Skytap, one of the software companies fueled by the cloud-computing boom, has raised $45 million in venture capital from investors including influential investment bank Goldman Sachs.
Chief Executive Thor Culverhouse said the Seattle company hopes to file for an initial public offering of stock in the next year-and-a-half to two years. "We're very excited about the overall health of the business," he said in an interview.
Skytap is firmly enmeshed in cloud computing, the trend reshaping how businesses use technology. Instead of running their software applications on their own servers, companies are increasingly opting to rent that processing power from data centers operated by such companies as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft's Azure and Google Cloud Platform.
Skytap pitches its own cloud as a bridge between the old and the new. The company specializes in repurposing businesses' current applications -- say, expense-reporting software or client databases -- for the cloud, allowing clients to access services via the internet after what Skytap says are fewer modifications than competing clouds.
The company runs its customers' software from its own data centers, and through a reseller's agreement, IBM also sells Skytap services that run on the business software giant's own on-demand hardware.
Culverhouse called Skytap's software "a purpose-built cloud for enterprise applications," including those that were never designed to live in the cloud.
The latest funding, the company's fifth major round of outside investment, brings Skytap's venture-capital investment haul to $109.5 million. At the sealing of the previous round, in December 2014, Culverhouse had predicted "it shouldn't be more than a couple of years" before the company would be ready for an IPO.
He said Skytap plans to use the new cash to hire more developers, as well as sales and marketing employees.
The company's engineers are based in Seattle, but he said the competition to hire talented employees has pushed Skytap to consider hiring developers elsewhere. He says he's weighing options for an outpost of remote developers, with possible sites including Austin, Salt Lake City or perhaps Northern Ireland.
Most of the company's 175 employees are based in Skytap's downtown Seattle office space. Some salespeople work elsewhere, including a cluster in the United Kingdom.
The latest funding round was led by Goldman Sachs Private Capital and includes contributions from existing investors. Previous backers include Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos and Seattle-area venture capital stalwarts Madrona Venture Group and Ignition Partners.
The company was founded in 2006, and at the time called Illumita, by a group of University of Washington professors who had invented a virtual laboratory tool.
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