Wall Street Journal / Venture Capital Dispatch | November 20, 2013

Apprenda Raises $16M for Cloud Application Development

November 20, 2013

By Deborah Gage

Apprenda Inc. raised $16 million–doubling its total funding–for a software platform that makes it easier for large companies to develop and deploy cloud applications.

The Series C round was led by Safeguard Scientifics and includes current investors Ignition Partners and New Enterprise Associates . Valuation is not disclosed because it’s not clear yet whether Apprenda will go public or get acquired, according to co-founder and Chief Executive Sinclair Schuller.

He said Apprenda is in a transition from “a product company focused exclusively on R&D to a company that’s taking its early success with customers to a bigger, broader market. If we succeed, we’ll own the space,” Mr. Schuller said.

A former software developer for Morgan Stanley , Mr. Schuller said he started Apprenda out of frustration with the amount of time it would take to develop and deploy applications at the large investment bank.

Applications would take three to four months to develop because they were increasingly sophisticated and complex. Then it could take another three months to get them up and running because of the complexity of Morgan Stanley ‘s IT infrastructure, with database, networking and server teams, among others, all having to get involved.

Apprenda , which started in 2007, built what amounts to an operating system for a data center, pooling IT resources into a single environment–a private cloud–that would let developers get apps up and running in 90 seconds instead of 90 days.

Apps also became faster to develop because they didn’t have to integrate with so many pieces of the enterprise– Apprenda ‘s cloud took care of that problem for them. Also, Mr. Schuller said, older apps that weren’t originally cloud apps could be more easily updated to run on the cloud.

Apprenda went after and won some very large customers, including J.P. Morgan Chase & Co ., which is running more than 3,000 applications on the startup’s platform.

Mr. Schuller believes that having customers of this size gives Apprenda an advantage over some of its big Silicon Valley rivals–which include Red Hat Inc . and Pivotal Software Inc., the new spinoff of EMC Corp  and VMware Inc .–because Apprenda was designed from the start to work on the IT stack that big customers actually use.

This stack includes Windows, Linux and Java, which come from technology vendors that compete. In the rapidly changing world of cloud application development, which is also called platform as a service, “we’re the Switzerland of platform technology,” he said.

Now for the first time in Apprenda ‘s short life, its new money will be used primarily for sales and marketing rather than research and development, Mr. Schuller said.

As part of the new funding, Safeguard Scientifics Managing Director of Technology Philip D. Moyer joins Apprenda ‘s board.