Warren was started by its founders as a side project and now supports regional cloud infrastructure service providers in asserting themselves against Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Google and other technology giants. Warren's distributed self-service cloud platform, based in Tallinn, Estonia, is gaining traction in Southeast Asia, one of the fastest growing cloud service markets in the world, and Europe. Recently, a $ 1.4 million seed round led by Passion Capital was completed. Plans for expansion in South America, where it recently started in Brazil, are complete.
Warren's seed capital also included the participation of Lemonade Stand and angel investors such as former Nokia Vice President Paul Melin and Marek Kiisa, co-founders of the Superangel and NordicNinja funds.
The world's leading cloud providers are aggressively expanding their international business by expanding their marketing teams and data centers around the world (for example, Microsoft has launched a new data center region in Austria in the past few months, expanded it in Brazil, and announced that it will build a new region in Taiwan competing with Amazon Web Services).
The demand for bespoke service and control over data is causing many organizations, especially smaller ones, to continue to choose on-premises cloud infrastructure providers instead, Warren co-founder and CEO Tarmo Tael told TechCrunch.
"Local vendors are paying more attention to in-person sales and support in the local language for all customers in general, and most importantly, taking the time to focus on SMB customers for flexibility and addressing their unique needs," he said. "While global providers may only add a personal touch to a few large corporate customers." Many local providers also offer lower prices and offer a large amount of free bandwidth which attracts SMEs.
He added that "the aspect of data sovereignty plays an important role in the choice of their cloud platform for many customers".
In 2015, Tael and co-founder Henry Vaaderpass began work on the project that eventually became Warren while they were running an e-commerce website development agency. From the start, the two wanted to develop their own product and tested several ideas, but weren't really enthusiastic about any of them, he said. At the same time, the agency's e-commerce clients faced challenges as their business grew.
The customers of Tael and Vaaderpass opted for local cloud infrastructure providers due to lower costs and more personal support. However, setting up new e-commerce projects with scalable infrastructure was costly because many on-premises cloud infrastructure providers use different platforms.
"So we looked for tools that would help us manage our e-commerce projects better and more efficiently," said Tael. "Since we didn't find what we were looking for, we saw this as an opportunity to build our own."
After creating their first prototype, Tael and Vaaderpass realized that it could be used by other development teams and decided to get angel funding from investors like Kiisa who had experience working with cloud data centers or infrastructure providers.
Southeast Asia, one of the fastest growing cloud markets in the world, is an important part of Warren's business. Warren will continue to expand in Southeast Asia and focus on other developing regions with large domestic markets such as South America (starting with Brazil). Tael said the startup is also in talks with potential partners in other markets, including Russia, Turkey and China.
Warren's current customers include Estonian Cloud provider Pilw.io and Indonesian cloud provider IdCloudHost. According to Tael, working with Warren means customers spend less time dealing with technical issues related to infrastructure software, so their teams, including developers, can instead focus on helping customers and managing other services they sell.
The company's goal is to give local cloud infrastructure providers the ability to meet growing demand and eventually expand internationally with tools that can manage more installations and end users. This includes functions such as automated maintenance and DevOps processes that optimize the testing of functions and the handling of different platforms.
Ultimately, Warren wants to connect providers on a network that end users can access through a single API and user interface. The network is also a community where Warren's customers can share resources and ultimately have a marketplace for their apps and services.
In terms of competition, Tael said, on-premises cloud infrastructure providers often turn to OpenStack, Virtuozzo, Stratoscale, or Mirantis. The advantage these companies currently have over Warren is a wider network, but Warren is busy building his own. The company will be able to connect multiple locations with one provider by the first quarter of 2021. Thereafter, Tael will "gradually connect the providers and improve our user administration and billing services to cope with all this complexity".