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Computenext founder and CEO Sundar Kannan.
Computenext founder and CEO Sundar Kannan.

All the way back in October 2011, Sundar Kannan stood in a basement of the Techstars Seattle headquarters and spent one minute pitching an idea for his new company, Computenext.

The startup didn’t have much to show back then, but fast forward to today and the progress is impressive. With a team of 12 based in Bellevue and more than 50 in India, Computenext just raised $4 million of a $10 million round with plans to grow quickly and rapidly in 2014.

Kannan, who formerly worked on the Windows Azure team at Microsoft, describes the company as an “Expedia for cloud computing.” At its core, Computenext is an online brokerage firm that hosts a marketplace for businesses who are both building and seeking an array of cloud services. Computenext, which also offers its own cloud solutions for specific verticals, makes money by taking a small cut from every transaction.

computenext“It’s what we call an end-to-end marketplace,” Kannan said. “You can access our site with a single sign-on, buy resources from any provider, procure it, provision it, pay for it and bill it as well.”

The company has been in stealth mode for the past three-and-a-half years, taking time to attract cloud service providers and to build out the back-end of the marketplace itself.

Now, though, Computenext is ready to turn on the marketing engines with a full-fledged product. What excites Kannan the most, though, is an unexpected business opportunity for the company.

While creating its own marketplace was the original plan all along, Kannan is now soliciting tons of offers from big-name companies who want Computenext to build them their own cloud marketplaces. For example, a data center company like Equinix has a website that Kannan describes as only a “directory service.” He sees an opportunity for Computenext to help companies like Equinix and other cloud service providers create their own end-to-end marketplaces.

“Imagine if Equinix launched a transactional marketplace, where you could not only come and search for something within the ecosystem, but also procure and provision,” he said.

Computenext has quite a bit of competition, but Kannan said most others do not have the end-to-end marketplace capability.

“We know exactly how to connect the dots, especially in the back end,” Kannan said.

The $4 million in fresh funding is part of a $10 million round the company is raising to help build out the sales team and double the headcount in Bellevue. Total funding for Computenext now stands at $8 million, all of which has come from angel investors around the world.

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