Rescale, a company that has developed a Platform as a Service for high-end computer simulations, announced a $6.4 million investment from some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley investing circles.
Among the people backing Rescale are Sam Altman, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Paul Graham, Ron Conway, Chris Dixon, Peter Thiel and many others.
What type of company warrants this kind of attention?
Rescale works with industries like aerospace, automotive and life sciences and offers the ability to generate high-end computer simulations in the cloud. You could think of Rescale as Amazon Web Services for super computing. Unlike AWS, however, which provides commodity compute resources in the cloud, Rescale comes into play most often for much more intensive requirements that require specialized resources a company like AWS probably doesn’t offer, Rescale CEO Joris Poort explained.
Instead of buying its own hardware, Rescale works with various infrastructure resellers to offer customers a range of computing resources. It also supports over 120 different simulation software packages, giving its customers access to just about any program they would need for any particular job.
Rescale then puts together various hardware and software configurations that would make sense to the folks who would need access to such services, whether aerospace engineers designing a more perfect rocket or electric car designers looking for the optimal battery placement.
In order to maintain some semblance of control over user access to these resources, which as you can imagine could get expensive in a hurry if left unchecked, Rescale offers an administrative console to provide administrators back-end control over costs. IT can assign budgets and resource limits to individuals or groups to keep costs in line.
The company gives its customers access to a virtually limitless set of resources in the cloud, only restricted by budget, of course and takes care of the complex configurations. This is in contrast to on-premises solutions at this level, which could come from high-end manufacturers like Cray, IBM or HP; start at $500,000 and go up from there and require a team of people to tune and maintain.
Companies constrained by costs, usually buy a limited number of these machines, and this can result in usage bottlenecks, forcing engineers to wait in virtual queues for access to resources to run their simulations. The obvious answer to this problem would be buying more hardware, but getting additional budget for these pricey items is not always practical.
Rescale becomes an attractive option in this context because as with any cloud resource, you can buy as much (or as little) as you need, Poort explained.
Poort and his fellow founders know from whence they speak, having worked at optimizing simulation hardware and software when they worked for Boeing. They saw first hand just how difficult and expensive it could be trying to hack together an on-premises solution, and that’s how the idea for Rescale was born.
The company has been around for four years, releasing its first product a couple of years ago. Its primary competition remain the on-premises solutions. Today it has 15 employees and over 100 paying customers, 40 percent of which are in aerospace.