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This is the second year that TechStars is running a thematic accelerator in Texas focused just on cloud computing. At Foundry Group, we believe in thematic investing both as a way to organize and filter the massive number of opportunities to look at, but also as a way to build a set of muscles around a sphere of knowledge. It’s been fun to experiment with this approach at TechStars.
While we recognize the tidal wave trend of all technology becoming ‘cloudy’, we are approaching TechStars Cloud with specific focus. The companies in TechStars Cloud are the ones enabling the trend of cloud computing and providing the underlying technology, versus just the ones that are being carried along with it.
An example of just such a company is Cloudability, who is a graduate of last years TechStars Cloud program, who we subsequently funded this past summer. They are taking the pain out of managing and monitoring the dozens and often hundreds of individual cloud provider accounts that companies end up with. It’s a big need and the early success of Cloudability validates this.
Cloud computing is still an amazingly nascent field with opportunities everywhere you look. From database technologies to network, big data to analytics, security to hosting platforms, documents to video, the next wave of companies are turning cloud technology into leverage for all businesses – tech and non-tech. The world now has an API and we call it cloud.
If you are a part of that landscape, or want to be, this is a great first step -> apply.techstars.com. Tell them I sent you.
The first cycle of The Microsoft Accelerator, powered by TechStars, is in its final run up to demo day. The first program has focused on Kinect applications and has some super teams, such as Gestsure (they control operating rooms with motion control) and Ubi (they turn any surface into a touch screen.)
Demo Day is in Seattle on June 28th. If you are an investor (angel or VC), send me an email and I’ll get you an invitation.
TechStars and Microsoft have been so pleased with the program that a second cycle of the Microsoft Accelerator in Seattle has been added focusing on cloud-based applications. The applications are open now through July 13. Each company gets $20k in funding, mentorship from top entrepreneurs, investors and Microsoft executives, $60K in Azure credit, office space, training and support, and demo day to pitch to investors, media, and industry influentials.
As you may know Microsoft has really made some awesome improvements to Windows Azure. Most notably it’s much more open source focused. Want to run Linux? No problem. Python? No problem as Microsoft has embraced open source with this update of Windows Azure. While you need not be using Azure to apply to the Microsoft Accelerator, if you’re playing in the Microsoft ecosystem at all I’d really encourage you to take a look at the latest news about Windows Azure.
If you are an entrepreneur working on something cloud computing related, especially in the Microsoft ecosystem, consider applying to the Microsoft Accelerator today.
I’m now officially in the cloud business, courtesy of my friends at Standing Cloud (we are investors.) Standing Cloud delivers cloud application management solutions for cloud service providers, technology solution providers, and their customers. Their application management layer, automated managed services and Application Storefront make it easy to build, deploy and manage applications in the cloud.
Back in November, I wrote that “If you are a hosting, managed service provider, or building a cloud service (public or private), you have three choices. The first is to ignore this stuff (dumb). The second is to try to build it all yourself and keep pace with Amazon (good luck). The third is to use Standing Cloud.” And that’s exactly what I’m doing. Basically, Brad’s Amazing Cloud makes me a cloud provider.
Built on a white-label version on the Standing Cloud platform, Brad’s Amazing Cloud provides all the tools to get applications up and running in the cloud quickly, affordably, and without the hassle of managing hardware and infrastructure. So it’s goodbye to server racks, terminal windows, and sys admin headaches. With Brad’s Amazing Cloud, it’s simple and hassle-free, whether you’re a skilled developer or a non-technical application user.
With Brad’s Amazing Cloud, you get your choice of clouds, applications, and developer frameworks. You can run on AWS, Rackspace, GoGrid, and several other cloud hosting providers. Through the Storefront, you can fire up preconfigured instances of a wide range of open source apps – and you need no technical knowledge to do so. Nearly 100 open-source and commercial apps – including popular business applications like Drupal, WordPress,
All account management with the cloud provider you select is handled transparently – no separate account needed. Pick the cloud of your choice, and change at any time, for any reason. Your applications are completely portable from cloud-to-cloud, so you’re never locked-in to a single cloud service or provider.
Brad’s Amazing Cloud is real, and it’s open for business now. Check it out and tell me what you think.
If you’re a solutions provider looking to provide an application management layer for your customers or resellers, a developer looking for the easiest way to build, deploy and scale applications in the cloud, or just want to get your business up and running in the cloud, quickly, cost effectively and without the typical technical challenges, Standing Cloud may have a solution for you. With their white-label capabilities, your cloud offering can be customized to meet your specific needs (just like they did for me), including branding on the storefront, management console and support pages, and your choice of applications (including proprietary apps and software), infrastructure and supported clouds.
Are you building a cloud startup? If so, apply to TechStars Cloud today!
Earlier this month TechStars announced its newest accelerator program, TechStars Cloud, and we are looking for the best cloud startups we can find to go through the inaugural program.
We’ve gotten a lot of questions about what constitutes a “cloud startup”, so here is a discussion of what we think are cloud startups. We think we can do something special with this program and have big expectations for the results we’ll see when we connect early stage cloud startups to the best cloud mentors and companies.
If you haven’t heard, we have upped the initial funding in the program to 118k.
StillSecure has been nailing it in the service provider segment with deals with XO, ViaWest, CoreSite, and others recently. StillSecure fundamentally believes that service providers – telcos, datacenter, cloud providers – will be the channel to market for security solutions and I agree. They have built an amazing set of solutions for colocation and dedicated server environments and have solutions that can apply to some higher-end cloud users. Today they are announcing a new host-based firewall management solution in conjunction with SoftLayer – a leader in the cloud market. Aimed at all cloud users, StillSecure’s new solution is the start of a major initiative for the company and is also a new category of solutions.
As most cloud users know, securing their systems is incredibly hard. The solutions are either just “cloud-washed” products that aren’t a fit or they are so expensive that they cannot fit within the elastic cloud model. StillSecure has taken nearly 12 years of history and experience and have built a product from the ground-up with the cloud users’ customer experience and profile in mind.
The solution, called Cloud SMS, is a free today and will expand into premium offerings very quickly. StillSecure and Cloud SMS are in the SoftLayer Tech Partner Marketplace, being promoted to SoftLayer’s 23,000 customers. The two companies are also beginning to explore offering the complete spectrum of StillSecure’s managed security services into SoftLayer’s broader offerings.
I’m excited for the StillSecure and SoftLayer teams – building a secure cloud is an incredibly important goal and one that many companies can take advantage of. Do yourself a favor – if you have any cloud instances out there, go download StillSecure’s cloud security product and please secure them.