Meet Matthew Dornquast, the radical Minnesota Tech CEO who turns down Venture Capital

by Ernest Grumbles

Matthew Dornquast Code 42 Software
In an earlier post, I raised the question of “Who are Minnesota’s Radical Tech CEOs?”  In it, I proposed that if we want Minnesota to become a (top 5) hub for tech innovation with quality jobs, we need business leaders who get the connection between business, people and place.

I’m happy to report that our first Radical CEO is Matthew Dornquast of Code 42 Software.

Mr. Dornquast has built a formidable Minnesota tech company with rapid growth in the midst of a major economic downturn. Furthermore, he has an express commitment to the Minnesota tech ecosystem – a commitment consistently demonstrated by his actions within the Minnesota tech ecosystem.  In this sense, Matthew Dornquast is a radicalist with true community vision.

Key Facts:

  • Matt Dornquast, CEO and Co-Founder of Code42 Software and home of CrashPlan – founded in 2003.
  • Interned at Minnesota innovation pioneer Control Data in high school and coded in assembly language for seven years by the time he got to college.  Knows Minnesota’s amazing information tech heritage and wants us to revert back to our pioneering days .
  • Has built CrashPlan into the #3 online backup provider in the United States (after Mozy and Carbonite) with worldwide distribution.  CrashPlan grew 400% during this recent economic downturn period (how many tech companies can say that?)
  • Maintains a collaborative work environment and focus.  Describes people and culture as the most important ingredients for perpetual success.
  • Has created “startups” inside large tech companies – yes, that’s possible.  Has worked with pods of very creative people who are pushing innovation from deep inside large enterprise.
  • Has turned down numerous deals from West Coast and local VC’s because he believes firmly that Minnesota tech successes should stay here to enrich and develop the environment. Not interested in “flipping” companies.  Wants CrashPlan to be the great Minnesota tech/software company that didn’t leave.
  • Thinks Minnesota is a “10” as a place to launch new tech enterprise: smart people, great work ethic, access to capital.   Positive attitude always welcome!
  • Actively encourages potential Minnesota entrepreneurs to weigh risk and reward and jump on chances to build something new when they can. Wants entrepreneurship taught early – by teachers and parents!
  • Mentors other local storage companies (his future competitors?!?) and is involved with supporting the Minne* community. Wants local money to move more freely.
  • Wants 3 great consumer-facing brands based here (the likes of Google, YouTube etc…) and he’s serious about contributing towards the cause.

Although Code 42/CrashPlan doesn’t need the strings that come attached with investment capital, Mr. Dornquast did have this to say about VC : “I am an absolute fan of VC money.  I think it’s appropriate in many cases and is absolutely critical to create a “silicon prairie” here in MN.  SplitRock was a tremendous benefit to helping us navigate our potential here in this market.”

With Radical CEO’s like this, we can maintain and expand our amazing Minnesota innovation culture. Who’s next?


  • heroldpeter_hp

    Just to keep this ticking over. MozyPro. Failed backups due to
    “glitches”. Failed restores using 'web restore'. Email alerts notified
    backup success when zero files had been transferred. File sizes less
    than 1Gb.