Larry White, who helped build 3D printing pioneer MakerBot into a market leader, is now VP of finance at DigitalOcean, a hot New York-based IaaS provider that claims TaskRabbit and Amazon — yes, Amazon! — among its customers.
DigitalOcean’s challenges now are similar to those MakerBot faced: how to grow from a small group of “brilliant entrepreneurs” into a big business, and how to construct the infrastructure and team to make that happen, White said in an interview.
The company targets newbie developers and hopes they’ll stick with its inexpensive services as they gain proficiency. Professional and enterprise developers are not a key focus, “although we won’t turn them away,” White said.
“Our services are up and running in a few minutes, while with AWS you need to be a console guru,” he said, referring to the AWS Management Console.
DigitalOcean prices aggressively, starting at $5 per month for one CPU core, 512MB of memory, 20GB SSD disk and 1TB of data transfer. “Look to these guys to see where the price war is going,” said 451 Research analyst Carl Brooks.
White actually joined DigitalOcean in September, although the news was not publicly announced then. At that time, head count was 30; it’s now up to 40. Earlier this month, DigitalOcean said it had rolled out 500,000 virtual servers running on 5,000 physical machines — that’s a drop in the bucket compared to Microsoft and Amazon, but it’s not nothing, either.
The biggest challenge for the company, which garnered $3.2 million in seed funding last August, is keeping up with demand. White cited revenue growth of 30 percent month over month and said DigitalOcean averages 800 new customer sign-ups per day.