Where cloud management is going next • TechCrunch

“There’s a big wave of innovation in managing cloud costs,” Team8 co-founder and managing partner Liran Grinberg told TechCrunch as part of our latest cloud investor survey.

Having noticed tailwinds for the wave of B2B startups that offer cloud cost-optimization solutions, and cloud management more broadly, we were curious to know where VCs thought the space was headed — and the answers we heard show promise.

Indeed, the tailwinds we are referring to aren’t limited to the current macroeconomic climate. The need to better manage cloud spend is undoubtedly fueled by the downturn, which makes everyone more cost-conscious. But, as we will explore, innovation in this field is also a corollary to broader trends, such as the rise of product-led growth among B2B SaaS companies, which have become both practitioners and consumers of usage-based pricing.

There are also reasons to think that we haven’t seen all of it yet. “We continue to see tremendous opportunity in the cloud management space given how early we are in the cloud adoption journey,” Battery Ventures venture investor Danel Dayan said. So what might be next? Let’s dive in.

Beyond cost optimization

The first wave of cloud optimization solutions did the obvious: help companies track and lower their cloud spend. Per Team8’s Grinberg: “The first generation of cloud cost management (represented by Cloudability, CloudHealth) helped provide visibility and clarity on the spend on AWS, Azure and GCP. Meanwhile, cloud cost-optimization tools (represented by Spot, Granulate) allowed for tactical changes to lower costs.”

Consolidation followed, TechCrunch’s Kyle Wiggers noted, “as incumbents in adjacent sectors saw the opportunities presented by cloud cost optimization. Microsoft in 2017 acquired Cloudyn [ … ]. Then, in 2019, Apptio snatched up [ … ] Cloudability, while VMware and NetApp bought CloudHealth and Spot (formerly Spotinst), respectively, within the span of a few years.” And this April, Intel bought Granulate for $650 million.

As time and mergers went by, it became clear that there was more than startups in this space could do for their customers. First and foremost, cloud teams required more than cost optimization — they needed cloud management.