Portland-based Cloudability has raised $8.7 million from the Foundry Group in a Series A round for its service that tracks cloud costs and gives better visibility into spending for online services that often go unmonitored. Other participants in the round include 500 Startups, Trinity Ventures and Wieden + Kennedy, one of the world’s leading independent advertising agencies.
Cloudability offers a free service, pro accounts and an enterprise level program for managing multiple cloud accounts. It’s the enterprise grade service that is growing fastest. Cloud spending has spread across the business landscape. As it has spread, so too has it left corporate finance with little ability to monitor spending of the services. The lack of visibility comes as lines of business use their own budgets to expense services. They don’t have to wait for IT to give them permission. They just open an account and start charging away.
Cloudability provides an interface that lets the chief financial officer see all of the company’s cloud accounts (Iaas, Paas, SaaS) from the different parts of the organization. The accounts may be viewed individually or as a combined spend. Drill-down reports allow the CFO to analyze the costs by service, by account or by users. This gives a view into what’s costing the most.
Cloudability supports multiple cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), MailChimp and Salesforce.com. The company will use the investment for engineering talent, to expand to more cloud service providers and build in more features such as deeper analytics.
There’s a fine line to play for the CFO when looking at how to monitor cloud spending. The business groups have grown attached to this new generation of services. They are easy to use, lightweight and often provide a better way to do business. But there are nightmare stories about costs over runs. Developers, for instance, who forget about the run they did on AWS and then get a huge bill.
Cloudability notifies the customer about the status of its different accounts. It tells you if you are under budget, approaching spending limits or over spending on the account.
It’s an opt-in service. With the enterprise offering, invoices for expenses do not get paid until the user signs up for the Cloudabilty account.
This is yet another example of why IT needs to differentiate as service providers. In an interview, Cloudability Founder Mat Ellis said the days of command and control are fading for IT. We are at a point in time that compares to the early days of the industrial age. As companies grew at the turn of the 20th century, they needed their own power plants. Those corporate power plants were eventually outsourced to utility companies that specialized in providing different service packages. IT is going the same way. It is getting outsourced. IT needs to find their way to be leaders that provide services such as lists of preferred cloud service providers. They need to be the experts the business groups trust.
On a final note, Cloudability is one of the first great success stories from the Portland Incubator Experiment (PIE). It marks a new point, too, for Wieden + Kennedy, a first PIE supporter. Wieden + Kennedy has since attracted clients such as the Coca-Cola Company and Google as participants in the effort. PIE is located in the advertising agency’s headquarters in Portland’s Pearl District neighborhood.
Why? Wieden & Kennedy is a forward-looking agency that sees how the world is becoming a more dynamic place. To adapt, it engages with people at the forefront of technology, arts and commerce. That’s where PIE comes in to play and subsequently Weiden & Kennedy’s investment in Cloudability.