Atlas Venture makes 20X return on Isilon sale to EMC

Sujal Patel and Paul Mikesell founded Isilon back in early 2001.  Now, just shy of 10 years later, the founders can proudly celebrate an awesome $2.25bn exit to EMC.

The story is noteworthy in part because Patel came back to the top spot after the company repeatedly missed its revenue guidance.  Not to take anything away from the work done by the rest of the team including IPO-CEO Steve Goldman, but next time someone asks you whether this founder can scale, just say yes :-)

It’s also a great day at Atlas Venture since we are seeing $473M returned and over 20X return.  We were the largest shareholder throughout the life of the company, ever since the Series A with Madrona back in 2001.  My personal life coach and investment guru Barry Fidelman can be proud of his contribution to this great success.

Techflash Seattle has a good company history here whilst Xconomy does its usual thorough job.  PE Hub has the headline that puts it subtly: Atlas Venture kills it with Isilon acquisition.

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5 Responses to Atlas Venture makes 20X return on Isilon sale to EMC

  1. That’s great news for Atlas !
    That’s the kind of exit you don’t see quite often in Europe. It feels like focusing back on the US might be a very good move.
    Any other potential fund maker in that fund portfolio ?

  2. herve says:

    Hi Fred

    first congrats for the deal. Interesting to see that an IPO may not be a (extremely) good exit, but only an acquisition later on.
    Interesting to see that you do not have to be in Silicon Valley, even if as the previous commenter noticed, we seldom have this in Europe.

    Two questions, though I doubt you will be allowed to give me an answer so maybe two comments:
    – there is no indication of Paul Mikesell as a founder in the IPO prospectus… so I have no clue about how much he owned initially.
    – the series A and B are not described as precisely as the C,D,E in terms of specific VC investments and ownership.
    I assume that the reason for the founder is that he left before the IPO and had less than 5% ownership
    But I am less sure to understand why the series A and B are not better described.

    As you may guess, I am interested in building as precise a cap. table as possible :-)


  3. Fred Destin says:

    Hi Julien> Isilon is from Atlas Venture Fund V. In fund V we have had a lot of exits already with the top three being Isilon, Renovo and Momenta Pharmaceuticals and others being U3Pharma, Adnexus, Alnylam, Arrow, NxStage, PhaseForward, Orthogon, Prestwick, Revit, Sporever, Spotfire, Telephia and Wavesmith Networks. Remaining value drivers in that fund include Icera and Picochip, both of which are UK companies. Overall fund V is a strong performer. In the rest of the portfolio we have a bunch of plays that we feel strongly about and hopefully can execute well on.

  4. Fred Destin says:

    Hi Herve // I will send you the exact details over email. We owned 31% after Series A and maintained 25% over time to the IPO.

  5. Thanks for the good written article , good work !