The success of Datto founder and CEO Austin McChord reads like a digital fairytale. Having launched Datto at the tender age of 21 and appearing in the 30 under 30 Forbes list, he also bravely turned down a  $100 million buyout offer from an unnamed security firm.

Austin readily admits that he still has a copy of the terms as a reminder of the brave decision he once made. With a purported valuation of   $1 billion that upgrades the company to unicorn status, it appears holding his nerve was the best decision he ever made.

Datto is in the business of protecting company data and pride themselves on being able to restore data at a rate that is very close to high availability. Protecting organizations from experiencing any downtime, even when hardware has been destroyed is proving to be an essential service for businesses that increasingly solely exist online.

The startup is also known for being an innovative provider of comprehensive backup, recovery, and business continuity solutions. Cloud to cloud backup is another strong feature as data center's move out of the workplace too. 

Armed with a forward thinking and innovative spirit, it's easy to see how he has become so successful in this digital age. The magic sauce or secret formula was revealed in an interview with Forbes magazine when he advised: "You don't have to build a Snapchat to be a billionaire, you go after a product, do it 30% better, 10% cheaper and build an incredibly valuable business."

The recent release of Datto Drive offers an additional insight into this philosophy. The new service is standing out from the crowd by offering small businesses $10 per terabyte per month while also allowing an unlimited amount of users within a company.

When talking about file sync and share software, most people will automatically think of Dropbox, Box and Microsoft One Drive. The launch of Datto Drive was also coupled with an offer of 1 TB of cloud-based storage capacity free for the first year to the first million businesses that signed up for the service.

This tempting offer and pricing structure of the new Datto Drive encouraged 6,000 companies to sign up in in only two weeks. Once again I discovered that it's actually the simplicity rather than the pricing that is most appealing to small businesses.

After following the story of Datto from a humble startup to racing towards unicorn status, I have become increasingly fascinated by this and similar success stories. All too often we concentrate on the uncertainties in life which hold us back from believing that we can succeed. When I asked Austin what advice he could offer anyone at the beginning of their journey, he simply replied: "Just do it." 

Having spoken to a number of hugely successful entrepreneurs I have learned that cliches are cliches for a reason. Any mistakes or missteps are opportunities to improve along the way. The biggest key to success is having a tenacious spirit and it's this gift that might even give you the confidence to turn down $100 million yourself one day in the near future.

I talk with Austin McChord on my podcast about his inspiring story and the future for Datto. I also try to get to the bottom of what is in the infamous secret room in their new office. 

Published on: Jun 8, 2016
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