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Cloud Hosting Authors: Vaibhaw Pandey, Matt Brickey, Harry Trott, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Cloud Computing, Infrastructure On Demand, Startup Journal, Cloud Hosting & Service Providers Journal

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Cloud Computing: SoftLayer Catalyst Program Fuels Startups

MODX, SpotRight and Epic Playground poised for successful launches fresh from SoftLayer’s incubator program

SoftLayer Technologies is helping start-ups like MODX, SpotRight Inc. and Epic Playground build a solid foundation for success with its Catalyst Startup Program. Through this unique incubator program, SoftLayer provides free infrastructure and hosting services, as well as strategic product, market and operating advice from its senior-level employees. After a year in the Catalyst program, these entrepreneurs will have gained a competitive edge and be well positioned with strong, differentiated offerings.

"As a former startup ourselves, we are keenly aware of what it takes to transform an idea into a profitable business. While free office space and IT infrastructure services are of great benefit to new companies, we believe that a true incubator program should provide even more," said George Karidis, chief strategy officer at SoftLayer. "Our Catalyst program also enables participants to get advice from our in-house experts, who help them validate business models, share ideas about marketing strategy and make key introductions to potential partners and investors. MODX, SpotRight and Epic Playground are among the more than 250 Catalyst participants that are capitalizing on our unique mix of mentorship and the infrastructure needed to achieve success."

MODX Inspires Investor Confidence with Catalyst Validation
Based in Dallas, MODX has gained traction with web designers and developers around the world with its flexible, scalable and secure Open Source Content Management System (CMS). MODX joined the Catalyst program in the fall of 2011 as the company was embarking on the development of its Cloud platform, a subscription-based offering designed to simplify the building and maintenance of websites. MODX Cloud frees web designers and developers from having to think about setting up and maintaining servers. It turns tasks that traditionally required expert IT knowledge into one-click operations.

For example, MODX Cloud gives users the ability to turn up preconfigured and optimized websites across the globe in a matter of seconds. Having generated significant buzz at CMS Expo earlier this year, MODX Cloud has attracted close to 2000 users in its beta trial ahead of its October 2012 launch. MODX Cloud leverages SoftLayer's infrastructure, global IP platform and Object Storage service, and will have cloud centers in North America and Europe at launch.

"The SoftLayer Catalyst program is more than just free office space and hosting. It's the access to talent that has helped us refocus the business," said John Corcoran, CEO at MODX. "There have been clear points over the last eight months where SoftLayer's mentorship was critical to the formation of our strategy, allowing us to bounce ideas off its leadership and confirm we were on the right path. This aspect was particularly beneficial when we were seeking our next round of funding, and we could show investors that our ideas had been pressure tested with SoftLayer's seasoned team of executives."

SpotRight Makes Big Data Relevant
SpotRight, based in Boulder, Colo., and a graduate of the Boulder Tech Stars program, relies on SoftLayer's infrastructure to offer a cloud-based social customer intelligence platform that evaluates multiple sources, including the social web and marketers' databases. Just in the early stages of its launch, the company counts among its customers prAna, QuickSilver, ASPCA, AARP and the Environmental Defense Fund.

"We deal in the world of big data, so as our data assets grow organically and through the addition of new clients, we want to be able to scale our infrastructure quickly to always meet demand and best support our customers" said SpotRight CEO Ed Messman, who noted that the company is currently using one cluster and is in the process of spinning up three more. "The Catalyst program helps us on two fronts - providing us the flexibility to quickly and effectively increase our configurations without hiring more staff, and as partners, assisting us in everything from troubleshooting and configuring our infrastructure to making introductions to others in the SoftLayer family."

Epic Playground Plans for Fast Ramp Up
Also based in Boulder, Epic Playground, Inc (formerly Callisto.fm) provides real-time analytics for media companies with its MediaGauge product. MediaGauge is a service (and dashboard) that evaluates data from streaming media libraries on websites throughout the world. A graduate of the Tech Stars Cloud program and in the Catalyst program since February 2012, Epic Playground (epicplayground.com) will launch MediaGauge on October 5, 2012.

As part of the launch, media companies and professionals are invited to join a 4-month trial of the full enterprise version of the service. The technology is easy to use and has features for media pros and companies, agencies, brands and legacy media companies. The company expects tremendous growth over the next 60 to 90 days for MediaGauge, increasing to between 60 and 100 million engagements a day based on anticipated demand from current customers. Currently, the company has a single dedicated instance with a load balancer and some API servers from SoftLayer, but knows that it must be able to scale quickly upon their big launch.

"Relevant, easy-to-use, real-time media analytics tools are the core of Epic Playground's development business. SoftLayer's Catalyst program gives us access to its unique integration of cloud services and dedicated hardware, driven by APIs, which provide the flexibility to grow as fast as we need to," said Epic Playground CEO Michael Sitarzewski. "With other startup programs we have found no direct support from the companies sponsoring them, so to have direct access to the SoftLayer team is truly an important added benefit we're receiving in the Catalyst program."

For more information on the Catalyst Startup Program, visit the SoftLayer website.

More Stories By Liz McMillan

News Desk compiles and publishes breaking news stories, press releases and latest news articles as they happen.

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