Glen Olsen: A Technophile Leader Changing the Way Data Is Stored and Protected
Glen Olsen, Founder, And CEO, Nexustorage
True entrepreneurs are dreamers. They know what they want and how they will get there. They foresee the demand for their idea, even when others don’t. They are risk-takers who enjoy winning; they only take on risks they believe they can achieve. Importantly, they also know when to cut losses and move on. As creative storytellers, they are capable of selling their dream to others. They are leaders who exert confidence when making decisions and judgments to gain their followers’ trust and motivation.
Driven by this ideology and insightful perception of entrepreneurship, a technology evangelist who is setting an instance of true entrepreneurship in the business world is Glen Olsen, the founder, and CEO of Nexustorage, an innovative data storage startup in New Zealand. An entrepreneur by nature and a technologist by passion, Glen developed a keen interest in technologly during his teens. He would often spend hours thinking of ideas, and coming up with concepts and solutions to problems. As a result, he created and profited from his first software product in his late teens. He also had a leadership spirit embedded deep within his heart. Thus, he was soon assigned teams and projects to lead in every job he did, even when not employed in that position. He started his first “real” job as a general mainframe operator at a large national retail group and found himself leading the IT department within a few years. Glen started working on other people’s ideas and, later, the companies who funded and developed his ideas but also took ownership and profited from them. This made him acknowledge what he knew all along, that he should be the one to own and benefit from his creativity. Therefore, he decided to start his own venture.
The Beginning of Nexustorage
Since the beginning of his career, Glen has always been interested in cost-effective data storage, data protection, and the information lifecycle. He always anticipated that somebody would combine these concepts into a single product offering, replacing the current model of purchasing separate, often expensive products. “Lower-cost object/cloud storage was introduced around 2006, offering massive data storage capacity and integrated data protection. But sadly, the access method was not compatible with traditional storage access methods used by existing applications. Additionally, that new technology was not suitable for structured and block-style workloads. At this time, I worked as a product manager tasked with ‘bridging the gap’ between the two techniques, generally by adding a middleman between the two technologies. Unfortunately, the middleman notion failed and it became apparent that the solution was to unite the two technologies through deep integration, doing away with the middleman; furthermore, it was time to add integrated lifecycle management and data protection,” opines Glen. While under a non-compete agreement, he seized the opportunity to gain an MBA in Leadership and Sustainability, and then in 2021, with the storage problem still unresolved, Nexustorage was born.
Conquering the Challenges along the Way
Initially, Glen felt that he would require VC backing to enter an industry dominated by startups announcing multi-million dollar funding rounds. However, after a few low-key discussions, he realised that New Zealand’s startup scene was very different from that in North America and Europe. “Investors in America take a punt, knowing that some of their investments would yield no return and others would become unicorns. In NZ, investors are incredibly risk-averse, predominantly small investors expecting significant equity for minimal cash. Moreover, technology investors predominantly wanted the next big mobile app or cloud application” elucidates Glen.
Being unknown in NZ, setting up a hightech business in NZ was another major challenge for Glen. Having relocated back to New Zealand after 18 years away, he lacked the local networks NZ investors demanded. Also, even though foreign capital was more readily available, a condition was establishing Nexustorage head office outside New Zealand. “My vision remains Nexustorage, an NZ tech startup. A big part of that vision is contributing to expanding the NZ tech sector. On that, I was unwilling to compromise. So, throwing the ‘expected’ tech-startup rule book out the window, Nexustorage was self-funded, with development through a profit share agreement,” adds Glen. Recently Nexustorage was recognised as one of the 10 Hottest Data Storage Startups Of 2022
Simplifying Data Management With Nexfs
Under the insightful leadership of Glen, Nexustorage develops storage software for the lifecycle of vast amounts of data. With a focus on simplifying data management, Nexustorage has developed Nexfs, an advanced, scalable software-defined storage solution that combines two storage technologies to present a cost-effective intelligent pool of united storage. The first storage technology (Block) is fast and well-suited for storing structured data but is expensive, limited in capacity, and requires backup. On the other hand, the second type of storage (Cloud and Object) is cheaper and massively scalable with inherent data protection, reducing the requirement for backup, but it is unsuitable for storing structured data. So, instead of attempting to bridge the divide between conventional block storage and new-age cloud and object storage as other storage vendors have tried, Nexfs unites the storage technologies delivering scalability, advanced data protection, and automated data lifecycle management. By supporting structured and unstructured data in a single storage pool, Nexfs reduces overall storage costs while creating a massively scalable storage system accessible over traditional storage protocols and newer cloud and object methods. “When users and applications consume Nexfs storage, the data is automatically placed in the most appropriate and cost-effective location without additional tiering or archiving software. By implementing the Nexfs solution, organizations require fewer storage systems, reducing storage and data protection costs and business risk,” asserts Glen.
Fostering a People and Value-Centric Culture
While the success of Nexustorage comes from its incredible technology and solutions, the vast majority of its success can be attributed to its people-centric, collaborative culture. Nexustorage has a fun, transparent, and empowering work environment where people are not afraid to ask questions, take ownership, and learn from mistakes. Nexustorage employees are remote workers, and it trusts its employees to manage their time to meet work commitments and their personal life. “Nexustorage recognizes that our stakeholders extend beyond our shareholders, staff, and customers. We strive to be a sustainable company, with consideration for our broader community, future generations, and the environment,” affirms Glen.
Keeping these ethos at the core, Glen also emphasizes on giving back to the community. He was recently elected to the Paraparaumu Community Board in local elections and then chair. Forging ahead, while he builds Nexustorage as a leading global technology company, and continues as a committee member of the Kapiti Economic Development Association, he aspires to support others to succeed in starting and operating sustainable businesses.
A Piece of Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
Imparting the key lessons learned from his years of experience, Glen urges young entrepreneurs never to stop learning and to work with people they respect, watch them, learn from them, and make them their mentors. He also advises focusing on the right money, from the right place, at the right time. “Once you take external funds, you will spend your time chasing where the next dollar will come from. Too many founders take money at the wrong time or from the wrong place, struggle to meet commitments, and sadly watch the demise of their dream. Most importantly, follow your dream, remember why you started your journey, and don’t let anyone steal it from you,” concludes Glen.