Caylent’s Netcapital Offering & Origin Story

Written by JP La Torre

To celebrate the recent success of surpassing our fundraising goal on Netcapital, here’s an insight into the mission behind Caylent and what makes it special.

Netcapital is a private securities platform that opens the door for entrepreneurs everywhere to gain access to capital through their communities and users. Investment opportunities serve to align the economic interests of a company and its investors and supporters. Netcapital recently partnered with us to raise capital via their equity funding platform as we prepared to exhibit at TechCrunch Disrupt NYC.

As the fundraising round with Netcapital nears an end on September 25th, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to sit down and interview our founding team and learn more about the mission behind our startup.

What was the motivation behind building Caylent?

JP La Torre – CEO/Co-Founder

Stefan and I founded Caylent after spending years building and automating cloud environments. The impact and potential of the open-source container movement, pioneered by Docker, was a big influence.

We noticed that there was a gap in the container ecosystem between command-line developer tools and SaaS-based cloud management platforms. We felt a lot of the workflow could be abstracted. Stefan is a DevOps engineer, so we wanted to build something that automated as much of the DevOps pipeline as possible, starting with containerized applications.

How is Caylent’s approach different from that of competitors?

Julia Pearson – Full Stack Engineer

We aim to be provider agnostic so that our users can leverage container and cloud technologies no matter which particular ones they’re using. We also deploy production-grade scalable infrastructure by default. While Caylent simplifies the deployment process, we still allow users to customize at every level. Unlike Heroku for instance, Caylent users never ’grow out’ of Caylent.

What is Caylent’s biggest advantage in the space?

Stefan Thorpe – CTO/Co-Founder

We set out to work with Docker from the start which has allowed us to provide the best support for it. We’re not just a service provider joining different tools to bridge together support. Instead, we are fully Docker native.

What’s at the center of Caylent’s approach to container management?

Julia Pearson – Full Stack Engineer

Our API automates the tasks of building and deploying that could take a team weeks to perfect and even more to maintain. At our core, Caylent is talking to your cloud provider and containers the way a skilled developer would, giving your team more time to focus on developing your product.

Caylent first launched a limited private beta in June of 2016. What have you learned since the beta launch?

Stefan Thorpe – CTO/Co-Founder

We learned that how we viewed stacks and how they were built was too restrictive. At the time we had not looked at Docker as a part of our core. This led us to a complete rebuild of the system all the way through our front-end application.

Julia Pearson – Full Stack Engineer

We also learned about the types of applications users are deploying. Our private beta focused more on blueprints for infrastructure which users could deploy specific types of applications onto, i.e. WordPress, Ruby on Rails. Listening to user feedback, we made the platform much more flexible on the application level by focusing more on container technology. Now users can deploy any type of dockerized application, including ones like WordPress which will be featuring soon in our App Store.

In February this year, you opened up the beta publicly. What made the biggest difference to gaining traction?

Stefan Thorpe – CTO/Co-Founder

We received a lot of exposure from ProductHunt, Docker, and from exhibiting at TechCrunch Disrupt. It helped us gain adoption and acceptance from their existing followers.

Julia Pearson – Full Stack Engineer

Now that users can deploy any containerized application, Caylent is much more versatile, and our potential user base has expanded enormously. Anyone who wants to deploy containers into the cloud, which is a growing majority of software developers, will find Caylent useful. Our UI has also become much more user-friendly. Cloud and container management can be extremely complicated, and we want to make every developer feel incredibly comfortable.

Can you talk about interest and partnerships? What are some of the milestones or achievements that have come out of them?

JP La Torre – CEO/Co-Founder

We’re still in beta, and the container movement is still in its infancy. As you might expect a lot of our current users are startups and early adopters, but we’re working on enterprise features because we know that big businesses also stand to benefit the most regarding time and cost savings.

Stefan Thorpe – CTO/Co-Founder

Our largest partnership to date has been with Microsoft. We met them thanks to an accelerator called Entrepreneur Roundtable Accelerator (ERA). We worked with their in-house developers for a few months to add support for Microsoft Azure.

We’re now in the process of helping support their customers in using Caylent.

One of the most valuable assets any startup has is its team. What is your approach to hiring and how do you view your team?

Stefan Thorpe – CTO/Co-Founder

Hunger to learn, especially for developers. What we’re not interested in is people that have a set way- growth and flexibility have value for us.

Julia Pearson – Full Stack Engineer

Everyone on our team is eager to learn about new technologies that will help us create a product that will make other developers’ lives easier.

Startup life has its challenges. What has been your biggest personal struggle to date?

Stefan Thorpe – CTO/Co-Founder

You need to be resilient. I’m now in my 3rd startup, and I wouldn’t do anything else other than startups. But I learned that startups could fail for many reasons, and you have to be ready for the changes that happen as a result of clients and income or even internal team changes.

I’ve learned a lot over the years. I think I started young and was a “know-it-all,” but looking back now I have the ability to add systems and procedures that help create efficiencies without too many restrictions thanks to the experiences gained through larger corporate and startup work.

Julia Pearson – Full Stack Engineer

As a small team that’s excited to build new features, we constantly have to balance all of the things we want to do and the limited time and resources we have. We make sure to frequently reevaluate our priorities, so we’re getting users the things they need.

What advice would you give to someone that is about to start their first startup?

Stefan Thorpe – CTO/Co-Founder

Time and money.

Your idea will change the moment you start. So it’s important that you have enough time and/or money to handle those changes. Money can sometimes be a fixed variable for you which means you need time to be able to keep going on your own.

Running out of money also creates personal challenges that can pull you away from being able to focus on the startup.

Julia Pearson – Full Stack Engineer

Have a clear idea of the goals you want your company to achieve but be very flexible as you work towards them. The purpose of the product will change as you understand the market and how users react to your product.

Combining 20 years of domain expertise in cloud computing, DevOps, and software development, the Caylent team has a simple mission – to empower software developers by making cloud environments and containers effortless to deploy and manage.

As our team knows firsthand, provisioning hundreds of servers and deploying software artifacts to them on a daily basis is no easy task. The massive growth and popularity of a breakthrough technology known as software containers have brought a paradigm shift and new sets of challenges for enterprises.

We are building a container-centric cloud platform that automates the most arduous everyday tasks for software teams. For businesses, this means shrinking infrastructure costs, speeding up software releases, reducing failure rates, and freeing up vital human resources.

Learn more about Caylent, our product, and market fit over on Netcapital. You’ll even find success metrics and other details as a part of our open funding round.

Or start today: Setup a High-Availability Docker Stack on AWS.

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