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Pavilion Data Systems hands more engineers their marching orders

Everything's fine, says NVMe-over-fabrics array startup

NVMe-over-fabrics array startup Pavilion Data Systems has laid off more engineers just a month after a previous cull during which co-founder Kiran Malwankar departed.

It has now let go of further staffers from its core Silicon Valley-based software engineering team, leaving just three behind.

CEO Malwankar started Pavilion in February 2014 with Sundar Kanthadai, VP for software engineering. The firm received $1m funding that year followed by a two-part A round, $15m in 2016 plus $6m in June, 2017.

Shri Dodani became CEO in August 2016 and Malwankar moved to VP for hardware engineering. Dodani lasted only 12 months.

Gurpreet Singh was made CEO in September 2017, coming from a VP product management position at Pure Storage. Dan Heydenfeldt was hired as VP for global sales a month later, having been VP for field operations – also at Pure.

Last month Pavilion said that Malwankar had left for personal reasons; he currently lists his status as "free bird" on LinkedIn.

It was not a software-only company, and was growing rapidly, expanding its engineering, supply chain, contract manufacturing, logistics, services and operations capabilities. Several posts, mostly in engineering, are advertised on its website.

Now, a month later, there have been layoffs in the engineering area – bad news surely for a startup in a hotly contested area where competitors E8 and Excelero have products and are making progress. Startup Apeiron has similar low-latency array technology. Kaminario, industry heavyweights IBM, NetApp and Pure Storage all have NVMe over fabrics tech on the way.

That's seven competitors in all – three startups actively selling product, and four about-to-be-active mainstream rivals.

Asked about the latest layoffs, CEO Singh said: "As you know, Pavilion is a well-capitalized startup with backing from top-tier VCs. We continue to enjoy strong support from our investors.

"Yet we are a growing startup and decisions related to personnel are part of a normal evolution.

"Yes, we['ve] had to separate from a few employees, but we have also added key personnel in sales, marketing and support in addition to engineering in the last four weeks, including opening a sales office in Europe. The decision to separate from these employees was driven by a combination of performance management and alignment to ongoing objectives and investments."

The laid-off employees are likely have a different view. We'll see what the next few weeks and months bring, and expect another funding round as Pavilion's Pure hires try to scale the startup. ®

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