We’ve all heard stories about cloud-service fees run amok, about Amazon EC2 instances launched and forgotten about until the bill comes due. Cloudability, part of Structure 2011 LaunchPad competition, wants to keep companies abreast of what they’re spending in the cloud with a free app that shows them what’s being spent and where.
The Portland, Ore.-based company is very young — founded in spring 2011 with $155,000 in seed funding — but it’s full of promise. When Co-Founder and CEO Mat Ellis took the stage at Structure, he highlighted the very simple nature of the product, which he analogizes as “Mint.com for the cloud.” Users set a budget for each of their various cloud services, and Cloudability sends them a daily e-mail showing what they spent the previous day as a percentage of their budgets. Ostensibly, users shocked by what they see will investigate the reasons behind the excess spending, and put a stop to it.
The company entered private beta in late June with more than 500 customers. What it has to do going forward is figure out a business model that works for the service, likely of the freemium variety. There will be no shortage of willing customers for a free service like Cloudability, but, as with all things Software-as-a-Service, the trick is getting them to pay.