Cloud Sherpas Bags More Funding, Sees Big Growth With Google

Cloud computing solution provider Cloud Sherpas has secured $1.6 million in series A-1 funding, cash the company will use to continue boosting its cloud computing profile and its offerings around Google Apps.

In two and a half years, the Atlanta-based cloud VAR has moved more than 600,000 enterprise users to the Google Apps platform, Google's cloud computing communication and collaboration offerings. Additionally, Cloud Sherpas' software is in use at more than 8,000 companies, representing more than 1.5 million Google Apps users. Cloud Sherpas has done this while realizing zero percent lifetime churn on annual software license renewals.

"Things have just continued to accelerate," said Cloud Sherpas founder Michael Cohn.

And the $1.6 billion funding boost will help Cloud Sherpas continue its path. The company has now raised close to $3 million in funding, with about $1 million coming during Series A funding in May 2010

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Cohn said Cloud Sherpas successes in part stem from the cloud computing market maturing, the functionality and cost savings offered by Google Apps and more interest in cloud solutions as a whole.

Next: Migrating From On-Premise

One recent shift that has sparked growth, Cohn said, is that Cloud Sherpas no longer has to educate customers on the cloud. Potential customers understand the technology and the capabilities it delivers, which is a dramatic change from just a year ago.

"People are aware of the Google Apps solution," he said. "There's a much higher awareness of Google as an enterprise solution and an enterprise platform."

Cohn added that cloud adoption is spreading among major verticals and industries and is hot in retail, manufacturing and real estate -- three segments hit hard by the economic downturn. The government is also coming around when it comes to the cloud. The recent bump in capital will help Cloud Sherpas fuel Google Apps adoption across those verticals

Cloud Sherpas continues to move its customer base off of the three established on-premise platforms in Microsoft Exchange, IBM Lotus Notes and Novell GroupWise. Cohn said Cloud Sherpas has also won deals over on-premise solutions that are looking to maintain their foothold within certain customers.

Cloud Sherpas considers cloud players like Microsoft Office 365 and BPOS as competitors, but the company has vowed to stay focused on the Google stack and will rely on Google to drive business. And the proof is in the pudding, as more customers turn to Cloud Sherpas and its managed Google Apps offerings.

Next: 'Success Begets More Success'

"It's not that we're knocking on random doors saying 'Hey, you're still on-premise, you should go Google,'" he said, recounting one project where a customer signed a purchase order to Microsoft for SharePoint licenses only to ultimately pull that purchase order back in favor of Google Sites.

The company's laser focus has helped it hit implementations that range from 75 to 75,000 users, with an average deployment size of around 2,000. And Cloud Sherpas' SherpaTools application, which adds new IT management functions for administrators and new features to Google Apps, like directory management, user management and access control, was one of the first 50 apps in the Google Apps Marketplace and is in use by more than 8,000 companies in 85 countries.

"What's driving us versus others in our space is our reputation for phenomenal work with Google," Cohn said. "Success begets more success."