Opscode announced the finalization of $19.5 million in Series C funding led by Ignition Partners, with additional participation from Battery Ventures and Draper Fisher Jurvetson, today. The funding will support the expansion of Opscode’s “software engineering, sales, marketing and business development efforts.” Headquartered in Seattle, Opscode develops cloud automation software that streamlines the deployment and ongoing management of cloud infrastructures. Opscode’s flagship product chef is well known for automating the deployment of hardware and software applications for complex cloud IT ecosystems. Today’s announcement of the finalization of Series C funding includes news that John Connors of Ignition Partners joined Opscode’s Board of Directors. Opscode’s total funding now stands at approximately $31 million. Opscode competes with the likes of Puppet Labs and Rightscale in addition to HP, IBM and BMC.
This week, cloud services provider Appirio announced the finalization of $60 million in Series D funding led by General Atlantic with additional participation from Sequoia Capital and GGV Capital. The funding allows for continued investment in Appirio’s cloud technology platform marked by its Cloud Enablement Suite, as well as mergers and acquisitions to support its global expansion. Appirio’s Cloud Enablement Suite contains “applications, assets, analytics and crowdsourcing community to power enterprise cloud development.” Appirio’s crowdsourcing platform CloudSpokes matches its customers with a community of more than 35,000 developers interested in working on cloud-related projects.
Appirio has managed installations of cloud applications featuring Salesforce.com, Google Apps and Workday for customers such as Facebook, Twitter, Japan Post and BMC Software. To date, the company has migrated more than 1.5 million users to the cloud. The capital raise follows upon a highly successful year for Appirio in 2011 in which it developed its Cloud Enablement Suite, increased revenue by 80% in comparison with the previous year and acquired SaaSpoint.
Appirio’s capital raise illustrates investor interest in the cloud service provider market. Roughly ten days ago, Cloud Sherpas, a cloud service provider that focuses on Google Apps and Salesforce.com, announced a $20 million funding raise from Columbia Capital as well as the merger with GlobalOne that enables the inclusion of Salesforce applications within its portfolio. Appirio differentiates itself from Cloud Sherpas by embracing a broader portfolio of cloud-based applications. Appirio currently has offices in the U.S., U.K., Singapore and Japan and offers its customers developers through its crowdsourcing platform that are located in more than 65 countries.
According to a Bloomberg report, venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is considering creating a fund devoted to cloud computing products and services. Having funded Zynga, Groupon, AppDynamics and Puppet Labs, Kleiner Perkins is no stranger to cloud-based software. That said, a fund dedicated to cloud products and services might require the Menlo Park based venture capital firm to delineate a stricter definition of cloud products and services than simply Software as a Service, which has become increasingly common in the software industry. The report notes that Kleiner Perkins may invest as much as $100 million in companies dedicated to cloud products and services this year. Given the increasing co-implication of Big Data technology and cloud computing, one possible approach for the firm might be to create a cloud and Big Data venture fund that partially follows the lead of Accel partners in creating a $100 million fund dedicated to Big Data.
IBM recently announced nine startups as finalists in the IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year competition. The competition features startups that tackle problems faced by cities and urban environments. Each of the nine finalists placed first in regional competitions spanning the nine cities of Barcelona, Tel Aviv, Bangalore, Rio de Janeiro, New York City, Shanghai, London, Austin and Istanbul. Finalists will meet with IBM and venture capital firms in San Francisco from January 31 to February 2 in order to compete for the title of IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year.
The nine finalists are:
• BitCarrier: (winner, SmartCamp Barcelona)
Bitcarrier provides traffic management solutions that leverage data from Bluetooth and public WiFI mobile devices.
• C-B4 Context Based 4Casting: (winner, SmartCamp Tel Aviv)
C-B4 specializes in pattern recognition and predictive “Big Data” analytics that provide customers with actionable insights for making strategic business decisions.
• ConnectM: (winner, SmartCamp Bangalore)
ConnectIM delivers business intelligence on domain specific analytics in the machine to machine (M2M) space.
• IDXP: (winner, SmartCamp Rio de Janeiro)
IDXP analyzes data about consumer behavior in the brick and mortar retail space.
• Localytics: (winner, SmartCamp New York City)
Localytics provides analytics that enable developers of applications for smartphones and tablets to improve the usage of their mobile apps.
• Palmap: (winner, SmartCamp Shanghai)
Palmap’s technology maps indoor spaces that are not presently covered by GIS data to help enable businesses and consumers more effectively navigate spaces such as airports and shopping malls.
• Profitero: (winner, SmartCamp London)
Profitero provides analytics on competitor pricing, product inventory and strategy in order to help organizations develop more effective pricing strategies.
• SecureWaters: (winner, SmartCamp Austin)
SecureWaters sells a product that detects toxic products in drinking water sources at concentrations far below those resulting from accidental contamination or a terrorist attack.
• SkinScan: (winner, SmartCamp Istanbul)
SkinScan provides an Apple iPhone integrated product for tracking and analyzing skin moles in order to proactively guard against skin cancer.
Business intelligence on Big Data represents the clear theme for over half of the finalists. Only one finalist examined problems specific to the healthcare (SkinScan) and counter-terrorism (SecureWaters) verticals, respectively. The IBM Global Entrepreneur Winner For 2010 was Streetline, which received $15 million in venture capital for its analytic solutions that empower cities, garages, airports and universities to more effectively manage parking and increase parking-related revenue.
The Russian Venture Company (RVC) and RTP Ventures, two Russian venture capital firms, have recently created offices in the U.S. and intend to invest heavily in software, hardware and technology without a social media focus. The Russian Venture Company (RVC) has offices in Back Bay, Boston and Menlo Park, CA whereas RTP Ventures is based in NYC. RVC-USA is headed by CEO Axel Tillman and has the dual goal of guiding U.S. startups and venture capital to Russian markets in addition to introducing Russian engineering talent to the U.S. based companies. RVC-USA is expected to be within the range of $50-$80 million and plans to make investments of $1–$3 million starting in August. RTP Ventures, the personal fund of billionaire Leonid Boguslavsky, is managed by serial entrepreneur and Greycroft Partners venture capital veteran Kirill Sheynkman. In a blog post, Sheynkman remarked that the focus of RTP Ventures “will be early-stage, Series A software and internet companies that have technology and innovation at their core. B2B, SaaS, cloud, big data, analytics, infrastructure, enterprise — these, in my opinion, are markets underserved by the current swarm of consumer internet investors. And these are exactly the investments that we are going to do.” RTP Ventures launched in October 2011 with $100 million in funding and an additional $600 million for later stage investments.
Cloud computing company Joyent announced that it had successfully secured $85 million in venture capital funding today. The European group Weather Investment II led the round. Weather Investment II was advised by Accelero Capital, who also participated in the funding raise. Telefonica Digital contributed to the funding raise as a strategic investor. Speaking of the capital raise, Joyent CEO and founder David Young remarked: “Having worked with customers around the world, we see the demand for consistent global services regardless of how many countries our customers are operating in. This funding will enable Joyent to build out a global compute offering to assist customers in expanding consistent software, support and services to their clients.” The funding is intended to enable Joyent to develop global operations marked by the delivery of public clouds on every continent. Joyent’s SmartDataCenter software provides the technological infrastructure for the delivery of high performance public, private and hybrid clouds. Customers can use Joyent’s SmartDataCenter to create private clouds for their own operations or public clouds for use by third parties.
In May 2011, for example, Joyent revealed details of an alliance with ClusterTech whereby ClusterTech would become the provider of public cloud services to companies in the gaming, media, mobile and social media space in China. Under this arrangement, ClusterTech provisioned Joyent’s cloud computing SmartDataCenter software to service providers that licensed Joyent’s cloud computing technology to media, gaming and mobile companies in China. In licensing its cloud computing software to a third party distributor, Joyent leverages a business model that differs markedly from most of its U.S. competitors such as Amazon Web Services and Rackspace that retain control over the deployment of their cloud computing operating systems. Joyent’s existing investors include El Dorado Ventures, Epic Ventures, Greycroft Partners, Intel Capital, and Liberty Global.