Tag: Cloudability

TechStars’ Cloudability Closes on $8.7 million in Venture Capital

In the first TechStars class held at the Geekdom earlier this year, Cloudability already had a head start on some of the other companies.
The Portland-based startup had already participated in the Portland Incubator Experiment. When the team landed in San Antonio, they had already raised $1.1 million, according to VentureBeat.
Now Mat Ellis, Cloudability’s CEO, has announced the company has raised an $8.7 million first round of venture capital led by Foundry. In addition, Jason Mendelson and Jason Seats, managing director of the TechStars Cloud, will join its board of directors.
“Just over a year ago we were on stage at Structure with some screen shots and just a few users, so this is a really big deal for us,” Ellis wrote in a company blog post on the deal.
“Today over 3,000 people in 100 countries are using Cloudability. Collectively they have spent over $100 million on cloud services, and added over 10,000 cloud accounts,” according to Ellis. “If ever there was an advert for the power of the cloud, this is it. Three guys have an idea, and one year later that idea is being used across the planet.”
Cloudability helps companies manage how much they spend on Cloud services. Rackspace Hostings offers the service to all of its cloud customers. The company plans to use the money it has raised to hire more people and build out its product offering by adding more features. Cloudability has 15 employees, up from four in December.
The only downside to the funding? Ellis can’t get this tune out of his head:

Meet the TechStars Cloud Companies of 2012

Rackspace wants to do for San Antonio what Dell has done for Austin, said Graham Weston, its chairman.
“You’re here at the very beginning of something big” Weston said.
That was evident Wednesday at the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre in downtown San Antonio when 11 teams took to the stage to showcase their cloud-based businesses at the first ever TechStars Cloud Demo Day.
Throughout the nearly three hour event, the audience of about 350 people, which included angel investors and venture capitalists, applauded their accomplishments and they laughed a few times too.
Jason Seats and Nicole Glaros served as managing directors for the TechStars Cloud and another 75 entrepreneurs volunteered to mentor the companies. Glaros spent three months in San Antonio, relocating here from Boulder just weeks after having a baby.
While most of the companies asked for financing, Seats asked the audience not to report the details of the deals because of Securities and Exchange Commission rules on fundraising. In general, though, all of the companies have already raised money to finance their operations.
To kick things off, Dirk Elmendorf, co-founder of Rackspace, introduced the first company.
“I liked Keen from the very beginning,” he said.
Keen.io gives mobile developers the data they need to optimize their applications.
“The Keen team has that magic” Elmendorf said.
That team includes Ryan Spraetz and Dan Kador, formerly with Salesforce and Kyle Wild, formerly with Google. All of them are engineers, best friends and they have been working together since high school 13 years ago. All three quit their jobs within three days of starting the TechStars Cloud program. They relocated from San Francisco and moved into an old 4,000 square foot bed and breakfast in the King William neighborhood.
“What we came in with three months ago is so far from what we have created today,” Spraetz said. “The Tech Stars Cloud program has just been amazing.”
Keen.io reinvents analytics for mobile applications, Spraetz said.
“Every mobile application is its own universe filled with information generated by millions of users,” he said.
Keen.io allows companies to create their own custom analytics using its platform.
“In the last three months we’ve designed and built the first version of our program,” Spraetz said. Today, more than 100 mobile apps use Keen.io to track their analytics.
“We’re looking for active mentorship from smart and engaged investors,” Spraetz said.
The next presenter, Emergent One created a platform that allows any company to easily create an Application Programming Interface or API, which is a set of tools for building software applications.
“APIs are immensely valuable for all kinds of businesses,” said Kevin Pfab, its CEO. Best Buy recently introduced an API that it projects will double its business, he said.
But right now, building APIs is hard, Pfab said.
“What may seem like a small project turns into a massive one,” Pfab said.
That’s where Emergent One comes to rescue. It has an API generation platform that allows a company to create a custom API in hours instead of months and years, Pfab said. He showed a technical demo to illustrate how easy the process was. The platform also provides deep analytics on how a company’s API is being used, he said.
“The entire API solution is being offered right out of the box,” Pfab said. “And you can get started in minutes.”
Emergent One’s platform allows a company to build a new API faster and cheaper than ever before, he said.
The baby-faced Pfab also drew the loudest laugh from the crowd when he announced that between himself and his partner, Mike Taczak, they also “share 46 years of experience being alive.”
Mentor Paul Ford with SoftLayer introduced Callisto.fm, a real-time engagement analytics site for media creators and distributors. Its platform can tell them who’s using their content and for how long. It wants to replace Neilsen and Arbitron’s media ratings services.
Callisto.fm provides real-time metrics for online content.
“When your video goes viral in Japan you will know it before anyone on the planet,” said Michael Sitarzewski, Callisto.fm’s cofounder and CEO. The platform also provides information on social activity like how many times the content has been tweeted or posted to Facebook, he said.
“This stuff is amazing and we’re having a blast building it,” he said.
Callisto.fm is the only company measuring real time user engagement across all media platforms, Sitarzewski said. It offers its products with pricing starting at $50 a month.
The other team members include Travis Silverman, Richard Jones and Chris Roth. Callisto.fm is fully funded. It has already raised $700,000 from DFJ Mercury and TechStars. But it might seek another round of funding later on this year.
Conductrics, which helps companies increase their customer conversions via its platform, has already snagged Pfizer and Under Armour as customers, said Matt Gershoff, co-founder.
The company’s software allows companies to tailor their website to different customers depending on where they are coming from and what their interests might be. For example, Under Armour can tailor its site to offer cold gear to people from snow states and heat gear to people from sunshine states, Gershoff said.
Conductrics has created a very simple API that lets developers build apps customized for different customers, he said. The company has already optimized 12 million decisions for its customers.
In addition to Gershoff, Nate Weiss is a co-founder and chief technology officer.
CloudSnap is tackling the Software as a Service, known as Saas, marketplace with a Saas in a box solution, said Colin Loretz, co-founder.
“Saas spending is projected to reach $16 billion in 2013,” Loretz said.
Cloudsnap allows web applications to connect together. About 60 percent of companies are trying to integrate their web applications and they find the process time consuming, expensive and risky, Loretz said.
“We know these issues firsthand as we used to be those expensive consultants,” Loretz said.
For example, Unbounce can’t take leads and put them into Salesforce. Cloudsnap fixes that. It makes it easy to snap together your application with out writing any code, Loretz said. CloudSnap supports more than 100 applications today, he said.
“Cloud adoption is next space race,” he said.
Cloudsnap connects Basecamp and Salesforce together and allows them to share files, Loretz said. It’s the glue for applications on the Internet.
Distil.it is a content protection network that stops malicious web scraping bots from stealing content from digital publishers like CNN and Engadget.
On the Internet, web scrapers can steal what used to be unique and valuable content and as a result digital publishers lose 146 million visitors daily, said Rami Essaid, co-founder and CEO. That equates to $5.5 billion annually stolen, he said.
“Existing hardware solutions are not effective in real time,” Essaid said. “Distil is the answer.”
Distil, through customized algorithms, identifies malicious bots and stops them from taking a website’s content, he said.
“Our platform is easy to step up,” Essaid said. “Our network is extremely intelligent.”
The market in the U.S. is worth $1.3 billion, Essaid said. It has struck recent partnerships with SoftLayer, Rackspace and ZippyKid.
Next, Lew Moorman, president of Rackspace introduced Andrew Cronk, cofounder and CEO of Tempo DB.
“The demand for the solution for this problem is about to explode,” Moorman said.
Tempo DB is a big data analysis company that is a database service for time series data.
“We make it possible to store and instantly analyze the massive streams of measured data that break traditional databases,” Cronk said.
“If you thought we had big data today you haven’t seen nothing yet” Cronk said. He calls it “massive data” that is being generated by all kinds of connected device or “the Internet of things,” he said.
“This is an incredible opportunity to measure and learn more about our tools,” Cronk said.
Temp provides visualization, analysis and storage of data in a set of tools “that are an analyst’s dream” Cronk said.
“We’ve got everything you need to start getting real value from your data today,” he said.
For example, one customer, InThrMa operates smart meters that generate a half a billion data points per thermostat per year, Cronk said. With Tempo, InThrMa is able to capture and analyze that data. With the data, InThrMa is able to provide all kinds of new insights including energy use forecasting for customers.
“We are working with companies like this in three markets today – energy, networks and sensors,” Cronk said. “We’re currently streaming in over 25 million new data points everyday.”
The team includes Cronk, Michael Yagley, CTO and Justin DeLay, CMO
“We are finally building a system we wish had existed years ago,” Cronk said.
Appsembler is a platform that allows software companies to launch “Software as a Service” or “SaaS” applications in minutes, not months, said Nate Aune, the company’s CEO and founder.
Appsembler offers a “Saas in a box solution” that includes hosting, billing, support and provides and overall integrated solution, Aune said.
It already has 5,000 customers using the platform and 3,000 more on a wait list, Aune said.
Flomio makes it easy to build NFC and RFID enabled applications, said Richard Grundy, its co-founder and CEO.
“We extend the web into the physical world,” he said.
Flomio allows developers to early create NFC enabled applications and cloud-based updates are easily deployed to all devices, Grundy said.
He used a neighborhood coffee shop as an example. The owner might want to create a mobile loyalty app for the business. That’s easy to do with Flomio, Grundy said.
It has already sealed partnerships with Texas Instruments, Motorola, Trimble and ACS, he said.
The other members of the Flomio team include Jonathan Hilley and John Bullard.
Weston, chairman of Rackspace, introduced Vidmaker, an online video collaboration site.
“When you think of Vidmaker, I want you to think about one company: Instagram,” Weston said. He’s already an investor in the company, which he thinks will do for video what Instagram did for still photographs. Facebook recently bought Instagram for $1 billion.
Vidmaker makes it easy to manage and edit video on any device, anywhere with anyone, said Dale Emmons, its cofounder and CEO.
“It’s going to unleash a wave of creativity,” he said.
Vidmaker is targeted at video hobbyists and enthusiasts, Emmons said. A need exists for an easy to use collaborative video service online, he said. Everyday, people do 300,000 searches on Google for video editing software, he said.
Vidmaker hasn’t launched yet, but when it does it expects to offer a fermium version of its software for people who post content with a creative commons, allowing others to use it. It will also offer a starter package at $10 a month for 10 gigabytes of storage for a private account. It’s rates scale up from there.
Emmons and Ryan Bolyard previously worked on video editing software at Sony. The other cofounder, Yuri Zapuchlak worked at Intuit.
“When we joined TechStars we had no user interface,” Emmons said. But in three months of 18 hour days, they built a beautiful user interface and they expect to launch the site in a beta test soon.
The last company to present was introduced by Pat Condon, cofounder of Rackspace.
Cloudability was one of the most seasoned companies on the stage. It had already graduated for an incubation program in Portland, its hometown and it had closed on a $1.2 million round of financing from Trinity, Walden plus Portland investors. Cloudability makes a platform that allows companies to monitor and manage how much they spend on the cloud. It’s free for companies that earn less than $2,500 a month and pricing goes up from there with a small business edition, enterprise edition and partner edition. It has already signed up 2,200 companies in more than 80 countries.
“We want to get this tool into the hands of every cloud business user,” said J.R. Storment, cofounder with Mat Ellis and Jon Frisby.
Along those lines, Storment announced Rackspace, one of its partners, will begin offering Cloudability to all of its 175,000 users for free.
“That’s really just the beginning,” Storment said.
Cloudability has nine employees and has a clear path to profitability this year, Storment said.

Forging the TechStars Cloud companies

At the Geekdom, twice a week, entrepreneurs behind the 11 TechStars Cloud companies gather to pitch their ventures.

Jason Seats with laptop, Nicole Glaros behind him and Nicholas Longo, Geekdom director , listening to TechStar Cloud pitches

Jason Seats and Nicole Glaros, TechStars Cloud managing directors, critique those pitches along with a handful of others, ranging from interested bystanders to serious angel and venture investors and other TechStar members.
“Jokes are only good if they land,” Seats said at the end of one pitch.
“I was totally wrapped up in the story, which was great,” said Glaros in response to another pitch.
“I want to see more interactions with data and the service,” said Seats.
“It was just a little too dragged out,” Glaros said. “I want you to move through it faster.”
“Maybe you need less of those slides,” Seats said.
The goal is by April 11, the TechStars Demo Day at the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre in downtown San Antonio, that the 11 companies rate at least an eight on a presentation scale that ranges from one to ten. At this session, almost three weeks from Demo Day, most of the companies rank at seven or lower. (Seats takes away a point from those presenters still using notes and almost all of the presenters are still reading from note cards.)

One of the TechStars Cloud entrepreneurs pitching his venture during practice

Since January, this group of startup entrepreneurs have gathered at the Geekdom, a collaborative workspace on the 11th floor of the Weston Centre. All of them relocated here from outside Texas. They came from Portland, Madison, Wisconsin, New York, Boston and other cities. They rented houses and apartments downtown. San Antonio Developers Ed Cross and David Adelman helped them secure housing, Seats said.
Most of the names of the companies are embargoed until Demo Day. But Cloudability, a Portland-based company, has already publicly posted about its involvement in the program. The company, which launched in November of 2011, has created a software platform that allows companies to track their cloud spending online. The company’s software draws from hosting companies’ data. It has more than 1,000 companies from 72 countries signed up to manage nearly $52 million in cloud spending. Cloudability has 10 employees and has already raised $1.2 million in a seed round of funding.
Mat Ellis, the company’s founder, has written about his TechStars incubator experiences on his company’s blog. Cloudability also participated in the Portland Incubator Experiment’s inaugural class.
Cloudability is one of the more mature startups involved in the TechStars Cloud program. Some of the companies are just starting out.
“It’s been a good program,” said Seats, during a recent interview at his office. “I feel like everyone has gotten a lot of value out of it.”
The TechStars program has had its ups and downs. Some people left the program. Other startups completely revamped their companies. But that’s Ok, Seats said.
In fact, the first phase of the program focused on the TechStar members’ ideas and setting up a foundation for their businesses. The TechStars’ 170 mentors hammered the entrepreneurs with questions and poked holes in their business plans.
“You either crumble or adapt,” Seats said. “Good ideas respond positively to that kind of pummeling.”
Seats compared the process to forging metal.
“The first month is about applying enough beatings to see if this is the right direction,” Seats said. “What’s working or what’s not working?”
During the second phase, the companies did mentor “dating” to match up with the right mentors for their business. In the end, each team got between three to six lead mentors, Seats said.
The last phase of the program is all about execution, Seats said. The TechStar Cloud companies spend countless hours programming, working on business fundamentals, marketing and more. They often work until late into the night and on the weekends.
But the TechStar Cloud startup founders have also had some fun. They all went to South by Southwest in Austin in March. They also regularly go to local bars, restaurants and museums together.
But in the final weeks of the program, everyone is focused on nailing their presentation pitches and running their businesses.
“For the majority of these companies, this is their shot,” Seats said.

© 2024 SiliconHills

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑