Ericsson Acquires Majority Stake in Cloud Services Startup
Seeking to round out its cloud services offerings, Sweden's Ericsson is acquiring a majority stake in the U.S.-based, platform-as-a-service (PaaS) company Apcera. Further details of the all-cash deal, expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year, were not released.
Based in Stockholm, the information and communications technology manufacturer and service provider sees PaaS as the "key to success" in the cloud. Apcera's platform, Continuum, lets enterprise users deploy and manage diverse IT workloads either in the cloud, in their own facilities or via a hybrid approach.
Founded in 2012, Apcera is led by CEO Derek Collison, who was previously an executive with Google and VMware. While at VMware, Collison designed and built the PaaS platform Cloud Foundry. He went on to start Apcera with the goal of developing a platform that incorporated policy and security considerations for faster time-to-market apps development and orchestration.
Apcera officially launched Continuum on Monday, the same day that Ericsson announced its investment.
"Unlike traditional PaaS, Continuum is an enterprise-class IT platform that integrates policy to enable faster time-to-market without sacrificing crucial security requirements," Collison said in a post on his company's blog. "Ericsson and Apcera share the same vision -- to be a significant force for disruption in the enterprise IT market."
Ericsson's investment in Apcera marks one of the industry's largest to date in PaaS, Collison said.
"Ericsson's leadership team was willing to make a massive investment that allows Apcera to leapfrog the slow path of smaller traditional funding rounds and leverage our strong competitive position in this fast-growing market," he said. While benefiting from Ericsson's financial backing, Apcera will continue to operate as an independent, stand-alone company with Collison as CEO.
The new investment, Collison added, "will enable us to accelerate deployment and integration of Continuum across multiple industries."
"We knew we needed to find a way to fuel our company fast and take advantage of the enormous opportunity before us in the market -- an opportunity that is still at the very beginning stages, and one of the biggest of my career," he said.
Aimed at Operator, Enterprise Clouds
While Ericsson already has a strong presence in policy-based automation and telecom network governance, Apcera's technology extends its reach into the operator and enterprise clouds.
"Cloud is one of the strategic areas Ericsson is targeting for growth, and establishing leadership in PaaS is a key to its success," Ericsson said in a press release announcing its investment.
"The beauty of the cloud is that it is much more efficient to develop, roll out and operate applications," said Jason Hoffman, Ericsson's vice president and head of Product Line Cloud Software. "To realize the full potential, cloud environments need security and governance, which our partnership with Guardtime and our acquisition of a majority stake in Apcera provides."
Ericsson announced its partnership with Guardtime, which provides keyless signature infrastructure technology for the cloud, earlier this month.