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30 Best Leaders To Watch 2019

An Interview with David Mavashev, Nastel Technologies Founder and CEO: ‘We Help Some of the Largest Global Companies Analyze, Track, and Visualize Data from Mobile to Mainframe’

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“We provide IT organizations and business executives with the tools and insights they need to understand and manage their digital environments.”

As IT environments have grown steadily in complexity over the last decade, so too has reliance upon sophisticated middleware communications backbones for mission critical applications. Middleware acts as the central nervous system for complex business application ecosystems spanning mainframes, distributed systems, cloud platforms, and the mobile universe.

In view of the above-mentioned scenario, we’re thrilled to present Nastel Technologies.

Nastel offers AutoPilot®– a proactive application performance monitoringsuite for composite mission critical applications across hybrid cloud environments, Nastel XRay® big data analytics platform and Decision Support reporting. It can track and trace business transactions end-to-end across heterogeneous systems. Nastel Navigator® is a self-service middleware management solution supporting IBM MQ, IIB, Tibco EMS etc. This product is used as self-service by the DevOps groups.

The company also provides services related to implementation of its solutions including customization, training, usage assessment, performance tuning and improvement assessment.

Nastel is headquartered in Plainview, New York. It has additional offices in the U.K., France, Germany and Mexico, and a network of partners throughout Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia.

David Mavashev, Nastel Technologies Founder/CEO, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Q. Can you brief us about the history of your company?

I was working as a project manager and architect in a joint venture helping IBM to develop its first Message Queuing product - MQSeries for reliable connectivity of mission-critical applications across heterogeneous systems. Having worked prior to that in large financial institutions it was obvious to me that the monitoring and management of the new IBM’s product will be required. IBM claimed that a potential market for MQ will reach $1B by the year 2000. Although the market was in its infancy many vendors in systems and enterprise management space decided to get a part of the pie.

We started as a consulting company in November of 1994 with a vision to transform Nastel into a product company. In 1996, we developed the first management product MQControl for IBM’s messaging product MQSeries. It was a part of a consulting project in a major pharmaceutical company. Enterprises fearing the risk of going with an immature supplier were not ready to be early adopters of a three-person company. They liked our offering and vision and were suggesting to us to partner with larger vendors.

A direct sales approach was very expensive and required substantial capital. Various VCs approached us and, since we had only one customer and almost no pipeline, were asking for a substantial equity. We decided to bring a few additional customers and try an OEM strategy. Industry analysts such as Gartner started a Magic Quadrant for IBM’s MQ. Because of my in-depth knowledge of MQ and its monitoring needs Gartner positioned Nastel far right in the Visionary Qudrant.

Q. What was Nastel’s next move?

We experienced and had to overcome challenges that most start-ups face without injection of capital. The company has been profitable and grown organically. Our solution became a de-facto standard and the best of class in the market for Middleware monitoring and management.

Throughout the years we continuously evolved and innovated. Most recently adding AI, machine learning, big data analytics, covering new technologies such as Kafka and Blockchain. Nastel has been a strong player in APM and ITOA markets. Last year, IBM Global Service became a Nastel Reseller to cover new emerging middleware technologies that IBM software does not support. My hope it will be a mutually beneficial relationship.

Q. What were the biggest initial hurdles at the outset and how did you overcome them?

The biggest initial hurdle was not only to survive, but become a formidable player and find ways to generate revenue. In the summer of 1996, we were offered $4M to be acquired by Candle Corporation. The deal fell through because of a competitor filed a frivolous lawsuit to block the sale fearing stronger competition from a more established player. One day we felt that we made it and the next day we felt like going out of business. To take the case lawyers were asking for money we did not have. Candle helped us by deciding to buy the competitor’s product for $7.5M and dropping the lawsuit.

In early 1997, Boole & Babbage, had in excess of $200M in revenue, wanted to acquire us. Being ambitious and hoping to use Boole’s sales channels to generate revenue we closed an OEM deal with them including royalties and substantial multi-million dollars upfront payment. Later in 1998, BMC with revenues in excess of $600M at that time entertained a very good offer to acquire Nastel. As in the case with Boole instead of taking the deal we decided to OEM our technology with a much higher multimillion dollars upfront payment and higher royalties. This was followed by a similar deal with Landmark Systems.

Ironically, all these companies are no longer independent. Nastel, on the other hand, is in business continuously innovating and flourishing. To hedge thebets, we cooperated and competed with our OEM partners and acquired direct customers, some of them have been with us for more than 20 years.

Q. Tell us about the first product that was launched.

In 1998, we introduced to the market our second, best-of-class middleware management solution – AutoPilot that made a big difference for us in the market. It was a state-of-the-art highly scalable technology with a built-in complex event processing engine (CEP) and built-in analytics. The term “CEP” did not exist until early next decade. Later, the product coverage extended to monitoring of other emerging technologies and we became a player in the APM market. Throughout the years we have licensed our solution to more than 300 enterprises worldwide, leaders in their own space, enterprises such as Citi, BNP, Dell, Best Buy, UHG etc. Our OEM partners CA, now Broadcom, HP now Microfocus and IBM resell our solution.

Q. What do you hope to accomplish in the long run?

We are the only company that delivers a highly scalable solution that tracks business transactions end-to-end– from mobile devices to legacy applications on the mainframe. Today, we provide solutions that deliver the highest levels of availability and performance for large enterprises, with the shortest time to value. Our ability to exploit middleware messages to abstract business understanding from machine data places us at the right place, at the right time with the right technology to dominate the AIOps market that is just now emerging. We are now planning to shift into taking the market leadership; to achieve that we may bring financial partners but not at the expense of the solution quality.

Moreover, we will be more focusing on AI and machine learning applied to the AIOps market and claim the best of class product position. Also, we plan to go after emerging Blockchain technology.

David Mavashev: A Brief Background

David Mavashev serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Nastel Technologies. As a recognized leading industry expert, David sets strategic directions, encourages new innovations, and brings a rare combination of business and technical acumen.

“Our ability to exploit middleware messages to abstract business understanding from machine data places us at the right place, at the right time with the right technology to dominate the AIOps market that is just now emerging.”