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Cloud Sherpas bags $40m for cloud consulting expansion

Gearing up for high-altitude money-making

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The opportunity represented by cloud computing is not just in infrastructure hardware and virtualization, orchestration, and other kinds of software. There is also a services angle, and companies far and wide are scrambling to get in on the action so that the big IT suppliers and consultancies don't get to the top of the mountain first.

One such company is Cloud Sherpas, which is carving out a niche helping companies move from internal legacy systems to cloud-based ones such as those from Google and Salesforce.com. The company, established in 2007, has just bagged $40m in its second round of venture funding, and has used some of that cash for an acquisition, just as it did with some of the funds in its prior rounds.

Cloud Sherpas is based in Atlanta, Georgia and has over 3,000 customers today. The company says that it has more than doubled revenues every year since it was founded. Some of that was through acquisitions, but a lot of it was through organic growth. Cloud Sherpas is projecting that its revenues in 2013 will exceed $100m, and that will be driven in part by its acquisitions.

The company started out as a consultancy helping customers move from Windows-based Office and the OpenOffice alternatives to Google Apps, the cloud-based desktop-apps-as-a-service that includes email, chat, word processing, spreadsheet, and other applications that office workers commonly need.

Cloud Sherpas will even help you adopt Chromebooks if you want to go that way (as Google certainly does), and has expanded out from this original apps implementation business to also act as a broker for Google's Compute Engine raw Linux instances, Cloud Storage object storage, and BigQuery big-data munching services.

Cloud Sherpas brought in $1m in its venture round of funding from Hallett Capital back in the summer of 2010, and followed that up with a $1.6m Series A round with Columbia Capital and Delta-V Capital kicking in some of the dough. In March of this year, Columbia Capital kicked in the first half of the Series B round, and Cloud Sherpas ate another company called GlobalOne, which had already received a $15m infusion of its own from Columbia Capital and which had built up a similar consulting practice around Salesforce.com implementation.

The merged company kept the Cloud Sherpas name, and tapped David Northington, formerly COO at CapGemini's application services group in North America and at the time CEO of GlobalOne, to be CEO. The vision behind the company is to be what it calls a cloud services brokerage, much like service providers in compute and telecom buy raw capacity and resell it with their own services atop of that raw capacity.

With the second half of the Series B funding coming in recently from Columbia Capital, Delta-V Capital, Greenspring Associates, and Queensland Investment Corp, Cloud Sherpas was flush with another $20m. It then snapped up another consultancy called CloudTrigger, which has expertise with the Salesforce Service Cloud applications and has created its own geographic mapping analytics and visualization application called G2Maps for the Salesforce AppExchange. The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. This is the eighth acquisition for Cloud Sherpas since it was founded.

If you have a consultancy that specializes in Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure, and you are looking to cash in, Cloud Sherpas is probably a good place to start peddling. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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