Zynstra Raises Another $8.4M In Funding To Bring Hybrid Cloud To SMEs

Zynstra, which offers ‘hybrid cloud’ solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises, has raised a further $8.4 million of funding in a Series B round. This brings the total amount raised to just over $14.4 million.

The U.K. startup plans to use the additional capital to further develop its range of “hybrid cloud” products, which are designed for SMEs as opposed to much larger enterprises, and expand its channel reach in the U.K., and then launch in the U.S. towards the end of this year.

Zynstra is also positioning itself, rather shrewdly, to benefit from Microsoft ending support for Windows Server 2003 next July. “This affects a lot of businesses,” Nick East, CEO of Zynstra, tells TechCrunch. “We are seeing an increasing pull from the market for our solution as a natural choice for infrastructure refresh. This is one of the reasons we are expanding.”

The company operates in the “hybrid IT” space, whereby East says companies use a mixture of on-site IT services -– usually a ‘private cloud’ — integrated with one or more remote cloud services. However, this hybrid approach, while increasingly favoured by most large enterprises, usually requires significant “up front capital investment in hardware and software, and IT integration skills,” putting it out of reach for smaller enterprises. Zynstra wants to change that.

“We have customers that use our smallest on-premise appliance; you could think of it as a ‘cloud gateway’ device. It runs local IT services like networking and user administration, printing and backup, but also integrates the office simply and securely with remote cloud services like Office 365, cloud backup and disaster recovery,” explains East.

“For larger IT needs, our product runs a resilient private cloud, with a series of applications or workloads that must run locally –- usually for reasons of network performance, security or control required by the customer.”

As an example of the latter, he cites customers who run collaboration apps on Zynstra’s appliances so that sensitive business data stays behind their firewall. These are then integrated with public cloud collaboration tools to share less sensitive information with customers and partners. Hence the “hybrid” termonology.

Zynstra’s new funding round was led by previous backers Octopus Investments, with participation from other previous investors, including Richard Brennan, former EVP Global Marketing at Orange Group; Tom Vari, former CIO of Cable at Rogers Communications Inc.; and Jon Craton, Zynstra’s Chairman and former founder and CEO of Cramer.