5 questions with Bernard Dallé

Last week, London-based email management company Mimecast announced it raised $21 million in a Series B round from Index Ventures and Dawn Capital. The funding is expected to support research and development for the company’s e-mail archiving, continuity and security on a cloud-based platform.

Index is no stranger to cloud-related investments.

The firm’s cloud-related investments include Dimdim (which provides Web conferencing solutions), OpenX (which provides open source online advertising services), RightScale (which develops management platforms for cloud computing) and StorSimple (which provides enterprise-focused cloud storage).

In addition, Index Partner Bernard Dallé says that the firm expects to announce another cloud-related infrastructure investment soon.

PE Week Managing Editor Alastair Goldfisher caught up with Dallé, who has joined the Mimecast board, to ask him some questions about cloud computing and venture investing.

Q: What interested you in Mimecast?


While email is mission-critical for most organizations, managing the volume of emails is becoming a growing headache. This has traditionally been solved by different software solutions, as each addressed a distinct function, such as such as archiving, continuity, security and compliance. Mimecast solves these issues for customers.

We are squarely focused on growing the business at present and not thinking about further fund-raising or an exit right now.

Q: We’ve seen a lot of cloud-related startups lately. What’s your outlook for the sector?

A: Cloud is about flexibility of IT delivery and consumption. It is a secular trend that will become very prevalent and will be pervasive throughout the IT landscape, from testing to deployment and production operations. We’re seeing interesting startups in all of these segments.

And we’re going to see a growing number of acquisitions of cloud companies, given the importance of this trend. For example, consider VMware, which is looking to build out its cloud infrastructure, buying Zimbra.

Q: In general, what’s your outlook for VC investing in 2010?


I anticipate a growth in the volume of deals, primarily driven by the improving exit markets. However, I also see that the recovery will likely be gradual because the number of new funds raised has been modest.

Q: As a rule, are you looking for investments in entrepreneurs that you’ve worked with before?


No, this is not a filter that we use. Obviously, we seek to retain entrepreneurs within the Index network. This network is our primary source of high-quality deal flow, but we always simply look to partner with ambitious entrepreneurs looking to build significant businesses that leave a lasting impact on their markets.

Q: It seems company founders and entrepreneurs have to be involved with a lot of different things, such as branding, technology, marketing, advertising, finances and even social media, etc. Which areas do you think most entrepreneurs need help with?


It really varies a lot, and we find ourselves helping our companies across all of these areas. If I had to pick the areas that come up most frequently, I would say they fall into the categories of customer acquisition, business strategy and team building.

But again, the areas can be as diverse as providing public relation coaching to a CEO or helping to identify a reliable IT development offshore partner.