Interview: Dave Powell, Metapa

Dave Powell is President & CEO of Sherman Oaks-based Metapa ( Metapa develops database clustering software based on the Linux operating system.

BK: What is Metapa's business, and what is the key advantage of your linux database clustering technology?

DP: Metapa is a Sherman Oaks based software company. We provide database partitioning and clustering technology that runs on commodity hardware running Linux. We are focused on providing products and solutions to solve performance and scalability problems for large Business Intelligence / Data Warehousing databases. Our flagship product is the Metapa Cluster DataBase (CDB). It provides our customers with the ability to partition a large database across a cluster of commodity priced hardware. In doing so, performance of the customer queries to the database is improved from between a factor of five and ten. Additionally and very importantly these days, the overall cost of the solution is also lowered by between a factor of five and ten. Thus our customers see dramatic improvements in the performance of their reporting systems while benefiting from dramatically lower total cost of ownership for those systems. Finally, our customers are positioned for growth in very small increments, instead of possibly very large, possibly a million dollars or more, increments that they face today.

BK: Why did your company pick Linux as a platform, and as a commercial company based on the OS do you run into any issues with GPL (Gnu Public License) terms and selling your software?

DP: We picked Linux because we believe that Linux is a great operating system that works extremely well in a clustered model. We have not run into any issue with GPL, and we do not see any on the horizon.

We plan to offer support for operating systems other than Linux over time, we want our software to run on any brand of Linux, on any database and any hardware of the correct configuration. That will give our customers as much choice as possible.

BK: How does your software compare to other commercially available database clustering software, i.e. Oracle Parallel Server and IBM DB2?

DP: Our software has three primary differences when compared to Oracle and DB2. Firstly, this is software that is purpose built for business intelligence/data warehousing databases and to work on top of existing databases. Secondly, the performance of the system as a whole is far superior to Oracle or DB2. Thirdly, we have a major cost advantage. Overall, it is the price/performance improvements that our customers find appealing.

BK: Who are your typical customers, and how are they using your products?

DP: Our typical customer is someone who has very large volumes of data that are growing at a very rapid pace. They are also people who are facing issues of reporting system performance as well as budget pressure. We interact with both the business managers who need faster access to reports as well as the CIO who is under constant cost pressure. We solve both of their issues.

BK: What's the history of the company, and why did you decide to join the company?

DP: I joined Metapa in December of 2001. At the time, we were repositioning the company from its original business model to that of an enterprise software company. I joined because of the excellent team in place, the great support the company had from its investors and because of the promise of the underlying technology, once repositioned.

BK: I see you received a round of funding recently. Who are your investors, and how did you hook up with them?

DP: We closed our Series B round in July of 2003. SoundView Ventures led the round and were joined by Hudson Venture Partners. SoundView Ventures have been with Metapa from the beginning, they are a great partner in this endeavor. Hudson Venture Partners came to us along with an acquisition we did of a small company in Fairfax, VA. Hudson invested new money into our Series B round and are proving to be another great investment partner.

BK: What are your fundraising plans, and are you looking to raise another round soon?

DP: We are planning to raise additional funding in the second quarter of this year. The funds we will raise at that time will be used to expand our sales, engineering, marketing and customer support.

BK: Finally, what are some of the things Metapa is working on right now, and what are your company's main goals for this year?

DP: We are working to build our customer base. We have a number of very large implementations that will be rolling into production shortly, and we are focused on making those customers successful. We are also focused on extending to a couple more vertical markets. Today we sell to financial services, telecommunications companies and internet infrastructure companies. We are going to add retail and pharmaceutical to that list. We are working to stay very focused to ensure we build a solid foundation that will allow us to grow rapidly on 2005 and that will include reaching international markets.

BK: Thanks!