Check out Jonathan Cobb's presentation on stage and the judges' feedback
Vator Splash Oakland 2015 finalist Cloudstead is a private cloud platform that seamlessly integrates an unlimited number of applications, giving users massive privacy improvements compared to current cloud services such as Google and Dropbox. When a user launches their own cloudstead, we give them a key and throw away ours. We can't ever get in again unless the user requests it.
Here's a video of Jonathan Cobb presenting at Vator Splash Oakland.
Among the judges were Erik Moore (Base Ventures), Paige Craig (Angel Investor), Maha Ibrahim (Canaan Partners), Noah Doyle (Javelin Venture Partners), Mike Walsh (Structure Capital), Tianxiang Zhuo (Karlin Ventures), Dave Samuel (Freestyle VC) and Adam Smith (Bowery Capital).
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Freestyle Capital is a seed stage investor and mentor for Internet software startups. We’re the ones you come to when you want more than just a check. Our community of veteran entrepreneurs offers real-world experience and business finesse without stuffy investor baggage or hidden agendas. We’re candid, we’re real, and we’re ready to help you change the world. (You might even have fun while you’re at it.)
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Cloudstead is a private cloud platform that seamlessly integrates an unlimited number of applications, giving users massive privacy improvements compared to current cloud services such as Google and Dropbox. When a user launches their own cloudstead, we give them a key and throw away ours. We can't ever get in again unless the user requests it.
Cloudstead is remarkably versatile. It can run any application, written in any popular language. That means that Cloudstead’s growing platform adapts quickly to the changing needs of users across varied businesses. Currently, Cloudstead has over a dozen applications, including email, calendar, storage, surveys, collaborative documents, bug tracking, project management and more. Soon, we'll be adding an app a day.
All of these apps work together to form a cohesive system that is a joy to use, while also providing the privacy everyone should have.
Cloudstead is a private cloud that’s also uniquely affordable, offering many of the same benefits that large companies enjoy when they build expensive, complex private clouds.
Questions & Answers:
Q. Companies like Google and Dropbox provide some of the services you do, such as storage, email and tools. What's Cloudstead's proposition over those services?
A. Google Apps and/or Dropbox/Box are just a fraction of what users want and need. SMBs, need lots of other software, such as MailChimp, SurveyMonkey, GitHub, Basecamp, Hipchat, Confluence, Jira, New Relic, Airbrake.io, Mixpanel, the list goes on and on. Cloudstead not only replaces ALL of it, but does so 1) with an integrated system in which all components work together, saving your team a ton of it's most precious resource - time, and 2) much less expensively (savings of 80% or more)
So the accurate comparison is not between Cloudstead and Google/Dropbox, but rather between Cloudstead and a disjointed hodgepodge of 15+ different SaaS applications. The current cloud patchwork wasn’t designed to work together, and doesn’t.
Here is some of the pain that SMBs experience with stitched together Frankenstein SaaS - and that Cloudstead's integrated system elimiinates:
Management Headache. You have to manage users in a dozen different places. Onboarding is a pain. Offboarding is even worse -- who inherits the files and data? Does your SaaS vendor even support this? Every one is different. With Cloudstead, you manage users in one place, for all your apps. Your accounts will automatically have access to new apps that you install.
It's Expensive. Many of these services call themselves "Freemium," but really they are "Tease, then gouge”; you pass the skimpy free tier in a hurry, and then it gets really expensive. But by then, the hooks are in your company and the switching cost is high, so you're stuck overpaying. With Cloudstead, you pay one flat rate for the right size of your "cloudstead" for both computing power and storage, and then add as many accounts and apps as you like. Your Cloudstead will tell you when it's getting bogged down and it's time to upsize your Cloudstead.
Chaotic Data Management and Lack of Privacy. It’s nearly impossible to track data when it’s stored across a dozen different vendors. Worse, it’s difficult to know who has access to it. By keeping your data in your Cloudstead, you always know where it is, what is public, what is shared, and what is private.
Cloudstead’s integrated system solves all of these problems.
Q. How do you differ from services such as Xendo and Scoro?
A. Cloudstead is a much broader product than either Xendo or Scoro.
Xendo enables search across multiple third party services and websites. In contrast, Cloudstead not only provides the search, but actually provides the apps themselves AND Cloudstead powers system-wide search across all the Cloudstead applications. Xendo is essentially a feature that is provided within the much broader Cloudstead product.
Scoro provides a suite of applications. However, already, even at pre-launch, Cloudstead has many more applications than Scoro. More importantly, Cloudstead is NOT simply a suite of application, it’s an open source platform available for developer and anyone who wants to build for it. The platform is language-agnostic – enabling rapid integration of popular open-source applications. The Cloudstead build platform will be very appealing to independent cloud developers due to how easy it is to use. Because of this, we predict that in the not-too-distant future, we’ll be adding an application a day.
And even comparing "apples to apples" (noting that Cloudstead is much more than apples; it's more like the whole supermarket), Cloudstead has major advantages over Scoro, including, cost. Scoro starts at $11 per user per month. Cloudstead's much more sensible model is pay for usage –meaning the many SMBs with a lot of light users can save on operating costs.
Yet another major advantage of Cloudstead is privacy. Scoro houses users' data on servers that Scoro can access at will, Cloudstead provides a key to users that they own. Period
Q. I've read some about Cloudstead's pipeline. What are the benefits of signing up right now?
A. Get your company started Faster: Today, right out of the box, you can get a new company up and running faster than with Google Apps or any other cloud platform, public or private.
Launch now and within minutes you can start using your cloudstead with: email, calendar, file sharing, email list management, collaborative docs, blogging, online surveys, web analytics, project management, source control, issue tracking.
Stop Wasting Time: Most businesses struggle with managing dozens of Incompatible SaaS vendors. With Cloudstead, all of your accounts are in one place. Enjoy single-sign-on across all apps. Onboarding/offboarding is a cinch. And we don't lock you in, so you don't have to worry about possibly wanting to go somewhere else in the future.
Save Money: Cloudstead is a fully-integrated private cloud with a simple all-you-can-eat pricing model. (cost calculator screenshot or textual summary here)
Q. What is your initial target market?
A. Our first verticals are tech startups and software developers, because:
1) They are intensive users of SaaS;
2) They understand the advantages of a well-designed, integrated system, versus the problems inherent in a patchwork of SaaS vendors.
3) We understand their needs (source control, issue tracking, web conferencing, web analytics, etc). Our “Startup Bundle” app suite is designed exactly for them.
Q. Is there a channel strategy to get adoption? If so, who are your partners?
A. Yes. We are in talks with datacenters, co-working spaces, and other organizations that are keenly interested in white-labeling Cloudstead to offer to their customers. We are also talking with consultants ("freelance CTO's") who design and implement whole technology systems for their clients. Cloudstead is a perfect offering in this common scenario. Since Cloudstead is so easy to use and understand, it makes the consultants' jobs easier and their clients happier.
Q. How does your team divvy up responsibilities?
A. Brian and Jonathan head the technical work. Chip is a swiss army knife, primarily focused on product, customer support and marketing; he also does some tech work. Karen leads our outbound marketing and messaging. EJ handles all the business operations including legal/finance, and also has a strong hand in recruiting and fundraising.
Q. What are the use cases for Cloudstead?
A. Small-to-midsize company or tech startup is faced with three types of pain commonly associated use of multiple 3rd party cloud services.:
a) Lack of integration- multiple users or departments using on different platforms and services with varied security protocols, passwords, and storage. Information is not as secure, search is cumbersome and the "shadow IT" problem of individual users choosing whatever services they like is wasting time and creating stress for the real IT department and leadership. Cloudstead is a simple, private cloud solution for use by SMBs and startups that want and need their data and cloud software easily managed, searchable and secure.
b) Cost - lack of control over varied cloud SaaS pricing models that can spike after a certain user tier is exceeded. User-based pricing that doesn't account for light vs. heavy users and potential spikes in operating cost from 3rd party cloud vendors make for big headaches in budget. Shadow IT from non-integrated cloud services also creates budget mayhem. Cloudstead is and affordable private cloud solution for use by SMBs and startups that can save hundreds, even thousands of dollars in TOC compared to the current, multi-platofrm approach.
c User on- and off-boarding. Startups on a growth trajectory are adding new users across a panoply of cloud services. On-boarding them is time-consuming. Furthermore, control over security of data is a concdern when its spread among users on different platforms. SMBs with regular turnover have similar challenges and for both, off-boarding is an even bigger concern and time suck. Cloudstead is a simple and secure private cloud solution for use by SMBs and startups that safeguards control and access to data and makes on and off-boarding users simple and fast.
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We help passionate teams build great companies by investing seed-stage capital, time, experience and relationships. Building a valuable company is hard—we've done it—we can help you do it too. We love helping entrepreneurs reach their dreams.
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Canaan Partners invests in entrepreneurs and works alongside them to turn visionary ideas into valuable companies. Since 1987, the firm has catalyzed the growth of disruptive technology startups and healthcare companies revolutionizing the practice of medicine. With $3.4 billion under management and more than 95 acquisitions and 55 IPOs to date, Canaan has funded companies such as Acme Packet, Associated Content (acquired by Yahoo), CommerceOne, DoubleClick (acquired by Google), ID Analytics (acquired by LifeLock), Match.com (acquired by IAC), SandForce (acquired by LSI), SuccessFactors (acquired by SAP) and Virsto Software (acquired by VMware). Current technology investments include Blurb, Kabam, Lending Club, Performance Marketing Brands, SOASTA, Tremor Video and Zoosk in the U.S.; BharatMatrimony, Loylty Rewardz and UnitedLex in India; and PrimeSense and LiveU in Israel. Canaan maintains a presence in the global innovation hubs of Silicon Valley, New York City, India and Israel. For more information visit www.canaan.com orwww.facebook.com/canaanpartners. Follow us on Twitter @canaanpartners.
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Base Ventrues, founded by Erik Moore, is a seed-stage fund investing in technology companies. Current portfolio includes InDinero, Virool, Dekko, Tracks.by/Hipset, Priceonomics, MightyText, and others. Successful exits include Socialcam (acquired by Autodesk), and Appstores (acquired by InMobi).
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Invests in early-stage tech companies with incredible potential, managed by teams of energetic, trustworthy and capable leaders. Key focus areas include digital media, Internet commerce, mobile and healthcare IT. Javelin looks for advanced bleeding-edge innovations, where the addressable market size is substantial and strong competitive advantages exist. A typical investment is between $1 to $4 million, with reserves for follow-on investments. In addition, Javelin also considers smaller seed investments for unique companies just getting started. Located in downtown San Francisco, while invests throughout the world. Javelin is a very active investor with a long-term outlook and the objective of creating substantial value.
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Karlin Ventures is an early-stage venture capital fund based in Los Angeles. They are value-add partners helping entrepreneurs who take contrarian approaches to create impactful solutions to big, interesting problems. Karlin Ventures is an affiliate of Karlin Asset Management, a private investment firm managing over $1.4 billion of unleveraged equity capital.
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“Bowery Capital is an early-stage venture capital fund investing in business software. Bowery Capital is focused on helping its founders build the next generation of B2B market leaders.” And for a longer version: “Bowery Capital focuses exclusively on supporting startups that disrupt and upgrade legacy marketing and IT products and services across all organizations. As more and more internet natives drive purchasing decisions, Bowery Capital believes that roughly $357B will change hands over the next 10 years as old products are replaced with new. The firm believes that the key ingredient to early success is MRR and ARR growth, and as such provides various sales tools that portfolio companies can leverage to develop a strong early customer base. This combination of a focused thesis and value-added support are the cornerstones of Bowery Capital's investment approach.
Joined Vator onAdam has over twenty years of experience managing and building large scale technical organizations for both start-ups and major corporations. He is currently a partner at Bowery Capital.
Joined Vator onCEO and Founder of Cloudstead.io. Founded mobile-video pioneer Kiptronic, acquired by Limelight Networks in 2009. Jonathan is active in the startup community, speaking at industry events and advising new entrepreneurs.
Joined Vator onThe Product Manager at Hyperic, a start-up that was ultimately acquired with SpringSource by VMware in 2009. Currently, Co-Founder of Cloudstead.io. Chip has been in Product Management for SaaS products for almost 10 years.
Joined Vator onEJ Blumberg has spent his career earning outsized returns on capital. For example, his audited 5 year returns from options and equities trading exceeded 1,100%, with just 1 down quarter out of 20. Today, EJ is COO and Co-Founder of Cloudstead.
Joined Vator onMaha has been in the venture capital and technology industries for over 15 years. She currently sits on the boards for ClusterHQ, Cuyana, Kabam, Komprise, Koolbit, The RealReal, Twenty20 and UNIFi Software.
Joined Vator onData guy, trying to leave the world a slightly smarter place than I found it. Serial entrepreneur, founder of fabfind.com, acquired by TeamBuy in 2012. Currently cofounder of Cloudstead.io.