Cloud Sherpas has raised $40 million and made its eighth acquisition to expand its cloud brokerage service.
The funding, lead by Greenspring Associates, brings Cloud Sherpas’ total to $62.6 million. Existing investors Columbia Capital and Delta-V Capital joined in the new round. Australia-based Queensland Investment Corporation, an institutional investment manager, also participated.
Atlanta-based Cloud Sherpas used the funding news to announce the acquisition of Cloudtrigger, a consulting group that specializes in serving Salesforce.com Service Cloud customers.
Cloud Sherpas is itself the product of a merger. In March of this year, the company merged with New York based GlobalOne, also a cloud services company. At the time of the merger, Cloud Sherpas received a $20 million investment from Columbia Capital, which last year had also invested $15 million in Global One.
That’s a lot of money floating around for what essentially amounts to a group holding of service providers that serve as resellers and integrators for Google Apps and Salesforce.com.
But there’s a reason for that. If for some bizarre reason you’ve been locked in a mainframe and haven’t noticed, the cloud has become blindingly hypnotic, lulling businesses by the butt load into moving off their old-school Microsoft Office suites and server sprawling CRM installs. Google Apps and Salesforce.com have emerged as two of the happy benefactors. But like life itself, there is no way to escape the enterprise past. Company IT managers spend months cramped in meeting rooms trying to figure out how the hell to keep the masses happy with shiny new apps while at the same time plugging the data center dyke so the email flows and the sales wheels turn.
That’s where companies like Cloud Sherpas come into play. Cloud Sherpas is not the consulting company of the past that wold charge oodles of cash to bolt that Oracle megadeath database with the IBM big box that took dozens of consultants just to unwrap the goddamn thing.
Nor is it Microsoft’s world as much any more. Their desktop empire resembles the great holdings of an aging monarchy. They still have tons of gold but the modern world has passed it by. The only solution is to start anew. Thank goodness for Windows Azure, it;s brightest hope to continue its long reign of power.
Cloud Sherpas says it is more than a consulting operation. Its intellectual property stems from the extensions it offers and the business processes it has developed. CloudTrigger, based out of San Diego, has developed an extension that provides geospatial capabilities on top of Salesforce.com Service Cloud. That is the type of IP Cloud Sherpa will continue to develop and acquire going forward.
Cloud Sherpa sits in that giant middle space between the enterprise and the cloud. That’s a different place than where the traditional consulting shops sit as they continue to sell software to the IT stalwarts thinking how they are going to get the most of their existing installations. The traditional solutions providers like Deloitte are not getting prime rib deals any more. The IT manager wants that software for cheap. All they have to do is point to what they can get in the cloud.
Cloud Sherpa and other cloud services companies like Appirio are finding themselves in a good space. From this point they can start looking at other markets such as the booming human workforce management companies like Workday that need a new kind of channel partner.
Still, Cloud Sherpas has a lot of employees, reflecting its consulting heritage. The count now stands at 350 and executives say they should push north of 500 in the next year.
That’s a lot of people and perhaps why the investors are not the typical ones we see investing in companies in the Silicon Valley and San Francisco. Cloud Sherpas is a people intensive company and less so one that sells software or services and zero or almost next to zero in consulting.
Still, the cloud brokerage business is probably the closest we are seeing to a cloud cash cow with an almost endless supply of customers that will sure to keep coming for many years to come.