Amber: Hi, I’m Amber Ambrose and this is BusinessMakers USA, brought to you by Insperity, inspiring business performance. Today, we’re coming to you from the exciting city of San Antonio, Texas. My guest is Bret Piatt, CEO of Jungle Disk. Welcome to the show.
Bret: Thank you, Amber.
Amber: Absolutely. So, tell us about Jungle Disk.
Bret: Jungle Disk is a ten-year-old startup. We’re reborn, we’ll talk maybe about that a little bit later, but we provide computer security for small businesses, two to two hundred fifty employees, and help them protect all of their valuable information that their customers trust them with.
Amber: What does that mean?
Bret: If you think about going online these days, every business has important digital records now. Those records need to be protected, both from accidents and attacks. It used to be with your computer you had to worry about a fire, or a flood, or a hard drive failure, those sorts of things. You still do need to worry about those, but you also now need to be worried about criminal hacking attacks. We saw this during the last election cycle, even all the way up there, and brought a lot of awareness to small business, but with the ransomware attacks over the course of 2015 and 2016, all of the sudden people are getting popups on their computer screen and it’s saying, ‘Hey, you owe me a bitcoin.’ A few years ago, no one knew what that was, but now everybody does and with that ransomware popup it now made it efficient for criminals to actually attack small businesses. Criminals used to go after medium and large businesses because they could steal hundreds of thousands or millions of records and then they could do the things that criminals do on the black market to go shop and sell those the same way they would shop and sell lots of other very valuable assets.
Amber: I know one of the ways you guys market yourself is the security suite for main street, and main street meaning…
Bret: It’s all those businesses that are out there that we interact with on a daily life but all the ones that make a city run and operate. So, lawyers, doctors, CPAs, financial advisors, your real estate agent. If you think about something like commercial real estate, they might sign a contract that lasts 99 years. They don’t want to go lose that contract. They need to keep that around and their customers are trusting them to keep that contract. If you have an attorney, you’re trusting that attorney to keep all of your attorney client files and store those for you. With your doctor, same thing there. If you went down and got x-rays, you don’t want the doctor to call you back a few days later and go, ‘Hey Amber, can you come back in again before the surgery you’re going to get on your shoulder? Because we lost your x-rays.’ They can’t ever make that phone call. So, when we think about main street, it’s all of those folks that have important records in their business that they’re being held responsible by their customers to take care of.
Amber: You were talking about that you service from two employees to two hundred fifty employees. What is the majority of the types of businesses?
Bret: Most of our customers are two to twenty-five employees. If you go out there across that main street America, it’s mostly two to twenty-five employees. Most businesses don’t grow above and beyond that. So, if you think about law firms, if you think about financial advisory firms, insurance, all of those are pretty typically small businesses. You’ve got a few folks in there that are running and driving it, and then you’ve got the support staff around those folks to make up that, whether it’s a medical practice or a legal practice.
Amber: So, it sounds like, well, Jungle Disk actually, let’s get back to that. Why is it called Jungle Disk?
Bret: Most folks now at this point have heard about Amazon. It used to be this thing that no one maybe had heard about, it was this online bookstore, but now everyone has heard about Amazon. Jungle Disk started off a decade ago as a way to make secure storage on Amazon’s cloud computing business. One of the things folks maybe don’t know about is Amazon powers about 20 billion dollars right now of back end infrastructure for software to service companies like Jungle Disk. So, it started off as Amazon Jungle, and then Disk is just that hard disk drive in your computer which maybe isn’t a disk anymore that spins. Most people’s computers have now what we call a solid-state disk which is just a bunch of computer chips together, it’s not really a disk now. That’s where the etymology of the name came from.
Amber: Ok, that’s great. I know, other than the history of the name, the company has an interesting history. I would love to know how it started and how you got involved.
Bret: The business started in 2006 in Atlanta, Georgia, and was then acquired by Rackspace who is headquartered here in San Antonio, Texas in 2008. Rackspace had built its own cloud computing platform and was looking at continuing to serve small business and expanding outside of their own data centers, so they added Jungle Disk into that portfolio. Over the course of time between 2008 and 2016, Jungle Disk became part of a whole series of small business focused products that Rackspace decided to spin-off and sell as they moved to focus in the mid-market and enterprise.
Amber: When did you say, ‘Hmm, I think I’m going to, you know what? Let me buy Jungle Disk. That sounds like a great idea.’ When did that happen?
Bret: I had been with Rackspace since 2007, and I was part of the corporate strategy team there. I had kind of joked, half-heartedly, that if they ever decided to sell it I’d made an offer to buy it. Well, then they actually did decide to sell it and so I got together an investor group, we sent a letter into the Board of Directors saying we would like to put a management buyout bid in, that got approved, we went in a bidding process that was run by Credit Suisse, and ended up with the winning bid during 2015. We closed that transaction and moved back downtown as a small, private company. Again, we are a reborn startup, so that was a story I mentioned we probably would cover at some point during this at the beginning.
Amber: Why did you want to buy this company?
Bret: I’ve got a twenty-year background in computer security in this Software as a Service internet world. Big enterprises have advanced teams that figure this stuff out for them that are really helping protect them, but the American economy is basically driven by small business. There’s more people that work for small business than big business. More of our GDP, really, if you start to dig down to a lot of it is really driven by that small business versus the large business, and as well all go online, as everything becomes digitized, these small businesses are really struggling here. There’s a workforce gap of maybe two to three hundred thousand cybersecurity professionals already across America, and that number is headed towards the millions. Those small businesses out there don’t even have access necessarily to hire a service provider to come in and help them with this stuff. So, we’ve tried to build a packaged product solution that makes this easy, goes through and really makes the attackers life much more difficult. We want to make it to where small businesses are that hard target that criminals just decide they won’t go after. It leaves them to go do something else, hopefully productive with their life instead of running a criminal enterprise.
Amber: So, you’re changing the world one security suite at a time.
Bret: One little piece at a time, yeah.
Amber: I like that. Well, thank you so much for joining us today, Bret. We really appreciate it.
Bret: Absolutely, thank you.
Amber: Awesome. So, once again, this is BusinessMakers USA here in San Antonio, Texas. Thank you for joining us.
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