Exclusive: CEO of HP’s Big Data Company Vertica Chris Lynch Resigns – Pledges Support to Startups

Chris Lynch, the CEO of Vertica a company he led in it’s acquisition to HP for $350+ million, has resigned as head of HP’s Vertica division effective immediately, SiliconANGLE has learned. A source close to the company indicates that Lynch informed the Vertica staff of his intentions to leave the company at an emotional private meeting at Vertica’s Cambridge headquarters in February.

Lynch, who was brought on board as CEO of then independent Vertica Systems in 2010, is largely credited with turning around the struggling organization’s sales & marketing operations and significantly boosting employee morale following the tumultuous tenure of his successor, Vertica founder Mike Stonebreaker.

Big Data Startup Czar

Chris Lynch is a star in the Boston startup scene.  I meet all the people in this business and Chris Lynch stands out big time.  He is a self made entrepreneur, business guru, and has very high integrity – a triple threat.  Chris is what the market wants in either a venture capitalist or leading entrepreneur or business leader. The demand in the startup world and booming technology scene is shifting from that fancy so called elite education to a person who is experienced, knowledgeable, and capable/

Chris Lynch leaving HP is a big loss for the company.  Lynch is now freely roaming the big data badlands and this will really put some wind in the sales of the startup scene in Boston.

Since it’s founding in 2005, industry insiders agreed that Vertica’s big data solution was among the best on the market, but business lagged due in part to poor sales, marketing, and operations. The company’s fortunes changed dramatically after Lynch came on board, culminating in topping the Big Data pure-play market with $84 million in revenue in 2011, beating out the likes of EMC Greenplum and Teradata Aster Data. Vertica’s customer roster reads like a Who’s Who of Web 2.0 titans and includes Twitter, Zynga, AOL and Groupon.

Next Steps – Go Startup or Big Company

Lynch told his staff during the February meeting that he has no intention of retiring. Indeed, he pledged to his staff that he would assist in starting-up or otherwise supporting no less than 20 Big Data start-ups in the Boston area over the next five years.

SiliconAngle has been covering Big Data for more than two years and it’s suddenly become the hottest sector in IT, as technologies like MPP data warehousing and Hadoop migrate from Web companies to traditional enterprises eager to mine an ever-increasing volume of multi-structured data for new business insights. Both Wikibon and IDC put the Big Data market at roughly $5B today and Wikibon forecasts the market to grow to $50B by 2017. IDC’s forecast is much more conservative. I think they’re both low as I see a $200B opportunity in this space, or more.

As for Lynch, he is a rock star on the east coast and my take is the VC’s will be falling all over him to fund his next startup. I’d be surprised if it’s not somehow related to Big Data because he’s been a master at catching the next wave—be it networking, storage or nextgen databases.  But I doubt his next venture will be directly competitive to Vertica as Lynch is known for moving to new sectors in his subsequent ventures. Look for Lynch to do something in the Big Data applications area as this is a major white space in Big Data.

Prior to joining Vertica, Lynch served as President and CEO of Acopia Networks, which was acquired by F5 Communications in 2007. He was also head of sales for ArrowPoint Communications, which sold to Cisco for $5.7B.

Lynch’s tenure atop Vertica was not without some controversy. In January, the Boston Business Journal’s Kyle Alspach published a piece that claimed Lynch bullied and talked down to his employees. Reaction was swift from the Vertica team and other former employees who worked for Lynch, with numerous employees posting comments and blog posts of their own blasting Alspach’s portrayal of Lynch as totally off-base.

Chuck Smith, Vertica’s Corporate Communications Manager describes Lynch from a blog post this past January, “I’ve worked with Chris Lynch for a number of years (and companies), and simply stated, Chris is the type of CEO who puts everything on the line for his employees, customers, and partners day-in and day-out.”

Chris Lynch should ignite the startup scene in Boston.

Chris Lynch is a unique breed of entrepreneur – he’s smart, street smart, business savvy, and very clever.

Lynch recently delivered a motivating commencement speech at Bentley College in Boston.


Of course another motivating video similar to Lynch was the famous now historic commencement from Steve Jobs.

It’s the kind of people like Lynch and Jobs who are powering the tech economy not folks who build and flip companies like the recent news of Kevin Rose selling his failed product and company Milk to Google for $30 million.