The wizard that is Woz becomes chief scientist at new storage start-up

20 Nov 2014

Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple and new chief scientist at Primary Data

Storage start-up Primary Data has raised US$63m in new funding and has brought Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak on board as its chief scientist.

As chief scientist, Wozniak will counsel Primary Data on technology vision and architecture, and he will also share the Primary Data story as he meets technology innovators around the globe.

Primary Data, which is headed by CEO Lance Smith and CTO David Flynn, aims to extend the concept of virtualisation more broadly in data centres.

Smith and Flynn’s previous start-up Fusion-io also had ‘Woz’ on board as an adviser. SanDisk bought the company in June for US$1.1bn.

The new company has found a way to virtualise application data in a way that makes it independent of the underlying storage hardware.

Seamless data for a transparent world

“Innovations like wearables, digital assistants, and the internet of things are making computing more and more transparent in our lives, and for technology to remain accessible, we need to ensure data remains seamless as it serves us information,” said Wozniak.

“Primary Data uses data virtualisation to dynamically place data anywhere as applications demand. I’m excited to share our data virtualisation platform with the world.”

Wozniak started Apple with Steve Jobs in the late 1970s after selling his Hewlett-Packard calculator and Jobs sold his Volkswagen van to raise US$1,300 to get the company off the ground from a garage.

Smith said Wozniak has a unique way of seeing the world through the eyes of both an engineer and a visionary, and his energy, curiosity, and excitement about technology is inspiring.

“At Fusion-io, he helped us showcase the breakthroughs possible by adding flash in the enterprise, and we’re excited to have him on the team at Primary Data as we focus on how data virtualisation can deliver intelligent data mobility that evolves with the needs of modern enterprises,” Smith said.

Steve Wozniak image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years