The Troposphere

Jul 13 2009   9:03PM GMT

The Curious Case of CloudSwitch

JohnMWillis John Willis Profile: JohnMWillis

A few days ago I had a call with Ellen Rubin, one of the co-founders of a new cloud startup called Cloudswitch.  Cloudswitch recently closed an $8M Series B funding from Commonwealth Capital Ventures.  The interesting thing is that they are still in stealth mode and have not yet released a product.  They have created an enormous amount of buzz based on the fact that their company is still in stealth mode and have attracted so much money.  Is the cloud really this hot, or is there more to this story?  I decided to tell their story in pure David Fincher style.  I will tell this curious case of Cloud Switch story backwards.

  • I am given the green light to talk about Cloudswitch, a new kind of cloud service that is described as a cloud broker service.
  • After almost a year of ongoing discussions with Ellen, I finally get why they call it a switch.  They see themselves moving workloads back and forth within the enterprise, as opposed to the concept of a cloudburst which may imply a unidirectional flow.
  • Cloudswitch acquires new office space in Burlington, MA.  They now have a good team of developers, management, and good funding to focus on the getting the product ready and are now spending time with early customers and partners.
  • June 2009 they closed an $8M Series B led by Commonwealth Capital Ventures with existing investors Matrix and Atlas ventures also participating.
  • They spend a lot of time working with enterprises customers and have successfully completed their pilot phase of development.  They are now gearing up for a beta later this year.
  • The new CEO, John, caused a number of venture firms who know him to express interest in doing a preemptive Series B.  Although they were not planning to look for additional funding until 2010, they decided that this was a great opportunity.
  • They build a core team and are fortunate to be able to bring in John McEleney as their CEO.  John was formerly the CEO at SolidWorks and ComputerVision.  He grew SolidWorks to over $350M in revenue and a market leader in the CAD space. He has a great track record of scaling companies.
  • Ellen pings me again in February 2009 to get me up to speed on what they are doing.  I am very excited about what they are doing.
  • They raised $7.4M in a Series A – first part in July 2008, second part added Atlas Venture in December 2008.
  • They tried to focus on solving some of the main issues that will enable enterprises to use cloud computing: security, control and integration with the enterprise data center.  Their product will be delivered as a software appliance.
  • Cloudswitch is founded by Ellen Rubin and John Considine in spring of 2008, and they incubate the company at Matrix Partners.  They do a ton of research asking what people think about their idea.
  • I am contacted by Ellen Rubin, formerly head of marketing at Netezza, in May of 2008.  Ellen asks me what I think about a Cloud Broker appliance startup idea.  I am under no restriction to discuss this idea, other than my word.  I decide not to divulge anything until Ellen gives me the green light.

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