Neil Patel

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want help with your fundraising or acquisition, just book a call click here.

In the fast-paced world of entrepreneurship, the journey from inception to success is often marked by unexpected twists and turns. Such is the story of Steve Tuck, whose path from corporate stability to the tumultuous startup landscape is a testament to resilience, vision, and unwavering determination.

In this blog post, we delve into Steve Tuck’s insightful interview, exploring the challenges and triumphs of building Oxide, a company poised to revolutionize the cloud computing industry. He reveals his experiences dealing with leadership changes and the excitement of snagging the first customer and sending out the first shipment.

Steve also talks about navigating the challenges of the Silicon Valley Bank downturn, the uncertainty of building the business, and dealing with regulatory compliance.

Listen to the full podcast episode and review the transcript here.

Detail page image


The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks

A Journey Through Time and Experience

Steve Tuck’s journey began in Piedmont, California, in the East Bay community, where he grew up in a household immersed in the world of heating and air conditioning.

His formative years were spent learning the ropes of business from his family, instilling a strong work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit in him.

Stev remembers working summer jobs lining plenums, bending metal, and running service deliveries to technicians who were doing furnace and air conditioning installs.

After completing his college education at the University of Wisconsin, Steve ventured into the tech industry in Texas, joining Dell Computer in the midst of its high-flying success in the late 1990s.

Lessons from Corporate Giants

Steve’s nine-year tenure at Dell provided him with invaluable insights into the inner workings of a tech giant during both its peak and challenging times.

He witnessed firsthand the technological transformations and operational innovations that shaped the industry landscape, as well as downsizing and lay-offs.

Steve remembers joining Dell in October 1999 without appreciating the exceptional success the company had seen in the last decade or so. The company had the highest-growing stock on every exchange over the course of this period and was at the top of the personal computer industry.

From navigating the burst of the dot-com bubble to embracing the rise of cloud computing, Steve’s experiences at Dell laid the foundation for his future endeavors.

He watched the advent of IBM and how, for the very first time, the industry was moving from a single application per server to putting 10 applications and then 100 applications on a server.

Steve considers himself fortunate to be a part of the transition state at Dell and the industry. The entire process, from manufacturing and operational to financial innovation, was fascinating and impressive for Steve.

He remembers visiting the factories and seeing how much thought and innovation went into the cash conversion cycle and the efficiency Michael built around that operation.

At the time, the culture, team, and product at Dell were a big draw and inspired Steve to remain with the company for the rest of his career.

See How I Can Help You With Your Fundraising Or Acquisition Efforts

  • Fundraising or Acquisition Process: get guidance from A to Z.
  • Materials: our team creates epic pitch decks and financial models.
  • Investor and Buyer Access: connect with the right investors or buyers for your business and close them.

Book a Call

Technological Developments and Transitions

Steve’s initial goal was to stay at Dell for 20 years before moving on to different companies and doing different things. However, he soon saw a new sector emerging where upcoming technology companies like Yahoo, Facebook, MySpace, and others were growing rapidly.

Steve also saw that Dell, HP, and IBM had started building what can be termed Swiss army knife systems that were suitable for every sector and user. These systems delivered operational efficiency and a product focus.

Although hyper scalers like Dell were being pushed in a different direction to cater to this growing demand, there was some amount of resistance and trepidation toward making the shift.

Steve had been working with one of the providers in the market on a Facebook project where they were opening up their API for the first time.

Facebook had done all its development internally, and Mark wanted to open up the APIs so third-party developers could create content on the platform. It was a very controversial decision at the time, but they had this big developer platform launch.

Sun Microsystems and Facebook joined hands to build a cloud computing company. However, at the last minute, Sun was not able to ship on time. That’s when Steve got a call at Dell. The company had a small window slot to be the technology partner for this critical Facebook developer launch.

Even so, they were able to work on it and get approval. Long story short, Dell successfully swapped in for Sun.

Transitioning to Joyent

The launch opened up the Facebook platform publicly, and in the midst of that, Steve ended up working very closely with the founders at Joyent.

He began to get introduced to this new abstraction of cloud computing that they had long believed in. They had been imbuing that it was going to be the future of computing.

Soon, Steve got the offer to join and head up the go-to-market efforts in 2009. He would spend the next decade at Joyent. The company had raised substantial capital, and with the aid of investors, it was looking to grow quickly enough to deliver on its promise when raising that capital.

However, Joyent had yet to achieve the product-market and sales-market fit. Steve began to scale the company in all markets internationally and built vast go-to-market engines to generate that demand. This strategy ended up costing the company a lot of money.

As a result, Joyent had to retrench a couple of years later and recapitalize going forward. Even so, it was able to recover from the mistake since capital was cheap and poured into the small business asset class.

Sometime in 2016, Samsung acquired Joyent. The decision was prompted by the realization that, as the biggest technology owners in the world, they were losing money for every mobile user they were signing up.

Since the company couldn’t continue building its innovations on the cloud, it needed to move the infrastructure on-premises. At the time, there was no technology solution to bring cloud computing on-premises, so they bought a cloud computing company.

Embracing the Startup Culture

A crucial lesson that Steve carried with him when he started Oxide was to develop a firm understanding of the product you build, the market you built it for, and the pain points the product is solving. Only then should the company think about scaling.

Having worked for more than 20 years in a 9 to 5 job, Steve was ready to transition to the startup world. Quitting the corporate ecosystem and venturing into the unknown was a massive step. He recalls a couple of triggers that inspired him to take the step.

For one, witnessing things that didn’t work in the prior company and wishing he could have affected changes. And secondly, recognizing the rise of Cloud Computing. Before 2010, the sector was worth less than $1B.

However, now it’s worth more than $100B, a phenomenal rise which is unlike any other over the last decade. Steve was confident that cloud computing was the future of computing.

The Birth of Oxide: A Vision Unfolds

With a deep understanding of the cloud computing landscape and a passion for innovation, Steve embarked on his most ambitious venture yet: Oxide. Founded with a vision to revolutionize on-premises computing, Oxide represents a bold departure from traditional paradigms.

Steve recalls how he was inspired by Samsung’s acquisition and the realization that there weren’t enough cloud computing companies for large enterprises. By integrating hardware and software design, Oxide aims to unlock new levels of efficiency and productivity for enterprises worldwide.

Steve talks about the issues Oxide faced with its cloud tech stack and how they ended up talking to the folks at Amazon, Google, and Facebook to understand how they dealt with the issues.

That’s when Steve realized these companies had been designing and building a modern cloud purpose-built infrastructure for almost a decade. This was sort of off-limits to those who were building themselves on-prem.

Weathering the Storms: Challenges and Triumphs

As Steve explains, cloud computing is not the notion of renting space at Amazon, Google, or Microsoft; it’s actually an architecture. It is a programmable interface to elastic infrastructure services, making it super easy for developers to deploy and operate software.

Since cloud computing is vital and ubiquitous, it cannot be a rental solution only. Oxide’s core belief is that enterprises need a computer that runs the cloud that they can own. The on-premises market is a massive multi-$100B, largely underserved market.

Oxide’s business model is to build and sell a cloud computer that includes hardware and software in an appliance-like solution that companies buy, deploy, and run. Oxide caters to Fortune 1000 companies that spend half a billion to a billion dollars to build an on-premises infrastructure every year.

However, with public cloud spending, they can now get the same benefits of cloud computing but in an on-prem-owned model.

Navigating Regulatory Compliance

The journey of Oxide has been fraught with challenges, from navigating regulatory compliance to facing the unexpected upheaval of financial institutions. As Steve explains, Oxide built its own operating system firmware control plane for true cloud computing.

This process involved several pieces of equipment that had to be shipped out to the enterprise, which required FCC compliance.

Manufacturers must meet specific emission standards so that people shipping electronic equipment to data centers do not send radio signals everywhere. That necessitated ensuring compliance.

After overcoming this hurdle, Oxide had to deal with the collapse of a major banking partner which threatened to derail Oxide’s progress, posing a formidable test of resilience for Steve and his team.

He recalls how the funding they had raised was unavailable because everything they had was in the Silicon Valley Bank.

However, they emerged stronger through transparency, optimism, and unwavering determination, reaffirming their commitment to their vision. Steve talks about how they were fortunate to have core investors who offered them funds to cover payroll and other expenses.

Yet another hurdle they faced was COVID hitting within three months of Oxide raising its series C round. To date, Oxide has raised close to $80M.

Storytelling is everything, which is something that Steve Tuck was able to master. Being able to capture the essence of what you are doing in 15 to 20 slides is the key. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend Peter Thiel (see it here), where the most critical slides are highlighted.

Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.

Looking Towards the Future

As Oxide continues to chart its course amidst an ever-changing landscape, Steve remains steadfast in his belief in the transformative power of cloud computing.

With a clear vision and a dedicated team by his side, he is poised to lead Oxide towards new heights of success, driving innovation and shaping the future of on-premises computing.


The journey of Steve Tuck and Oxide serves as a compelling narrative of perseverance, innovation, and the unwavering pursuit of a vision.

From humble beginnings to the forefront of technological innovation, Steve’s story inspires us to embrace change, navigate challenges, and forge our path toward a brighter future.

As Oxide continues to write its chapter in the annals of tech history, one thing remains certain: the winds of change may blow, but with resilience and determination, anything is possible.

Listen to the full podcast episode to know more, including:

  • Steve Tuck’s journey underscores the importance of resilience when navigating the unpredictable terrain of entrepreneurship.
  • The birth of Oxide reflects Steve’s unwavering vision to revolutionize on-premises computing through integration and innovation.
  • Steve’s experiences at Dell and Joyent provided invaluable insights into operational efficiency and the transformative power of technology.
  • Through transparent communication, Steve and his team weathered the storm of financial upheaval, reaffirming trust and commitment.
  • Steve’s transition from corporate stability to the startup landscape highlights the importance of embracing change and seizing new opportunities.
  • The challenges faced at Joyent underscore the critical importance of achieving product-market fit before scaling operations.
  • As Oxide continues its journey, Steve’s unwavering optimism and commitment to innovation remain essential driving forces for success.


For a winning deck, see the commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400M (see it here). 

Detail page image


The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks

Remember to unlock for free the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.

Facebook Comments

Neil Patel

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want help with your fundraising or acquisition, just book a call

Book a Call

Swipe Up To Get More Funding!


Want To Raise Millions?

Get the FREE bundle used by over 160,000 entrepreneurs showing you exactly what you need to do to get more funding.

We will address your fundraising challenges, investor appeal, and market opportunities.