blog Hilarious video above of a segment broadcast recently on Channel 10 news about Australian cloud computing startup OrionVM. Channel 10 rolls out all the stereotypes possible for the team — comparing them to Steve Jobs, discussing the copious amounts of energy drinks they imbibe to keep their hacking skills alive, and even displaying repeated screenshots of what appears to be an Ubuntu terminal prompt. It’s mysterious code! Elite hacking going on here!
In all seriousness, while it’s great that OrionVM is getting coverage like this, we’d find it hard to believe this level of hype isn’t fairly unjustified. I’m sure the company is doing well, but is it worth “millions”? Possible, but not likely. Is it realistic to build a giant cloud computing infrastructure company off a base of just $6,000? Not really. Can the company’s product be conquering the world after it only launched in mid-2011? Nope.
The thing about cloud computing companies like OrionVM is that they’re not fast-moving consumer-facing startups like Spreets or RedBubble. They’re fundamentally business to business companies. And even in today’s hyped cloud computing environment, what this means is long sales cycles. Revenue in cloud computing land (especially in infrastructure as a service) is going to be slow to come by, and I would bet OrionVM has a long path to profitability. I didn’t see any sales guys in the videos of their office — just geeks typing at keyboards.
The other thing is that the company is currently going up against almost every major IT infrastructure company in the book. Amazon, Rackspace, Microsoft, HP, IBM, Fujitsu, CSC and more … to say nothing of fellow Australian startups like Ninefold, which is backed by Macquarie Telecom. Is there something special about OrionVM which will allow it to beat a global company like Amazon, or a local company like Fujitsu, at the cloud computing game? No. I do not believe there is. And even Ninefold is going to have the backing, customer contacts and deep pockets of a major player like Macquarie Telecom to draw upon
I like OrionVM and the guys that work there, and I’m cheering for them. I’ve covered the company before. But I really dislike hype, and I’d like to see some more evidence that these guys are world-beaters before I sign on to the level which Channel 10 appears to have done. And in IT circles, that means disclosing happy customers with successful and ongoing technology deployments. Nothing more, and nothing less.