Cloud Awakening is a Sydney software developer that has just launched its first product, Asset.Guru, which is a platform for tracking and managing physical assets in small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
Founder Chris Petersen comes from a corporate background, having worked 10 years for IBM, followed by stints at Salesforce.com and Trimble. He told Techworld Australia that it’s been a rewarding transition, though not without its challenges.
With Asset.Guru, Cloud Awakening wants to “do the basics of an asset register, put it in the cloud, and basically uncouple companies from [Microsoft] Excel,” Petersen said.
While working for Trimble, Petersen observed that that Excel is still very prevalent in the construction and mining sectors. “One of the things that I saw out on job sites was this gap between how people do business and how they track their assets.”
While asset tracking software exists for large enterprises, Cloud Awakening sees an opportunity to serve small to medium businesses with a service “that is super simple” and can “help a small business act like a big business,” he said.
By virtue of being in the cloud, the software encourages greater collaboration, with users always able to view the latest version of the asset register, he said. With password controls, it is also more secure than using Excel, he said.
Naturally, the software also includes a tool to quickly import asset registers from Excel.
Funding and development
Petersen said he exited the corporate world for startups to make a greater impact. “I’m just really passionate to make things better in IT.”
Some of the big vendors he worked for had developed their products 10 to 15 years ago, and innovation slowed in the ensuing years, he said.
“When you’re from scratch, and literally when anything is possible, that kind of blank page approach is really exciting. You get to be the game changer in the industry.”
The transition to startups was “scary,” he admitted.
“That comfort and low risk approach to working as an employee is actually awesome, but on the flip side you get so much more working [as a startup].”
Cloud Awakening began development on Asset.Guru in February this year and has launched the product this week. The company has three staff in Sydney and five developers in the UK, he said.
The startup is self-funded, which has provided much freedom in designing products, he said. While Cloud Awakening will initially focus on organic growth, the company is open to pursuing venture capital or other fundraising in the future, he said.
Cloud Awakening has tested its product with two trial companies for the last four to five weeks to help polish the software. But with the software launch, the startup’s big push for customers has just begun.
Cloud Awakening has targeted SMBs and offers three packages of Asset.Guru for different-sized companies. The standard version is $49 per organisation per month for 3 users and 1,500 assets; “standard plus” is $79 per organisation per month for 3 users and 3,500 assets; and “enterprise” is $179 per organisation per month for 15 users and 80,000 assets.
Asset.Guru is Web-based software, with an iOS native app set to be released later this year. Petersen said he believes Generation Y expects today’s software to work out of a browser.
In addition to selling a stand-alone product, Cloud Awakening has made Asset.Guru available as an add-on in the Xero marketplace.
The partnership will help Asset.Guru reach more customers, as well as help build Cloud Awakening’s own reputation, said Petersen. “We’re tying ourselves to a company that’s really going places.”Read more: Opinion: Is 'lift and shift' really cloud computing?
The partnership also helps forward the Australian startup’s plans to take its software global, he said.
“We’re going after the UK as soon as we possibly can, and then the US straight after.”
While the company will likely open offices in those countries, Petersen said he’d like to keep the headquarters in Australia.
The startup scene “is what you make it Sydney,” said Petersen.
Petersen said he’d like to see more government attention on opening up funding for startups in Australia.
However, it’s much easier today to launch a startup than it was even five years ago, thanks especially to the rise of the cloud and open-source software, he said.
“I don’t know how people used to do it,” he said. “2014 and 15 is really the best time to start a startup.”
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