multiple-exit startup guy that had actually taken a few months off to contemplate life and his next steps. In considering where he wanted to be and where he could have the largest impact in the upcoming years, he chose Citrix. That speaks volumes.
With respect to Raleigh, I already look forward to going back. I have my eyes on finding a potential investment, on HUB Raleigh opening its doors, and on … yes, basketball of course! Of the four of us from Citrix that attended the conference, we had all 3 of the local schools covered. As it turns out the fourth person broke the tie in favor of UNC. I’ll take it. GO Heels, GO Citrix, GO start something!