KITE Invest had the opportunity of meeting with computer hardware entrepreneur, José Carlos Sánchez, to discuss the formation and take a behind the scenes look at his newest venture Solid Blue. Mr. Sánchez began his career more than 15 years ago with Sun Microsystems (Sun), one of the pioneers for the advancement of key information technologies, similar to that of Solaris, SPARC processors, and Thin Client Computing. At Sun, Mr. Sánchez established relationships with over sixty companies such as BBVA, Iberdrola, and Telefonica, to name a few. During the 15 years with Sun, Mr. Sánchez along with three partners founded Core Network in 2002, and then in 2006 he founded Core Systems independently. Core Systems has built a customer base including military communications companies, consulting firms, security, social networking, animation companies, as well as, NASA. It is with his experience and knowledge of computer hardware, software and storage systems, that he has begun his third move as an entrepreneur.
KITE: Starting from the beginning was there a mentor(s) in particular that influenced your decision to enter this career?
José Carlos Sánchez: There was not one person in particular, but rather, like all of those who have dedicated their lives to computing, the first computer that was brought home marked the beginning of my career path and enthusiasm. As my career has progressed, my colleagues and interactions have greatly influenced the directions that I have taken.
KITE: Tell us a little about your story. In particular, when and how you decided to enter the world of computer hardware?
JCS: A little before the year 2000, I started in the Professional Services department at Sun and then for two years in the Trainings department. It was during this time that I realized in order to produce the full product I had to become involved in the sale of hardware. In 2004, I officially began creating the “whole” product.
KITE: Throughout your career you’ve worked with some of the most important manufacturers in the sector, such as HP and IBM. What were the main reasons why you decided to venture out and start your own business?
JCS: All big companies like HP, IBM and Sun are able to deliver projects on large scale, but they are not able to be flexible and therefore, were unable to fit the needs of the customers. It was this significant gap between customers and these large companies that became the catalyst for me to start something of my own.
KITE: After a lengthy start with Sun Microsystems and establishing your own businesses – Core Systems and Core Networks – you are currently entering the third stage of yourcareer by expanding with the creation of Solid Blue. What was the catalyst behind your decision to launch Solid Blue?
JCS: At Core Systems we have always felt privileged to be in a situation as we were able to understand the needs of customers and have the disposal of knowing the leading manufacturers, so we have a clearer understanding of which product best fits each client. From this point, we have developed and patented a leading product, with what customers really want, and that currently none of the manufacturers are able to offer.
KITE: What is the concept behind Solid Blue? Can you identify two or three factors bout Solid Blue that distinguishes your product and company apart from others? What makes your business unique and revolutionary?
JCS: The truth is that we tried to develop a product that was as less revolutionary as possible. Currently, the storage market is undergoing a big change, because in the last 10 to 15 years, the discs have not evolved in terms of performance. It is true that they have evolved in size, but in terms of operation and transfer rates they have been stagnant in comparison, as seen with CPU, memories or communications. A few years ago the Solid-State Disk (SSD) appeared, but they were really expensive and did not pose a real alternative to traditional disks. However, now they are beginning to be considered as a valid alternative, but we found that these devices are “too fast” and the speed can be up to 10 times faster and can carry 450 times more operations than traditional drives. Imagine, for instance, an audience at movie theatre and the entire audience’s weight increasing from 75 Kgs to 750 Kgs instantly, (that is 10 times more weight and volume), the theatre could possibly accommodate one audience member but not the original number of viewers. What is clear is that the theatre would have to be reconfigured and recreated to adapt to the new clientele. At Solid Blue what we have done is design a system from scratch (no traditional product was incorporated) based on the new requirements of SSD by using the technology that was already established and also added concepts of HPC for maximum performance.
KITE: How do you see the storage market and, in particular, storage startups?
JCS: The storage market is a safe market, and is always experiencing continuous growth. All manufacturers are making megapixel phones, everything is in HD, we are beginning to see 4K already in many places, and super high definition . . . no one shows a device with less memory or less megapixel and that the end of the day is to be stored somewhere. From the point of view of storage companies, they remain a safe investment, as 82% of storage companies created are still operational. On the other hand, as the storage market is quickly changing, the investment part of these businesses is also changing. In 2013, just 5 storage companies with financing rounds were created, while in 2000 96 companies launched. We also have to take into account that the amount of investments made during 2012-2013 dropped slightly. From the point of Solid Blue, we see these numbers as very encouraging. This indicates that investors are focusing their investments towards companies in a much more selective manner and ones that actually make a difference. This greatly enhances our position in this market as we have a unique patented brand, which really differentiates us from our competition.
KITE: As the owner of Core Networks and Core Systems, what, if any, lessons learned do you plan to apply to Solid Blue?
JCS: When Core Networks began we got to straight to work and later asked ourselves what we were really working on and did not have a proper business plan in order. When Core Systems was created things were different from the outset because there was a business plan and investment. Now with Solid Blue, we are starting with a yearlong business plan in place, with market analysis, distributions and with far greater investment.
KITE: Where would you like to see Solid Blue in 5, 10 and 20 years?
JCS: I would like to see how Solid Blue develops within those years and I would like to see how Solid Blue is viewed as a company that develops real solutions that are valid for customers.
KITE: Currently, Solid Blue is seeking funding from investors. How do you envision the relationship with future investor(s)?
JCS: Yes indeed. We are looking for investors who are like us, and technicians who are able to appreciate the product we have created in order to help each other in the implementation. In addition, we hope an investor(s) can provide financial expertise in the technology market.