Aneelism | December 8, 2013

Fantasy VC – Apprenda

Considering the press and recent funding round for my friends at Apprenda, it seems a bit disingenuous to fantasy vc them. But no matter.

I’ve been convinced of their success since the first explanation of the product and target. There were plenty of PaaSes at the time, but they were mostly targeted at developers and mostly public. Press releases from analysts firms like this notwithstanding, the market wasn’t taking off and didn’t look like it was going to take off any time soon.

Put these things together:

  • There is a lot of in house development in the enterprise—though no one knows how much exactly, it’s at least enough to support a couple of private PaaS players
  • That development is mostly Java or .NET on Linux or Windows
  • And it runs on fleets of servers, storage, networking, and data centers that are not at end of life
  • What’s developed is custom apps for core business/ops, paperwork apps, extensions to COTS with SDKs, glue to connect together these things and/or legacy apps and/or cloud apps and/or cloud services and/or…
  • There was and is very little “private” PaaS competition
  • There was no private PaaS for .NET applications at the time that I knew of and there are only a few today
  • There was little that provided the experience of a distributed runtime on prem out of the box
  • Virtualization is not required
  • Apprenda was (and is still the only?) private PaaS supporting .NET that doesn’t predicate itself on some hypervisor

You offer a runtime, so you may or may not have VMs–but who cares since what you need to expose is the runtime, a management console for that runtime, and (hopefully) APIs to connect to and operate it

– me, provided vs exposed

To me, that last point was the killer. Before the renewed popularity in [the old technology of] containers, Apprenda leveraged Linux container tech and figured out how to get a workalike on Windows to underpin their PaaS. Thus totally foregoing the overhead of hypervisors and the overhead of VMware’s margin.

That’s not to say that they’re guaranteed success. Or won’t get crushed by an incumbent or other party. Or even scooped up before they become too successful. Just that I would’ve placed that bet.