OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Young company co-founded by OSU alumni acquired

01/19/2011

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Cloudkick, a company launched two years ago in Silicon Valley by three Oregon State University alumni, was acquired last month by Rackspace, the second largest company in the world in the field of cloud computing.

This technology allows companies to use the Internet to tap server space, software tools, and other resources on-demand, instead of having to own computing power, storage solutions, and software that are needed only at certain times.

Cloudkick’s product is a set of visual and easy-to-use tools that enables system administrators to better monitor, analyze, and manage the resources they use in the “cloud.”

The company founders graduated from OSU. Alex Polvi, from rural Amity, and Dan Di Spaltro, from Bend, received bachelor’s degrees in computer science in 2007. Logan Welliver, from McMinnville, graduated in 2006 with a bachelor of fine arts in graphic design.

“The roots of Coudkick are really at OSU and the Oregon State Open Source Lab,” said Polvi, who added that both his coursework and the work experience he gained at OSU were critical to his entrepreneurial success.

Polvi’s work at the Open Source Lab led to an internship at Google in New York, and then to a job at Mozilla in the Bay Area after graduation. At OSU he also worked with computer science professor Tim Budd to establish the Open Source Education Lab.

In 2008, the three OSU graduates launched Cloudkick, and, as Polvi said, “got lucky.” In February, 2009, their company was one of 16 selected by a unique startup incubator called Y Combinator, which gave the trio $20,000, plus access to weekly mentoring sessions with some of Silicon Valley’s finest experts.

In August, 2009, as the trio was running on financial fumes, they finally landed a $750,000 investment from Avalon Ventures, moved into a house in San Francisco that served as both home and office, and hired their first employee.

In February 2010, Avalon Ventures provided another $2 million infusion of cash for Cloudkick. Less than a year later, the company had grown to 12 employees, six of whom were fellow OSU alumni, plus an OSU intern working remotely from the OSU campus.

Welliver’s OSU training in graphic design helped make their product highly visual and simple to use, and Di Spaltro and Polvi shared general management duties.

Exactly two years to the day from when they founded Cloudkick, the three entrepreneurs closed the acquisition deal with Rackspace.

They can now all afford to buy homes, but Polvi doesn’t own a car and the three cofounders still live together in the San Francisco house. All 12 Cloudkick employees will join Rackspace, which will work to secure its spot as a world leader in cloud computing, Polvi said.

He says the OSU Beaver flag will definitely be flying in the new Rackspace offices.