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Nikkei Business Daily July 13, 2018

Cloud Computing Pioneers

Joanna Drake
General Partner, Core Ventures Group

After over a decade of limited migrations to the cloud, major bricks and mortar as well as technology companies are now making a fundamental migration to public clouds like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Microsoft Azure.

The migration to cloud is not simply a change of location of servers, storage and software. Similar to other major technology migrations like mainframe computers to servers, the migration of corporate applications to the cloud is having profound implications for how enterprise applications are architected, deployed, managed and optimized.
As with previous technology migrations, there is a group of technologists who are “cloud natives” and are leading the way for the entire industry. Matt Stump, the co-founder and CEO of Vorstella, a Core Ventures Group portfolio company, is a good example of one of these cloud native experts.

Q: Matt, before starting Vorstella with co-founder, Avinash Mandava, you both worked for Datastax, one of the most successful startups in Silicon Valley. What inspired you to start Vorstella?

A: We had a great experience in our years at Datastax and we were very fortunate to work on cloud deployments for leading companies like Intuit, Netflix and Sony. We learned that large companies are making the migration to the cloud and experiencing similar problems, primarily the inability to recruit people with required cloud expertise. The IT landscape is fragmenting and moving at an ever-increasing pace. It takes years to gain expertise in any one technology, and as a result there will never be enough experts to satisfy demand. We think Vorstella’s technology will address these challenges for customers.

Q: What does Vorstella do for customers?

A: Vorstella offers a machine learning (ML) based “Cloud Hero in a box.” Our technology simplifies the migration from legacy infrastructure to modern cloud-native tools like Cassandra, Kafka and Spark. Our ML platform monitors the customer’s cloud implementation 24/7 to ensure stability, and uses millions of data points to optimize system performance continuously.

Q: That sounds great but does Vorstella have real world examples yet?

A: Yes, one of our customers is a leading publicly traded bank. Vorstella migrated a major part of their infrastructure to the cloud, received regulatory approvals and confidently went into production in a few weeks. Since then, Vorstella’s ML models identified system optimizations to increase throughput 20X and reduce latency by 60%, and identified an elusive bug that had been causing data inconsistencies for more than 6 months.

Q: Are you confident that Vorstella’s technology can compete with the world’s leading human experts?

A: Well we’ve already proven it with our existing customers. And going forward we feel that Vorstella is on the right side of the major trends. Cloud deployments are getting more complex, new technologies are being released at an increasing pace and the amount of data collected is outpacing human’s ability to comprehend it. Given this future, Vorstella’s belief is that customers want results, they don’t want to spend and hire more just to keep up. Customers understand that “expertise doesn’t scale.” Vorstella’s technological solution does scale and will get better and better as complexity increases, new technologies are released and the data sets on which our models are trained get bigger.

Q: There is growing concern that Silicon Valley tech startups are increasingly becoming amoral. There are fears that artificial intelligence and robots are replacing human jobs and that startups are sacrificing good corporate culture in favor of growth at all costs. How does Vorstella think about these issues?

A: We are fortunate because our technology isn’t taking away jobs. There will never be enough skilled people to keep up with pace of cloud technology. The engineers of tomorrow will want to focus on creating differentiated business value as software becomes a more critical driver of growth. Regarding corporate culture, we feel that a high integrity, responsible culture is not in contradiction to fast growth. We think it’s all about the people, culture and values. That’s one of the reasons we chose to partner with reputable investors like Cowboy Ventures, Crunchfund and Core Ventures Group, who are known for supporting building sustainable companies with values-based cultures including diversity.

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