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OrionVM secures funding from entrepreneur duo

Wednesday, 16 November 2011 | By Michelle Hammond
Cloud computing start-up OrionVM has secured funding from serial entrepreneur Stephen Baxter and computing pioneer Gordon Bell, understood to be less than $1 million.

 

OrionVM was founded in early 2010 by university students Sheng Yeo, Joseph Glanville and Alex Sharp, who created an infrastructure-as-a-service platform from scratch in 15 months.

 

The Sydney-based start-up launched its platform in April this year. Clients include Wikia.com, Quotify.com.au, Getflight.com.au and DesignCrowd.

 

CloudDC has been benchmarked against the leading cloud platforms worldwide, and was independently verified as having the world’s fastest network-backed storage performance.

 

The company has secured funding from Australian entrepreneur Stephen Baxter – co-founder of PIPE Networks, which sold for $370 million – and American tech veteran Gordon Bell.

 

Bell earned the title of “father of the minicomputer” after building PDP and VAX computers whilst working at Digital Equipment Corp in the United States.

 

OrionVM won’t disclose the value of the investments, although reports suggest it was under $1 million.

 

According to Yeo, the two investors haven’t taken a very large equity position in the company, the majority of which remains shared among its founders.

 

Seo says he is “proud and honoured” to have industry leaders like Bell and Baxter show faith in his company.

 

“The biggest gain is not just money but the vast breadth of knowledge and experience Bell and Baxter bring to the company in establishing this next generation of computing,” he says.

 

According to Seo, the funds will “allow OrionVM to double staff, triple CloudDC customer usage and explore an international presence while still delivering [a] great product and service”.

 

Bell told iTnews he invested in OrionVM for its technology, people and potential in the market.

 

“I like these guys and what they’ve accomplished. I think they are on the right track for building scalable systems,” he said.

 

“You have to like the team and what they’re doing but, as important, their technology resonates with things I think are important.”

 

Bell said he has assessed the company’s metrics to validate their speed claims, and he approved of their decision to avoid using standard off-the-shelf technology when building the platform.

 

From a market perspective, Bell said OrionVM’s technology “fits with my belief in the cloud as the next generation of computing”.

 

“Frankly, I didn’t see it move as fast as I think it can move here in Australia, partly because people are concerned with where their data resides,” he said.

 

Bell says while he has tried to convince the company to focus on the Australian market rather than pursue opportunities in Silicon Valley, the founders are insistent on exploring this option.

 

He has therefore lined them up to speak with some of his peers, and will attempt to encourage associates in the local sector to trial the service.

 

“All it takes for some of these start-ups is to find a few customers that have a huge demand,” Bell said.

 

“They have done a remarkable job with just the three of them and a network of freelancers… The tricky thing for them is whether they continue to evolve their technology so it remains robust and fast.”