My Story (Entrepreneur/Founder)
Ezhilarasan Natarajan (EZ)
Ezhilarasan Natarajan (EZ) is a native of Chennai, India. In 1998, he graduated from Univ. of Madras with a gold medal in the field of Computer Science. With a stellar academic achievement in hand, EZ started his professional career as one of the first 50 employees at the R&D (Research and Development) center of Alcatel-Lucent (now Nokia networks).
This was the start of his expertise building in mainframe to client-server technology migration. EZ went on to work on as well as lead teams on migration of Microsoft, Oracle and IBM systems. EZ later moved to I2technologies to lead its integration team for the acquisition of the $9.2B Aspect Development.
In 2003, EZ got hired by Texas Instruments Bangalore to help them transform from traditional and apollo based computing systems to then cutting-edge client-server technologies like Solaris and Red Hat.
Some of the other highlights of EZ’s corporate career include:
(2010-2012) Relocation to Seattle to lead Mindtree partnership with Microsoft to seed and accelerate Azure growth.
(2012-13) Leading Microsoft’s Blue Cloud Services for China Geography offering Azure & O365.
(2014) Lead the effort for blueprinting and building OPTUS YES Cloud Project for creating hybrid cloud for the Australian Geo.
Birth of CoreStack
In 2015, CoreStack was Founded by EZ with three other co-founders – Thiruvalluvar NB (Thiru), Sabapathy A (Saba) and KK Narayanan (KK) – each of whom also had long standing corporate careers and have been working on Open Stack based cloud technologies. Initially no external funding was brought in to the venture.
The primary premise behind CoreStack vision is the reality of the world moving towards multi-cloud; need for an intelligent product to solve upgrade issues through software intelligence; to enable old technologies to keep pace with changes in cloud software.
By June 2016, first version of CoreStack was available for beta testing. A Large Telcommunication Managed Services Provider company agreed to try the product. The customer experienced very positive experience within a short time; product efficiency doubled; cost to run AWS (Amazon Web Services) went down to 40% and output doubled. With such stellar result in the bag, the customer came back with bigger requirements and another similar early stage customer came up with an offer for investment in the technology.
Now 40+ customers: spanning healthcare, pharmaceutical, financial services, education, telco and public sector.
In 2017, CoreStack brought in the first round of angel investments.
In 2018: Z5 capital(associated with TiE) joined the pool of CoreStack investors.
Where to from here: CoreStack is working on 4-6x growth; it still remains private for now.
CoreStack started with a belief in and bet on multi-cloud technology solutions. At that time, multi-cloud was not considered a necessity or even viable. Half-a-decade later, multi cloud solutions are mainstream.
The first big defining moment for CoreStack happened when the Beta product achieved 2x productivity for the customer within 60 days. The impact on the customer was so big that they offered pay licenses fee for the product and another early stage customer become an investor in the company. The other defining moments have been the times when a customer offered to do press release on the product’s behalf, after seeing excellent business impact.
EZ believes that a big reason for CoreStack’s success is the founding teams’ understanding of a core principle: “Software needs to be self-learning, self-healing and resilient.
Another reason for CoreStack’s success is its defining feature of being cloud native and provider agnostic. Both of these features allow CoreStack solutions to be nimble and future ready.
CoreStack was not the first offering in its industry; the solution space was considered already crowded by at least 6 other players and their offerings. Each of the earlier solutions were 5-8 years older than Corestack. EZ says that his biggest early concern was to make his product be future-ready; developed with cloud ready technology.
EZ shared that one of his biggest inspirations is Steve Jobs.
His two favorite quotes for inspiration:
“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”
“We’re here to put a dent in the Universe; otherwise why else even be here?”
EZ is inspired by the desire to make an impact in the world during his lifetime to make the planet better for future generations.
If I could do it again…
EZ feels that he could possibly have done a few things differently but he feels that the essence and excitement of entrepreneurship is in solving the unpredictable and uncertain situations towards building a viable business. As a possible future challenge, EZ feels that he would love to try the challenge of swimming in an ocean.
What I’d like to share with other entrepreneurs
EZ advises entrepreneurs to keep a razor-sharp focus on customer and partner value creation. He feels it is a critical factor in creating and sustaining success. He also believes that entrepreneurs should bring like minded and committed people on their team for success.
What I’d like to share with TiE investors
EZ is a big proponent of TiE becoming a funding investor.
TiE can help entrepreneurs by helping them showcase their solutions in the places/customers where the problem exists through its global presence. EZ believes that investors in general and TiE in particular can be a connecting channel for the early stage entrepreneurs (solutions) to the existing customers(problems).
What I’d like to share with the youth
EZ advises the youth to keep an open mind and open eyes for any critical problem/need that is not being addressed by any of the existing solutions.
Is there a point where TiE has helped or do you have suggestions for how TiE could have helped (optional)
EZ has been a member of TiE Seattle since January 2017. He says that TiE Seattle has been a great partner and mentor for his business. One of the anchor members from TiE Seattle, Harsh Ved, became an early advisor; introduced the company to the angel investor community and connected with right set of stake holders in the industry. EZ became a Charter Member of TiE Seattle in 2018 and he is also a member of TiE SFO. TiE became one of the first investors in Corestack via Z5 Capital.