Seattle data management startup Igneous lays off staff, citing ‘difficult economic environment’ - GeekWire

Igneous CEO Dean Darwin. (Igneous Photos)

Igneous, a Seattle startup that helps companies manage unstructured data across a variety of systems, has laid off staff.

A spokesperson declined to provide specific details about the number of cuts when contacted by GeekWire.

“In this difficult economic environment, we have needed to do a reduction in force,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “We continue to serve our customers and work with our partners to deliver value.”

Igneous has 69 employees, according to LinkedIn.

Founded in 2013 by veterans of Isilon Systems and NetApp, Igneous’ platform provides visibility and storage for unstructured data, or information that isn’t easily categorized, both in the cloud or on-premise.

Igneous originally sold a hardware data appliance for companies to help manage on-premises storage systems but expanded to develop services geared toward cloud computing. Customers include The Allen Institute of Brain Science, OpSec, PAIGE, Tippet Studios, and Altius Institute.

The company raised a $25 million Series C round in March 2019 led by WestRiver Group, which pushed total funding to date to $70 million. Existing investors including Madrona Venture Group, NEA, Vulcan Capital, and Redpoint Ventures also participated in the round.

Former Igneous Systems CEO Kiran Bhageshpur (Igneous Photo)

The startup was led by co-founder and former CEO Kiran Bhageshpur. He left the CEO role in June after “the opportunity to step back from my role as the CEO of Igneous presented itself,” according to a blog post. Bhageshpur, who also left the board this month, is “taking a very extended break,” according to his LinkedIn.

Dean Darwin, a former exec at F5 Networks and Palo Alto Networks, is now CEO and president. Darwin joined the company’s board last year.

Bhageshpur was previously vice president of engineering in the Isilon Storage Division at EMC, which acquired Seattle startup Isilon for more than $2 billion in 2010. Another Isilon engineering vet, co-founder Jeff Hughes, is CTO at Igneous. The company’s third co-founder, Byron Rakitzis, was the first employee at data management giant NetApp.

Layoffs hit the tech industry when the COVID-19 pandemic hit earlier this year. Nearly 600 tech startups have laid off almost 80,000 workers since March 11. Some Seattle-area companies such as Amplero and Rubica have shut down altogether.

But a report from OpenView Venture Partners noted that enterprise cloud software firms are largely “recession-proof” in part due to the increased reliance on cloud services amid the pandemic.

A recent survey of leaders from companies ranked on the GeekWire 200, our list of the top privately-held tech startups in the Pacific Northwest, showed that a majority of top startups in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest are seeing little or no impact on their businesses from the pandemic, or even a positive impact.



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