Sujal Patel

Strategic Director

Sujal Patel

Sujal Patel

Strategic Director

Sujal is the co-founder of Nautilus Biotechnology, a life sciences company working to create a platform technology for quantifying and unlocking the complexity of the proteome. Nautilus’ mission is to democratize access to the proteome and, in doing so, enable fundamental advancements across human health and medicine.

Journey to Madrona

Sujal founded Isilon Systems in 2001, a storage company built for the future of unstructured, file-based data, which (at that time) required a fundamentally new storage paradigm. In 2006, Isilon completed one of the most successful initial public offerings of the year. From 2007 to 2010, Sujal, as CEO, led Isilon during a period of rapid growth, improving operating margins from -37.5% to +20%.

EMC (since acquired by Dell) acquired Isilon in December 2010 for $2.6 Billion, the largest acquisition in EMC’s history. Sujal served as the president of EMC’s Isilon Storage Division from the acquisition until November 2012, driving significant revenue growth, market expansion, and organizational scale.

Prior to EMC and Isilon, Sujal served in various engineering roles at RealNetworks, Inc., in part as the chief architect behind the company’s second-generation core media delivery system.

Lessons learned

  1. Nothing ever goes according to plan. You have to be, to a fault, an eternal optimist and keep pounding away and persevering through every challenge in front of you. Everything can be solved — you just have to keep trying.
  2. Founders should pay attention to their instincts when hiring. Unless the person is right, just wait. Making a wrong hire and then dealing with the fallout is ten times worse. So, just wait until you find the right person.

When he’s not in the office…

Sujal and his family lead a very active non-work life. Whether it’s piling into their sprinter van to head off to another National Park (their goal is to visit them all!), watching their three kids play in a weekend squash tournament, or pursuing their passion for snow sports, they try not to let any grass grow under their feet. Life is too short, so they try and squeeze as much in while still maintaining some family sanity!


Sujal holds nineteen patents in the areas of storage, networking, and media delivery and five patents for innovations related to the development of Nautilus Biotechnology’s technology. He is a well-known speaker on entrepreneurship and has received a variety of industry awards. Currently, Sujal serves on the board of directors at Qumulo and Rainier Scholars and helps direct the philanthropic efforts of his family’s foundation. He graduated from the University of Maryland College Park in 1996 with a degree in computer science.

Sujal on Madrona

"I’ve had a relationship with Madrona for over 20 years. What makes Madrona a really successful partner for entrepreneurs is not that they have money. Lots of VCs have money. But the partners at Madrona have excellent instincts about building and growing companies. They work hard to build a significant network in the Northwest and beyond — and that’s helpful to companies."