Congratulations to Greenplum (full disclosure: portfolio company) as it announced its first referenceable customer, Frontier Airlines, last week. To refresh your memory, Greenplum develops software that allows customers to deploy terabyte scale datawarehouses leveraging PostgreSQL at significant price/performance advantages over exsiting solutions. Building credibility is an important step for startups and getting referenceable customers and hiring industry talent are two surefire ways to do that. Here is a quote from Robert Rapp, CIO of Frontier and former CIO of Southwest Airlines, from a Charles Babcock Information Week article:
Frontier CIO Robert Rapp says the airline’s yield management process runs on Bizgres MPP. The system predicts the yield or profit that Frontier will receive on various flight combinations and ticket prices. The system helps Frontier determine where to offer seats at bargain prices and where to avoid what might turn out to be a competitive bloodletting, with no one profiting, says Rapp, the former CIO of Southwest Airlines, a pioneer of low-priced flights.
"Greenplum allowed us a very economical solution for a mid-sized airline. There are large amounts of parallelism in the system," says Rapp. A comparable but higher end commercial system used by retailers such as Wal-Mart comes from Teradata, a unit of NCR Corp. "Greenplum was available at 20-30 times less" than such a system."It was available at a very nice price point for us," adds Rapp.
Congrats to the Greenplum team on reaching this significant milestone and I am sure that this Frontier Airlines story is one that the company and I will be hearing about for a long time, in every sales presentation and pitch. As I have said before, it is important to make sure your first 5 customers are highly referenceable (extremely happy with your solution and influential in the community to get the market’s attention) so you can significantly leverage those first relationships to establish market credibility and even help close some of your sales prospects.