Cloud computing companies are remaking the technology landscape of the Tri-Counties and creating a “fertile” environment for entrepreneurs and computer scientists.
That was the message serial entrepreneur and investor Woody Rollins brought to about 150 area executives on Nov. 6 as California Lutheran University hosted the first Santa Barbara version of its successful Corporate Leaders Breakfast series.
Thanks in part to cloud companies such as RightScale, Eucalyptus Systems and AppFolio, “technology is alive and fertile in the area,” said Rollins, whose latest venture, AppScale, has received an initial round of angel investment. AppScale made its public debut at the UC Santa Barbara Technology Management Program’s annual business plan competition last spring.
Rollins said the success of cloud computing firms has enabled companies along the Highway 101 corridor to recruit engineers and software designers from Silicon Valley. He encouraged recent graduates of UCSB, California Lutheran and others to remain in the Tri-Counties. “Software engineers want to work on thorny computer services problems,” he said, adding that one recent recruit took a pay cut to leave a secure job at Google for an opportunity on the South Coast.
In response to a question from the Business Times, Rollins, who moved to Santa Barbara eight years ago, acknowledged that while the cloud has sparked the latest generation of software companies, established South Coast software firms such as QAD, Yardi Systems and Green Hills have tremendous opportunities in the explosion of software and software-as-a-service applications. The degree of success, he said, depends on “how agile they are, how quickly they adapt their architecture.”
Founded 10 ago, the CLU Corporate Leaders Breakfast is held quarterly and focuses on topics of interest to business professionals. The Nov. 6 event was held at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort.