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Wayne Morris, previously a Microsoft Dynamics VP, has been hired as Skytap’s new chief marketing officer. (Skytap Photo)

Enterprise cloud company Skytap has hired a former Microsoft vice president, Wayne Morris, as its new chief marketing officer in an effort to further boost its growth in the market for running legacy business applications in the cloud.

The Seattle-based company, originally founded in 2006 as a University of Washington spinoff, employs about 160 people and has raised $65 million in total funding. Skytap cites Airbnb, Fiserv and NBC Universal among hundreds of customers that use its cloud to run applications that would have otherwise remained in on-premises data centers.

“When you think about the amount of enterprise applications that have been built up over the last several years, or even longer, and the amount of money that’s been put in that, these are the core things that are running the business, that people depend on,” Morris said. “Being able to facilitate companies to take those to the cloud, utilize cloud technologies and then modernize them, I think that’s a huge market opportunity.”

Morris was previously corporate vice president in charge of marketing for the Microsoft Dynamics business applications division. His past experience includes roles as CEO of the publicly traded Citect industrial automation software vendor in Australia and of the myDIALS software-as-a-service startup in Colorado. He was also chief marketing officer at BMC Software during a period of rapid growth at the IT software solutions company.

Skytap CEO Thor Culverhouse. (Skytap Photo)

Without providing specific figures, privately held Skytap says sales have quadrupled from 2013 to 2016, and usage of its service has grown to nearly 16.5 million virtual machines. In an interview, CEO Thor Culverhouse said he believes the company is on track for metrics worthy of an initial public offering in about 24 months.

He said the growth necessary to reach that milestone “is very attainable during that time.”

Culverhouse said the company is seeing growth in a variety of sectors, explaining that Skytap solves “a very ubiquitous problem,” affecting companies in many industries. “It’s really across the board, and that’s one of the reasons why I like this play,” he said. Even in verticals such as healthcare and financial services, where security concerns have made companies slower to adopt cloud technology, the shift to the cloud is now taking place, he said.

Skytap has its own data centers and also partners with IBM to run in its SoftLayer data centers. That gives Skytap a combined footprint of nine data centers globally, with the potential for quick expansion to new regions depending on a specific customer’s needs, Culverhouse said.

Applications being shifted to Skytap include Java and .NET apps that were originally designed for traditional data centers, which would require significant refactoring to work in public clouds such as AWS, Azure or Google Cloud, Culverhouse said. Skytap’s cloud is designed to accommodate those apps without needing to rebuild them.

“If you look at where AWS, Azure and all the rest are winning business, it’s really around net-new application development — less so on refactoring and rebuilding applications to live in their environment,” he said.

Investors in Skytap have included Insight Venture Partners, OpenView Venture Partners, Ignition Partners, Madrona Venture Group, and Washington Research Foundation. The company’s headquarters are in downtown Seattle, and it has an office in London, as well.

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