Austin Startup Gravitant Finds Market as “Expedia” of Cloud Services
Companies are increasingly turning to the cloud to manage IT systems, but executives don’t necessarily know which services work best for them.
That’s where Gravitant comes in. Think of the Austin startup, which recently raised $10 million in venture capital, as the Expedia of IT, says its founder and CEO Mohammed Farooq.
“What do you want to do and what are your requirements,” he says. “I’m going to simplify it and tell you the choices. You don’t have to do the pricing models. The system has an engine that computes all aspects of this.”
Businesses can seek to move a particular application to the cloud, for which Gravitant deploys its “tool set” to determine the cloud architecture, materials for the app, such as storage and networking, as well as managed services—monitoring, backup, or disaster recovery—needed for production. Those tools then come back with suggestions for cloud providers that best match a company’s needs by cost and service-level agreement.
Gravitant operates as a third-party broker between customers and cloud providers such as Rackspace and Amazon Web Services. “The cloud is completely changing the paradigm of how we consume IT,” Farooq adds.
The market potential for such services is growing. While a recent Gartner survey on the future of IT services found that only 38 percent of enterprise organizations use cloud services today, 80 percent said they intend to use them within the next year, including 55 percent of organizations that are not using the cloud today.
Farooq founded the 40-person company in 2004, after he left the Texas Health and Human Services Agency—where, as CTO, he supervised its $4 billion IT services network for seven years. He previously worked at Austin software company Exterprise and then at Commerce One after it acquired the local company.
The combination of public and private sector experience has been useful. In March, Gravitant signed on General Dynamics as a customer. The defense contractor will use Gravitant’s software to help with a new series of cloud computing solutions for its work with government agencies.
Proceeds from the Series B funding round raised from Corsa Ventures and S3 Ventures, both based in Austin, will be used to boost sales and marketing efforts, Farooq says.
“He has a great view of the problem that many are not going to have,” says Brian Smith, S3’s managing director. “He is so far ahead in terms of number of years writing software and solving these problems.”