Blue Box to Big Blue: IBM Acquires Seattle Private Cloud Provider

Seattle-based private cloud provider Blue Box has been scooped up by IBM, as the tech giant looks to bolster its OpenStack-based cloud computing offerings.

Blue Box, founded in 2003 by Jesse Proudman, has 65 employees in Seattle. A representative for IBM says the company plans to integrate Blue Box’s employees into its business, and they will remain based in Seattle.

Blue Box was funded by its founders and customer revenue through its first nine years. In 2012, it raised $4.3 million from Voyager Capital and several unnamed individual investors. Earlier this year, it closed a $14 million Series B funding round with backing from an unnamed “integrated telecommunications provider,” as well as Voyager, Founder Collective, and Blue Box executives. Terms of the IBM acquisition were not disclosed.

IBM (NYSE: IBM) is getting not only Blue Box’s talent and, presumably, customer book, but also its expertise with deploying and managing private and hybrid cloud computing environments based on the OpenStack technology. The open source cloud computing project includes software for computing, storage, networking, and control. It has nearly 25,000 users, 507 supporting companies, and is among the fastest-growing open source communities in the world, according to Openstack.org.

“Our technology and business model will become a formational kernel for the IBM Cloud organization to rally around for private cloud,” writes Proudman in a blog post on the deal.

That IBM came to a Seattle-based company to advance its position in cloud computing is yet another indication of the region’s leadership in a technology that is increasingly at the core of IT.

Benjamin Romano is editor of Xconomy Seattle. Email him at bromano [at] xconomy.com. Follow @bromano

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