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CloudEnablers Sales VP Tony Rylands, CEO Ezhilarasan Natarajan, and Chief Revenue Officer Mike Stipe at the GeekWire Cloud Tech Summit.

As the tools needed to run a business increasingly shift to the cloud, companies often find themselves managing a wide-range of products, each on its own update schedule, with its own set of quirks.

Managing all of those cloud-based services can be inefficient without a standardized system. In 2014, Ezhilarasan Natarajan and his three co-founders decided to build that system.

They began working on CoreStack, a software prototype that allowed users to manage different cloud platforms and tools in one place. After successful beta testing with customers, they decided to launch CloudEnablers in 2016 to bring the product to market.

“Beta customers gave a big thumbs up and now we are accelerating to make this offering available for everyone,” said Natarajan, who serves as CEO. CloudEnablers is based in Bellevue, Wash. and has grown to 43 employees since launching in 2016. Early customers include companies like Sony Music, Ericsson, and Brocade.

We caught up with Natarajan for this Startup Spotlight a regular GeekWire feature. Continue reading for his answers to our questionnaire.

CloudEnablers CEO Ezhilarasan Natarajan. (CloudEnablers Photo)

Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “CloudEnablers is helping companies dramatically cut the cost of managing cloud infrastructure and increase IT team’s productivity with automation and standardization.”

Inspiration hit us when: “The founding team believed in making the technology easy to consume and manage. Cloud was and is continuing to change the way services are delivered. But it has not been easy for companies to adopt and use the cloud. The market was offering technology tools that provide point solutions. There was a need for an integrated platform that would converge technology and tools to deliver business values and support adoption of newer technology. CoreStack was born.”

VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “We bootstrapped initially to build the technology that enables our product in delivering the business benefit that we intended to do. We are now gaining enormous traction and are focusing on strategic partnership. We will be partnering with leading VCs to extend our ability to serve our customers.”

Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “Cloud as Code.”

The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Not to get caught in a web of opportunity that does not align with your journey.”

The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “Can’t say that we have not made any mistake so far. Classic mistakes like building loads of features without much worrying about user experience. This has given us loads of learning and helped us make course corrections.”

Would you rather have Gates, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “It’s Bezos all the way. Sheer customer focus and building a business that can scale. Out of the many quotes, there is one that still lingers, ‘One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out.'”

Our favorite team-building activity is: “Exploring microbreweries in the neighborhood.”

The biggest thing we look for when hiring is: “Team player, curiosity, dedication, and self-motivation will mark you as one of us.”

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “To prove what you have built is valuable, it should first work and people should use it.”

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