Comcast signs Smit through 2019; WSJ: Angelakis ranks high among CFOs

Tom Paine

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In an SEC filing today, Comcast said that Neil Smit, President & CEO of Comcast's Cable business, has signed up until 2019, with a salary hike and additional financial inducements.

If the merger with Time Warner Cable goes through, he is going to be managing an expanded empire.

Meanwhile, the Inquirer's Bob Fernandez reports that Comcast"s vice chairman and CFO, Michael Angelakis, was rated as the third most effective CFO by the Wall Street Journal, based on Comcast's return on invested capital, operating margin, dividend growth, and share buybacks over the last three years.

Brian Roberts' other top lieutenant, Steve Burke, is receiving heat for his management of NBC News, but he is typically stereotyped as the guy from Comcast who doesn't understand the news biz, which overlooks his early experience with ABC.

Philadelphia Magazine reported last month that Burke's Rittenhouse Square home was finally sold or was under contract after being on the market for a long time, but I'm sure he can still get pretty good digs when he's in town.

Center City-based Cloudamize, helping customers manage Cloud spending, ramps for growth

Tom Paine

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Cloudamize, not to be confused with another Philly startup, Cloudmine (though both are MissionOG portfolio companies), is looking at a large market opportunity.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon's massive public cloud computing service, is estimated to be closing in on a $5 billion annual run rate, growing at 40%. Many large enterprises, medium-sized companies and startups have migrated all or parts of their information processing to it. But the need to optimize AWS spend, which is usually more complex than one can analyze on a spreadsheet, is becoming greater as the amount spent grows.

Khushboo Shah / Cloudamize website
Cloudamize, founded by Khushboo Shah and out of the 2012 Philly DreamIt class, addresses the preplanning would-be AWS users need to do before deciding to move work to a public cloud, and then measures the cost effeiciency of their AWS usage on a monthly basis by putting actual detailed usage stats through a SaaS application that shows how that workload can be optimized in terms of performance and costs. Measuring AWS usage and performance is not a simple univariable analysis, but often involves measuring a complex mix of resources.

Shah hold a PHD in Electrical Engineering from Southern Cal and was working for a Princeton firm when she began formulating the ideas behind Cloudamize. After completing the DreamIt program, she launched it on a shoestring, and in
September 2013 received $1.2 million in VC funding from Philly-based VC firms MissionOG and Gabriel Ventures. It now has 17 employees, mostly in Philadelphia but a few in India and elsewhere, and plans to add about 5 more over the next couple of months.

In November, Cloudamize added two senior execs, Jonathan Kanarek (HP, Tenduit) as chief operating officer and Gabrielle Smith (Amazon Web Services) as vice president of sales and business development. In October, Cloudamize said it had tripled its customer base over the past six months. It demonstrated the enhancements that have driven its growth at AWS re:Invent, AWS' big user conference, in November.

It also extended its addressable market to cover Microsoft's Azure, which is considered the second largest public cloud provider. Next year it plans to add a couple of more public cloud providers, and then add a private cloud platform (my guess: something related to VMware) into the mix to begin analyzing hybrid cloud issues for customers, Shah told me in a phone interview.

Cloudamize helps customers pre-plan moving workload to the public cloud, then monitors their monthly usage on AWS to optimize workload and costs. "Today when customers think about moving to the cloud they need to first understand the cost prior to moving their infrastructure," Shah said. "They need to figure out their existing infrastructure and application inventory and understand what it will look like and how much it will cost when they move that to the cloud. Today this exercise is done manually and it's pure guesswork. We automate that via a SaaS application. We collect over a half a million data points per workload per day and map existing infrastructure and applications to the cloud. We provide TCO (total cost of ownership) and performance analytics that defines cloud migration roadmap based on their data and hence the guesswork is eliminated."

Cloudamize markets primarily to SMEs (small & medium-sized enterprises) who have a few hundred to thousands of servers. It relies mostly on channel partners for sales. Pricing can range from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands.

There are competitors, several having 'cloud' in their names (Cloudyn, CloudCheckr, Cloudability), and some have raised more money to this point, but Shah believes her product is distinguished by the granularity of the data it collects and bases its analyses on, and the degree to which it is productized in a SaaS application.

When I asked Shah if AWS was receptive to companies like Cloudamize, she responded that under Jeff Bezos' leadership at Amazon delivering value to customers has always been emphasized, and AWS was no different. It has been quite helpful, she said. That is different from some enterprise vendors I know of who aren't known for going out of their way to help customers reduce how much they spend with them.

Shah expects that Cloudamize will be seeking its next round of financing some time during 2015.