Gravitational, a graduate of the Y Combinator 2015 class set out solve a very difficult problem for companies — how to deliver software in the cloud and on-premises from a single code base.
Without a solution like the one from Gravitational, companies would have to maintain two sets of code, which is simply too costly for most companies to pull off. That meant these companies were sometimes leaving deals on the table from customers who wanted a delivery model they couldn’t offer.
This wasn’t the founders’ first go with Y Combinator, Ev Kontsevoy, Gravitational’s founder told TechCrunch. His first company, Mailgun was a member of the YC Winter 2011 class. It raised $1.2 million, before it was acquired by Rackspace in 2012.
It was through his experience working at Rackspace for several years after the acquisition that Kontsevoy began to see some difficult problems facing companies hosting SaaS programs in the cloud, which would eventually come together and lead him to launch Gravitational.
First of all, customers of SaaS companies liked the simplicity of the delivery model, which didn’t require as much IT overhead to manage, but at the same time, some still needed control over their data. That control issue was exacerbated by companies who were required by law (or preferred to) store their data outside of the United States.
As all of this was happening, Kontsevoy also couldn’t help but notice the growing power of Amazon Web Services in the cloud market. He could see it was scaring some on-prem software vendors who wondered how they could compete directly with the public cloud juggernaut.
At the same time Kontsevoy began observing these trends, some key enabling technologies were becoming popular including Docker and Google Kubernetes.
As all of this came together, Kontsevoy left Rackspace and formed Gravitational. He created a solution that enabled companies to deploy their software any way they liked without maintaining two code bases by building a solution using Docker and Kubernetes as the underlying technologies. Gravitational provides a way to manage the code base from a single management console and deliver it in multiple ways without dramatically increasing costs or development efforts.
He obviously understands the advantages of participating in Y Combinator having launched and sold one successful company after being a part of it, but he says this time around he could see how the incubator had evolved since he last participated in 2011.
For starters, the sheer size of the network had grown enormously since 2011 and now included many more enterprise companies. This was in stark contrast to his earlier experience when many of the companies had focused on consumers and it wasn’t as easy for an enterprise company to get help.
“By 2015, there were a lot of successful alumni who had built successful [enterprise] companies and could help you with their experience and connections,” he said.
The company has some funding and some early Beta customers, although he didn’t want to reveal numbers at this point. He says by the end of the year he hopes to have a dozen enterprise customers, who have increased their sales through using his company’s software.
At the end of the day, Gravitational hopes to help software companies make more money by letting them sell in whichever way makes most sense to their customers — on premises or in the cloud.