Posted on November 22, 2016 by staff

Start-up landscape in US ‘changed by tech’


A Silicon Valley CEO has said it is incredibly easy to set up a company in the US these days thanks to tech.

Tom Gillis, 50, founded cloud computing company Bracket in 2011, his third venture.

“It used to be you had to hire an IT guy, you had to hire a HR person, you had to incorporate… and figure all this stuff out,” he told BusinessCloud.

“Now you just plug into all that stuff as a service so the amount of capital necessary to start a company, and just start functioning, it’s almost zero – it’s just amazing.

“That has changed the start-up landscape in that you see a lot of companies going after relatively small ideas.

“The companies that are going after big ideas still require a lot of capital.

“There are a lot of really smart people that work at large companies, but those companies get consumed with ‘today’.”

Years before YouTube took over the online video space, Gillis founded a start-up which sought to ease the burden of audio and video content on internet infrastructure.

He says that the tech is used widely today but was “10 years ahead of primary demand”.

Gillis, who also spoke of the ‘fear of missing out’ which helps promote investment in the Valley, then founded IronPort, a spam filter which doubled its bookings year on year until it was acquired by Cisco for $830m.

Mountain View-based Bracket is a disrupter. Gillis and co-founder Jason Lango believed they had found an innovative approach to cloud computing and set to work developing the systems behind their vision of a ‘cloud workload protection platform’, attracting a total of $130million in funding from top-tier VC firms.

“VCs are looking for things that completely redefine industry – and Bracket is that,” he says.

“We have a new blueprint for how data centres are built that we’ve been working on for a long time.

“I think that if we’re successful, this could be one of those companies that returns the whole [VC] fund.

“We don’t have a direct competitor so our biggest challenge is really execution; building all this software is very complicated.

“We’ve been working on it for years and continue to iterate rapidly, work closely with customers to make all this vision turn into reality.”

A common theme running through many successful tech companies – in the States, Europe and worldwide – is a people-focused approach.

Demand for developers and skilled digital workers is increasing rapidly as technology becomes embedded into all businesses and the pure tech sector expands.

The talent pool is unable to keep pace.

“Since tech moves so fast, it’s not the IP that defines great companies. It is great people that make great products, and great products make great companies,” says Gillis.

“We put a huge amount of time and energy in how to attract, retain, and motivate the best talent, and we’re very effective at that.

“Although it is very time consuming, it’s an investment we think is important because at the end of the day it’s the people that power this business.

“The original founding notion was I wanted to create a place where people loved their jobs and were proud of the work they do and felt like they could move mountains, always and forever.”