Cloud Computing

BitCalm – Hosted DevOps Backup & Configuration Management for Cloud Services

Ed: Backing up servers is and always has been a pain in the ass, so this team has found a real problem with a seemingly simple solution.

Although cloud storage systems are usually redundant with multiple copies of data, this will only protect you from outright failure of a VM or instance.

It won’t save you from yourself and the many screw-ups that can happen running infrastructure.

Full or partial data corruption can happen for a variety of reasons not just hardware.

You could accidentally delete an instance  yourself, or a malicious or incompetent team member could delete or corrupt data or an instance, you could have a problem with your newly deployed code, virus or hacker either accidentally or intentionally deleting or corrupting your data.

As a guy who in another life spent 24 hrs in a noisy ice cold data centre trying to recover a crashed server I can tell you this happens everyday and yet none of the cloud service providers provide a good solution for this.

Most cloud services don’t automatically provide a proper versioning backup method for each instance, in fact quite the opposite, the Cloud is still a bit of a DYI self service when it comes to backups.

I would go so far to say that backup is considered optional and the existing solutions seem to do a pretty poor job of syncing cloud backups away from the server.

DevOps tools are the latest hot sector, managing remote cloud resources is a real pain, looks like these guys might be onto a good point solution for a market that is willing to pay.

 

Startup NameBitCalm
What problem are you solving?Backup configuration and management for multiple Linux servers is complex and takes a lot of developers’ time.
What is your solution?Bitcalm – SaaS for the super simple server files and DBs backup configuration and management.
Target MarketWeb-developers
How will you make money?Subscription
Tell us about the market & founders, why is this a great opportunity?We target web-developers as our target market. Currently they have 3 opportunities to solve this problem:
1. Use backup solution, which is provided by hosting
pro: built-in solution, easy to use
con: can’t manage backups for multiple servers, hosted on multiple providers, can’t migrate, keeping backups, just snapshots
2. Find or self-code scripts.
pro: seems like a cheap solution
con: need specific skills, time to set up, time to validate, time to manage, time to support and results in non-convenient and not reliable results.
3. Use enterprise solutions.
pro: –
con: expensive, solves other problems (for big companies)Comparing to these three ways, BitCalm is really life-saving service.
Eugene (CEO) faced this problem himself when he was running his own web agency; at the end of each project Eugene and his team faced the same pain in the ass – backup configuration and its maintenance.As a result he decided to build saas solution to solve his own problem and the same time, solve the problem for millions of indie developers, freelancers and small and medium-sized web-development companies.
Founders NamesEugene Morozov (CEO), Boris Dus (Business developer), Yury Andreykovich (CPO)
What type of funding has the company received?Angel
Websitehttps://bitcalm.com
Twitter Handle@bitcalm
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Upsafe – Google Apps Backup and Data Security Service

Ed: This is actually a pretty good idea. Most of the world is just terrible at backup. Phones, Notebooks, Small Business Servers. Corporates have laptops running around that are never on the network at backup time, the IT Admins response is everything should be stored on the server and it will be backed up, but thats not how people work, they like their documents local. I ran a business for 8 years where one of our key and constant issues was ensuring customers had functioning backups.

But not many people talk about backup in the day of Cloud Computing, its almost forgotten and while you are far less likely to lose data in Googles multi server cloud farm with redundant copies of your data and documents everywhere there still is the possibility it could happen.

Likewise you might not lose it to software or hardware failure but it is possible that a malicious staff member could delete or corrupt your docs/data and without a long term archive strategy you will never get it back.

So Upsafe is a good idea, the question is whether businesses who use Google Apps will see the value and take it up, would have thought there are compliance requirements which would see this used as well.

 

Startup NameUpsafe
What problem are you solving?Google Apps data backup and security
What is your solution?Back up your data with our app and never lose a bit of information again.
Target MarketGoogle apps’ users
How will you make money?Charge for licences
Founders NamesDenis
What type of funding has the company received?Self Funded
Websitehttp://www.upsafe.com/google-apps-backup/
Twitter Handle@upsafebackup
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The STACK Box – A Smart Home Controller

You can pitch your Startup, App or Hardware here

The Pitch

Startup Name *The STACK Box
What problem are you solving?Let’s Talk AboutTechnologyToday user experience is painful because technology makes things complex. The truth is that all our devices speak in different languages.This confusion leads to arguments and dissatisfaction adding unnecessary stress. We created the STACK Box so your technology is easy to use and your devices work together, and work with existing internet services or the cloud.
What is your solution?Our STACK Box connects all your smart devices that control your homes lighting, energy, audio, video, security, healthcare and wearable’s. Unlike any other product in the market, you can now navigate locally and remotely with your smartphone and, or tablet.What Makes Us Different:
Weget lot ofquestionsas to what sets us apart from the rest of the market. Our strength is “Openness”, unlike the competition our hardware is expandable. Ourmainobjective is to support all devices in the market, with the aim to have the best user interface on the Planet.The STACK is the only smart home controller that supports the Apps Store concept and allows 3rd-party Developers toimplement their own applications Consumers now have unlimited choice of Apps and can store their Apps in one place.We also empower small device makers to get their products to work with others and connect to internet, giving more choices to consumers.
Why is this a great opportunity?Who Is The STACK Box For?Due to the vast amount of devicesthatemploy remote controls and programming them, universal remote controls that manage multiple devices are becoming increasingly popular, but none of them really do the job well andlackthe interaction with online internet services.As Intel, Qualcomm, Samsung, Google and many others technology companies and gadgets makers are competing to define the standards. We aim to fill the gap by providing an open platform that allow both device makers and users more freedom of choice without investing huge resources nor time.We created the STACK Box so your technology is easy to use and your devices work together, and work with existing internet services or the cloud.
Target MarketHome Automation
How will you make money?Selling Our Hub
Founders NamesTL Lim
Websitehttps://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1561203377/the-stack-box-a-smart-home-controller
What type of funding has the company receivedBootstrapped/self funded

Startup88 Verdict

This device solves a problem we have known about for a long time. Everyone talks about Internet of Things devices and how they will connect everything in your house to the internet, measuring and controlling, reporting.

Stack Box is running a Kickstarter campaign, they have managed to get 500 backers, $50,000 of a $65,000 goal with 10 days to go, so it looks like they will be successful.

 

What not many journalists understand is that most of them use Bluetooth or Zigby or similar low power comms chips.

The problem in this situation is that these are all tied to someones mobile phone, as almost no routers shipping today support connecting these devices via bluetooth, there is no glue to stick all these devices together.

Add to this the complexity of trying to make TVs, Wireless Speakers and other home devices work together, normally its a big mess with multiple remote controls and no way to make this all work together.

Stack Box appears to be a good solution to this problem, I am a fan of the concept and for a kickstarter project it appears to have a very good chance of success.

  • They appear to have built numerous prototypes and can demonstrate this
  • They are using components which are commonly available (in their own boards) but they dont appear to have to manufacture any particular component types, just build the PCB with known components), this greatly reduces risk
  • It is probably more a software execution issue rather than a hardware execution, it appears they have hardware under control
  • The team has a successful hardware business with the Popcorn media players Cloudmedia already shipping and appears to understand the manufacturing process far better than most kickstarter projects

I think on its own this is a useful product and over time this capability will be critical in the market.

It is however very early, not many people have got automated devices and IoT components in their homes, its coming but its not mainstream yet but at least this gets a functioning product into the market that can support this.

If I had a wishlist I would like to see the Stack functionality integrated with some of the other devices I need in the home.

I believe the killer product would be Stack Box + DSL Router with WIFI + a 2Tb cloud synced Hard Drive for playing/sharing movies/photos/backup like a Apple Time Capsule but one that lets you use it like a harddrive and a media player. This would solve most of the problems I have at the moment with media while getting me ready to use the Smart Home features.

Stack-Hardware-Explode Stack-feature-protocol Stack-Apps

 

Grovestreams IoT platform

Interesting new startups is a regular feature, if you want your startup featured next week List your startup here. 

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Startup Name *GroveStreams
What problem are you solving?Providing actionable intelligence in the cloud for the Internet of Things as massive amounts of data arrives.
What is your solution?Our solution is to apply today’s business intelligence capabilities to the internet of things along with the following capabilities:
– Device and stream modeling
– Device data logging
– Data Visualizations
– Complex expression based stream analytics
– Event detection with Notifications
– Geo tracking
– Public API that exposes almost everything
– Big Data (we can manage millions to billions of streams)
– SaaSGroveStreams is more than an application. It is a cloud platform that many applications can be built on top of.Many vertical IoT applications will be built in the coming years. We want GroveStreams to be the platform of choice for these new applications. Customers can use us as is or build their own unique solution on top of us. Think of us as the Oracle of the Internet of Things.
Why is this a great opportunity?McKinsey Global Institute: “We estimate the potential economic impact of the Internet of Things to be $2.7 trillion to $6.2 trillion per year by 2025…”Several IoT cloud platforms have entered the market in the last few years, but none provide the capabilities and the reliability that GroveStreams provides at the low fees we charge. Most of our customers come from these existing platforms.The market is hungry for a low cost IoT solution that scales – one that can answer the tough questions as data arrives from all of their data sources, including devices.
Target MarketOur primary target market is solution providers. These are consulting companies that already have a large client base but need the tools to build their next generation solution.Other Markets:
– Utilities
– Governments
– Health Monitoring Companies
– Environmental Companies
– Hardware Hobbyists (or future entrepreneurs)
How will you make money?– Small users (and test-drivers) are free
– SaaS fees. We charge $0.05/month per data stream and $0.05/month per 10,000 cloud http transactions.
– Private cluster leasing and maintenance fees
– Consulting fees
Founders NamesMike Mills
Websitehttps://www.grovestreams.com
What type of funding has the company receivedBootstrapped/self funded

 

 

Our opinion: Fast growing space, no clear winners, good they have traction and customers already

 

 

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The next big wave of internet investment – Bill Tai @kitevc presentation @Fishburners

Bill Tai - Credit http://about.me

Bill Tai – Credit http://about.me

I attended a presentation by Venture Capitalist Bill Tai of Charles River Ventures last week, (apparently the largest Sydney Tech Meetup ever) at @Fishburners.  Bill is a mad keen kiteboarder who teamed up with Susi Mai to create Mai Tai Global a group of exclusive events where Venture Capitalist, Industry and Entrepreneurs get together to talk business and kite surf at fantastic locations around the world (Bill seems to love his work).

He made the observation that successful internet companies achieved explosive growth when they removed friction from existing real world processes.

Google = Accessing Information

Amazon = Commerce

Facebook = Keeping in contact with Friends

Twitter = Broadcast

Uber = Getting a good Cab/Town Car fast

Internet Waves of Growth and Investment

Bill outlined the early waves of internet investment and growth

  • Wave 1  Raw physics silicon chips etc Intel, nVidia and TI
  • Wave 2 Cisco, Dell, Juniper, 3com, Bay Networks, Sun –  Switches, Routers and Server hardware providing connectivity
  • Wave 3  Connected boxes Cloud services, Amazon EC2,  Rackspace

The first 3 waves were very capital-intensive, with companies raising $100s of millions,  10 years ago even for a small play startup you had to raise millions of dollars to buy servers, fit out a data centre put everyone in groovy offices and run a huge launch party to get the buzz going.

The 4th wave is far more capital efficient, they work from home, use Open Source software, use Cloud Computing and pay by the hour and most of their tools or free or almost free. As a result startups are launching successfully on $20-100k and getting enough traction to either get to cashflow or at least to a series A round.

  • Wave 4 Is essentially about User Interface’s pulling data from cloud via APIs or big databases

As an example one of Bill’s investment’s Tweetdeck was written by unemployed IT contractor who liked Twitter but didn’t like the user interface and decided to build something better, he started with $300k angel round, $1m Series A and then $3m Series B and then sold for a rumoured $40-50 million to Twitter a few years later.

What’s next

Wave 5 will be about Big data, collecting and storing data being created by our mobile devices and the estimated 50 billion smart devices which have some sensor and computing capability but are not traditional computing devices, collectively grouped as the Internet of Things.

  • Personalised Health Data
  • Internet of Things
  • Personal Genomics
  • Unstructured data is everywhere, he gave the example of a Map being full of data, but most of it is not sitting in tables on a database.When you add Structured Data + unstructured data = info
  • Traditional Analytics + big data = provides rapid insights with immense value

One of Bill’s investee companies Treasuredata has a dream team of entrepreneurs and investors including Bill,  Jerry Yang and James Lindenbaum from Heroku. The data platform has just passed the milestone of 1 trillion records uploaded and on the current run rate expect to hit 2 trillion records next quarter.

He made the comment that “Old world winners” such as Walmart really understood their data well.

New world winners are virtualising physical assets and turning them into Virtual Assets. Examples were Uber, AirBnB, VMware and Dropbox generating huge databases with tags and meta data about physical assets.and unlocking huge value in the process. 

Australia

Bill seems to spend a lot of time out here (for a US based VC) and has made a quite a few investments including the recent $3m round in Canva after founder Melanie Perkins spent 3 years pitching him.

CanvaFounders

Canva Founders

One of the things he finds attractive is some of the grant programs such as Commercialisation Australia’s Early Stage Commercialisation grants which offer matching funds which basically double the VCs investment.

We were starting to see big global tech companies formed and emerging from Australia such as Atlassian, Freelancer and others, where the businesses were becoming significant on the world stage or leaders in their space.

Increasingly investors were putting funds directly into Australian Pty Ltd companies rather than forcing them to move to the US and form a Delaware company.

Other companies Bill mentioned included

  • Tableau a big data analytics platform that allows users to upload data and use their slick front end to analyse data in real time without using any database or excel queries 
  • Scribd new deal monthly subscriber deal where you can read unlimited books for a flat monthly fee, they are trying to become the Netflix for books
  • Glyde a used goods site which allows users to buy and sell used Smart Phones and Tablets but will expand to other used goods as the market depth of each category hits critical mass.

 

 

 

 

 

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