While the fallout from Covid lockdowns and the ensuing regulations decimated many industries, one sector boomed alongside the seismic shift to digital. Tampa Bay and its burgeoning tech industry is reaping the benefits.
As brick-and-mortar businesses were forced to temporarily shut their doors and alter the delivery of their services, an entire country learned how to make the fast transition to digital interaction. Food and drinks were ordered from GrubHub and Drizly instead of servers and bartenders. Cars were taken for digital test rides and clothes were tried on in internet dressing rooms.
Here in Tampa Bay, a not-so-quiet tech boom was already underway. From Oldsmar and Clearwater to Tampa and St. Pete, more and more tech companies were choosing to move to – or get their start in – the area. So when the world transitioned from hard copy to the cloud, the region was well-prepared to step into the role everyone needed: help figuring all that stuff out.
Perhaps the best example is Blue.cloud, a cloud-only digital transformation company that got its start in Tampa Bay. Having already been in operation for more than 15 years, Blue.cloud (formerly Bluenet, founded in 2004) was one of the industry leaders in a perfect position to leap to the rescue in March of 2020.
The company has grown exponentially, adding staff and forming partnerships on a constant basis over the last year and change. Fortune 500 clients have practically been lined up at the digital door, and the numbers Blue.cloud recently reported bear out the tremendous prosperity for one of Tampa Bay’s fastest-growing businesses.
Just from January 31, 2020 to March 31, 2020, Blue.cloud’s run rate grew from $5.8 million to $7.5 million. And that was before industries realized the digital transition was going to be a permanent one.
From March 31, 2020 to a year later, that run rate had grown more than 200%, topping $20 million. One month later, at the end of Q2, Blue.cloud reported that their run rate had reached $23.5 million. In only 15 months, the company had grown by more than 400%.
In the time since, Blue.cloud’s successes have only continued to pile up. Just this week, NYC-based private equity firm Hudson Hill Capital – known for investing in rapidly growing, mid-market tech companies – contributed a majority equity investment and enterprise valuation of $100 million+. Hudson Hill Capital cited Blue.cloud’s “impressive list of next-generation technology partners” and “track record of attracting and retaining experienced IT talent” as demonstrated market success.
Naturally, that’s a lot to handle in a hurry for any company, and leadership credits strong hires (the team headcount has more than doubled) and strategic partnerships for helping the company maintain the growth seamlessly. Blue.cloud has said they feel fortunate to be part of an industry that was rapidly adding jobs and bringing more and more people (and business) to the area in a time when many industries were going through furloughs or layoffs.
As the global economy has started to recover, services like Blue.cloud have become necessities for start-ups, mid-market companies, and Fortune 500 enterprises alike. In short, Blue.cloud provides digital strategy, data engineering and analytics, digital services, and cloud operation services, helping companies form systems and establish digital platforms.
“Cloud-based solutions” can sound a little buzzwordy, but in the new era of business, it’s one of the most important parts of keeping a company relevant. Industry jargon aside, a reflection upon the changes the world has seen makes it easy to see why these tools are so necessary for businesses to not only have, but master.
Co-founder and co-CEO Kerem Koca helped lead the transition from Bluenet to Blue.cloud, doing so because of his conviction that it was the direction global business was heading. And that was in early 2020, before the pandemic hit.
“At that time, cloud adoption was at 20 percent, and I believed we’d move to around 80 percent in just five years,” he said. “We were on the brink of a period of massive acceleration, leading a once-in-an-era re-platforming of our global business.”
If five years seemed ambitious at the time, the estimate turned out to be a surprisingly conservative one, as the last 15 months have shown.
“Cloud is the most disruptive and value-creating technology of our time,” Koca continued. “It’s now a top priority for every business. Companies can no longer sit on the sidelines when it comes to cloud transformations.”
Thanks to Koca and the company’s vision, Blue.cloud is at the forefront of the movement.
As the team has grown globally over the last year, the company’s recognition and achievements have seen corresponding milestones, including several key partnerships. In a recent release, Blue.cloud tallied a long list of successes that are further driving growth quarter-after-quarter.
• Run rate hit approximately $23.5 million at the end of Q2, compared to approximately $7.5 million for the same period in 2020 — a 200%+ increase year-over-year.
• Forged a partnership with DataRobot to expand the AI capabilities of its platform and deliver predictive business insights to clients.
• Completed Snowflake’s Partner Development Program, achieving “Select” tier services partner status in May, further strengthening the sales and delivery teams’ depth of knowledge and awareness of upcoming features for Snowflake.
• Achieved Gold Certified Partner status with Microsoft’s Azure Service Partners program.
• Blue.cloud is seeing increasing demand from key vertical sectors including financial services.
“As we anticipated, the escalating cloud re-platformization led to unprecedented Q2 growth for Blue.cloud,” Koca said. “Our entire company is focused on flawlessly serving our clients, and we’re continuing to build the strongest, most capable team in the industry, which is a key component of what makes us a strong company.” Blue.cloud plans to ramp up hiring for key positions through the rest of the year.
As for what comes next, the future for this Tampa-based business is seemingly as bright as the weather the region is famous for. And with companies like Blue.cloud leading the way for the local tech industry, sunshine isn’t the only thing garnering global attention for Tampa Bay.