As young software developers building a help desk system, three co-workers thought their jobs would be a lot easier if they could spend more time making software applications and less time deploying them, navigating red tape and making sure they had server space for each new application.
So in 2007, Sinclair Schuller, Abraham Sultan and Matt Ammerman started their own company, Apprenda, and started working on ways that other companies could store and manage their applications “in the cloud.”
The so-called “open platform as a service” that they eventually developed after working on some other models allows developers to upload applications with a few clicks of a mouse.
“It used to take roughly three months to be able to deploy an application, where now it takes a few minutes,” said Sultan, vice president of engineering. “They don’t have to worry about the tedious work that they used to have to do before.”
Companies save money from the greater efficiency and developers can more easily see which applications are being used and which ones aren’t, Sultan said.
“They get a very good insight into the applications that are actually running in the enterprise.”
Huge banks “have over 30,000 developers inside the bank,” Sultan said. They also may have hundreds of thousands of servers, one for each application.
The speed of deploying new applications also gives the companies a competitive edge in the market, allowing them to unveil new applications earlier and reap the benefits of them sooner.
Others have seen the value in Apprenda’s work too.
Venture capital funds have invested more than $16 million into the startup, which now has 40 employees and boasts customers such as Honeywell, Symantec and Diebold, the largest manufacturer of automated teller machines in the U.S. Apprenda is also in talks with some large banks, which Sultan wouldn’t name for security reasons.
Apprenda works with Fortune 1000 companies, many of whom have a world presence. Most are in the financial sector, health care or the media industry.
The company has doubled in size for several years in a row, and expects to employ between 50 and 60 employees by the end of this year.
“We’re hiring like crazy,” Sultan said. “We need software developers.”
Sinclair and Sultan met as roommates at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Ammerman went to the University at Albany. All three worked together at Eden Communications, a former Saratoga Springs software company.
Sultan is 32; Sinclair, 31; and Ammerman is 33.
Sinclair is now the Apprenda CEO and Ammerman is vice president of client services.
Their office at 3 Corporate Park Drive, Halfmoon, has a gym and showers, catered lunches on Fridays and an open vacation policy. They also have offices in Albany and Manhattan and a few workers throughout the country who work at home.
“It’s a very fun environment,” Sultan said.
They even have a kegerator.
“You can have beer any time of the day at Apprenda.”