Network World | July 21, 2015

Apprenda picks up $24 million to fuel private PaaS

hybrid cloud

A $24 million funding round for the PaaS vendor proves two things. Docker hasn’t removed the value of PaaS, and private cloud really is a thing… 

They’re different because they have a very enterprise focus. Back in the day when all the big cloud platforms were so scornful of private infrastructure, Apprenda was busy selling real-world enterprises its platform for use on their on-premises infrastructure. And when PaaS vendors were busy supporting every language and framework conceivable, Apprenda was initially solely focused on .NET. While they have broadened a little to Java over the past few years, they’re still very focused on traditional enterprise development languages rather than being all-in with the cool kids of Ruby on Rails and other, newer, languages.

And this high-brow focus seems to have paid off for the company. Apprenda has long talked of the enterprise pedigree of its customer base – companies like JPMorgan Chase, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen. Apprenda points out that these sorts of companies don’t waste their timing diving into what’s cool, rather using rock-solid platforms to help them innovate their application portfolios.

The Apprenda story is one which investors seem to be warming to. The company is today announcing the closing of a $24 million funding round led by Safeguard Scientifics, with participation from New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Ignition Partners. In Apprenda’s view, the investment is an indication that success comes from delivering technology solutions in sympathy with organizations’ existing asset base. As Apprenda puts it, “no enterprise should be forced to get rid of existing investments and apps to adopt a next-generation platform.”

This is a point that Apprenda execs are keen to ram home. “We believe PaaS is only doable one way—the customer’s way,” said Sinclair Schuller, CEO and co-founder of Apprenda. “This means our technology had to be built to support everything upstream and downstream from our platform in a highly compatible way. And because of this, our vision of helping enterprises convert their data centers into cloud platforms supercharged for developer productivity has become a reality.”

The interesting thing here is to look at this funding within the context of the rise and rise of Docker. Many suggest that Docker, the initiative that has re-ignited the Linux containerization space, reduces the need or utility of PaaS. If that is the case, no one has told Apprenda’s customers, who, while likely looking at the applicability of Docker to their situations, also want a more traditional PaaS product for their production applications as well.

With the addition of this round, Apprenda’s total financing to date to rises to $56 million. While funding alone does not indicate success, the fact that these top-shelf enterprises are prepared to go on-record as Apprenda customers tells a significant story.