Cloud Sherpas, Google Apps Partner, Raises $40M and Buys CloudTrigger

Cloud Sherpas, a Google Apps partner, has raised $40 million and acquired Cloud Trigger. Is this the first great Cloud Services Brokerage?

December 20, 2012

4 Min Read
Cloud Sherpas, Google Apps Partner, Raises $40M and Buys CloudTrigger

By samdizzy

Cloud Sherpas, a top Google Apps and partner, has raised $40 million and acquired CloudTrigger — the company’s eighth M&A deal. Moreover, Cloud Sherpas is positioning itself as a Cloud Services Brokerage (CSB) — capable of integrating multiple online applications together for customers. Talkin’ Cloud spoke with CEO David Northington about the moves, which position the company to exceed $100 million in revenues for 2013.

First, the high-level facts:

1. Venture Capital: Cloud Sherpas has raised $40 million in Series B venture capital financing.  Existing Series A investors Columbia Capital and Delta-V Capital are joined in the new round by Greenspring Associates and Queensland Investment Corp.

2. Cloud Services Brokerage (CSB): Cloud Sherpas claims to be one of the fastest-growing CSBs on the planet, and the company landed on our 2012 list of Top 100 Cloud Services Providers (CSPs). But Cloud Sherpas prefers the CSB term, championed by Gartner VP Tiffani Bova. Simply put, CSB describes consulting firms that can help customers deploy and integrate multiple cloud services.

3. Track Record: Cloud Sherpas was the Google Enterprise 2011 Partner of the Year and is a Platinum partner. The company has overseen more than 3,000 customer migrations to Google Apps, and other cloud services. 

4. Another Acquisition: The company’s latest acquisition, CloudTrigger, is a California-based consulting firm focused on CRM (customer relationship management) solutions in the cloud. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. CloudTrigger’s clientele includes AOL, USA Today and Riverbed. The company also created G2Maps,  a geographic mapping analytics and visualization app available on the Salesforce AppExchange.  

Q&A With Cloud Sherpas CEO

David Northington spoke with Talkin’ Cloud to offer deeper details on the acquisition, venture capital and long-term business strategy. Here are snippets from the conversastion.

On continued growth: “We have strong growth aspirations. There is an incredibly strong marketplace for the cloud services brokerage model. The ability to aggregate and integrate cloud services is something we’re seeing strong demand for.”

On M&A and Funding: “We are being approached on a regular basis by two types of people. Investors or organizations that want to be acquired by us. We have seen a steady stream of inbound activity. We explored it.” The result: Funding and an acquisition to achieve even greater global scale.

On Cloud Trigger:  “They’re a partner in San Diego. That gives us the West Coast expansion and a footprint where we were only moderately present previously.”

It also gives Cloud Sherpas a certified architect in the industry — a rare find in the cloud market. It gives us a certified architect. I need to double-check my facts, but I think Northington mentioned that there are only 40 certified architects in the world and Cloud Sherpas now employs three of them. 

On CloudTriggers’ G2Maps App: “We don’t intend to become a product company. But the concept of a customization like G2Maps is fair game. Don’t expect to see us become a software shop” but Cloud Sherpas has some coding expertise in the mobile market and in the administration of Google Apps, he noted.

On Why Cloud Sherpas Won’t Suffer the Fate of Dot-Com Consultancies That Imploded in 2001: “We’re doing cloud aggregation. When the business dried up in the dot-com market, there wasn’t any [revenue] left. We are reselling a large number of cloud licenses and that provides a very large recurring revenue base. Our innovation is in the business model… One of the key learnings is stick to your nitting, stay in front of customers, and understand what they need.”

On Whether Cloud Sherpas Would Ever Resell Microsoft Office 365. “It’s a great question. We’re a Google partner today and we see Google Apps as a powerful suite of tools. We don’t see at this moment of time [the need] to aggregate Microsoft. We’re the largest Google Apps partner in the world. A piece of our success has been us giving them [Google] undivided attention. And they have given us opportunity. We know who we are and we like who we are. We like the Google story and the solution.”

On Whether the Potential Fiscal Cliff Will Impact Business: “The cloud market itself is good for expansion and for cost management. We think the cloud market will do well in an expanding economy, and even in an economy that isn’t expanding quite as rapidly.”

The Bottom Line

Cloud Sherpas certainly sounds like it’s in growth mode. But some questions remain unanswered. For instance: What percentage of revenues are recurring vs. one-time project engagements? Northington declined to say. 

Still, he noted that Cloud Sherpas’ war chest contains more money — even after the Cloud Trigger acquisition. It’s a safe bet Cloud Sherpas isn’t done with its M&A pursuits.

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