Re-imagining Enterprise Applications in the Cloud

Ben Horowitz

“Gettin’ money like hell yah
This s@%t so good, it don’t even smell bad”
—Lil’ Wayne, Wasted

A few months ago, Aneel Bhusri offered to introduce me to one his favorite entrepreneurs. Since Aneel is, for my money, the best enterprise venture capitalist in the world, I immediately agreed and Aneel did not disappoint. He introduced me to Christian Gheorghe, founder of TIAN Software, a predictive analytics company acquired by OutlookSoft, where, as Chief Technology Officer, he introduced important and innovative Enterprise Performance Management applications into the market. OutlookSoft was eventually acquired by SAP.

Christian grew up under a totalitarian communist government in Romania during the 1970s and ’80s. He first journeyed to the US in 1989 when he arrived knowing no English, almost nothing about capitalism, and with $27 in total assets. He began his new life working in construction before moving into the more lucrative limousine driving business. Through these efforts he was able to generate enough money to put himself through school, learn English and re-enter the workforce using his original field of study, computer science. Eventually, he founded his own company and completed the remarkable journey from Communism to Entrepreneur in one lifetime.

After hearing Christian’s background, and prior to hearing anything about his new company, I was ready to co-fund him with Aneel. Still, I was curious to learn about Christian’s latest invention upon which he was founding his new company Tidemark, because the funny thing about inventors is that it’s often difficult to see where they stop and where their inventions begin. My friend Marc Andreessen invented the web browser and it is as though he invented it exclusively for his own personal use. Marc absorbs more information than anyone I’ve ever known or even heard about. He owns over 10,000 music albums, thousands of DVDS, reads every major newspaper, economics blog, technology blog, political blog, major magazine and several hundred books a year. He had to invent the browser, because otherwise there wouldn’t have been nearly enough information for him to absorb. With this as a background, I couldn’t wait to hear what Christian had created.

Tidemark is still in stealth mode, so the easiest way for me to describe them is through the lens of their inventor. Tidemark is to enterprise software applications as the United States is to Communist Romania. Historically, like Communist Romania, enterprise software has been highly restrictive, inflexible, slow-to-change, slow in general and, quite frankly, oppressive. In addition, customers have been forced to conform their business processes to the underlying data models, limiting the software’s general usefulness. As he did with his own life, Christian has completely re-imagined the category from top to bottom.

With Tidemark, the solution resides in the cloud, but this is only the beginning. Christian throws out the old data models, databases, and data restrictions. He then ejects the scale restrictions, broken user interaction paradigms, and performance bottlenecks. Rather than defining their business by their data model, customers define their business by the real people and processes that they use. And the resulting applications perform 1000X faster than their communist, excuse me, enterprise software counterparts.

Tidemark is a stunning vision from a stunning entrepreneur and I can’t wait until we can share everything that they are doing.

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