Aron is part of a small exodus of entrepreneurs from Nutanix, which pioneered a type of computing infrastructure known as "hyperconverged" storage that combines storage hardware with various types of software, all stored in a single inexpensive device that runs in a company's data center. Nutanix was one of the first big billion-dollar "unicorn" start-ups of the current generation, raising nearly $500 million to reach a valuation of more than $2 billion before finally going public last September. It's currently worth about $2.5 billion.
Aron co-founded Nutanix, then left in 2013 to start Cohesity; one of Cohesity's primary competitors is a start-up called Rubrik, which was started in 2014 by Bipul Sinha, a board member at Nutanix and major investor in that company.
Both Cohesity and Rubrik have turned to engineers from Google and other massive consumer internet companies to develop the next generation of backup technology for the business world. Aron said about 30 percent of his 35-person engineering team came from Google.
For its part, Rubrik raised a $61 million round in August and said in February that it's approaching $100 million in annualized bookings.
Ask Aron or Sinha whom they consider their primary competitors and both mention legacy hardware vendors with single-purpose boxes.
Aron said that in 80 percent of deals Cohesity is vying with companies like Commvault and EMC's Data Domain. His team scours the market for businesses that have switched another part of the business from a traditional vendor to something new. For example, companies that have moved from disk storage to flash make good prospects.
"It gives us an indication that they're looking for alternatives," Aron said.
The financing round includes capital from Cisco and Hewlett Packard Enterprise as well as a number of existing investors. Aron said the capital infusion will go toward building the company's sales and marketing efforts and pushing deeper into Europe and Asia.
As for product development, Aron said backup and data protection get customers in the door, but in the future businesses will turn to Cohesity for more advanced uses like analytics and test and development.
"That's where our R&D efforts are going," he said.