New York Cloud Startup Apprenda Expanding to Seattle Area, Targets Microsoft’s Backyard

8/10/11Follow @curtwoodward

Money goes out, people come in. That’s the plan for the latest out-of-town investment by Bellevue, WA-based Ignition Partners, which led a $10 million growth round for Clifton Park, NY-based cloud computing startup Apprenda.

I caught up with Apprenda CEO Sinclair Schuller after Tuesday’s announcement to get some more details on a nugget that wasn’t in the press release—Apprenda is expanding in the Seattle region as it looks to add more people. That tidbit actually came via this tweet from Ignition managing director and new Apprenda board member Frank Artale.

Schuller, who was in the Seattle area when we spoke Tuesday afternoon, confirms that Apprenda is looking at ramping up its presence in the region. The company already has a couple of employees here who telecommute, but the future plans foresee a standalone office to house business development and product development talent. The location makes a lot of sense because Apprenda’s product targets companies that use Microsoft’s .NET framework.

“The startup culture is here, the business culture is here. But we also found from a product development and business development point of view, that Microsoft DNA is just pervasive,” Schuller says. “And given that we’re a Microsoft-centric startup, I think it just fits the ingredient list perfectly.”

Apprenda sells a software platform that developers in big companies can use to significantly cut back on the amount of specialized coding needed to write applications for large data centers. Honeywell is probably the biggest-name customer, but small independent developers and startups also have used the free entry-level version, Schuller says.

Apprenda is also looking to hire sales and marketing people, but they’ll be focused in New York. “Sixty 60 percent of the IT budget almost worldwide is within 30 miles of Manhattan,” Schuller says. The company, founded in 2007, employs more than 20 people now.

The Northwest expansion is preliminary for now. Apprenda doesn’t have a site picked out, and doesn’t even have a number nailed down for how many people it wants to hire out here. Those decisions are coming in the next month or two, Schuller says.

I reminded Schuller that he’s not the only company in town looking to lure some Microsofties from their big corporate jobs in Redmond. He agreed, but notes that his type of engineers are probably a bit more focused on hard-core cloud infrastructure than those who might go to a consumer Web company, for instance. And besides, this is ground zero.

“You’re not going to find those people just anywhere in the country,” Schuller says. “They’re going to be here in the Redmond, Seattle area.”

Curt Woodward is a senior editor for Xconomy based in Boston. Email: cwoodward@xconomy.com Follow @curtwoodward

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