Revolutionising cloud migrations worldwide by end-to-end automation. The result - 6-10x faster, 3-10x cheaper, simple and secure migrations vs managed migration services. Migrations were expensive and painful. Not anymore.
A fully working v.1 of the platform was released earlier this year which automatically migrates Linux servers to AWS and looks attractive (unlike most MVPs out there). Windows migration will be released in a few weeks (Windows Server 2012 R2 and later). Our growth focus is on channel partnerships. We have a growing partnership with AWS and Oracle, both of which are excited about our innovation. We are about to start a joint sales collaboration with the UK AWS startups teams to help them migrate companies and solve their big problem - a rising backlog of opportunities and not enough manpower to be able to cope with demand.
Besides the above, we are in the early days of partnering with Microsoft and Google and are developing good partnerships with multiple MSPs, SIs and ISVs and expect opportunities from them soon. They all value the migration innovation and capabilities we bring that enables them to offer migrations services to their customers. Migrating to the cloud will see a huge rise going forward and IT leaders have been stressing its importance for all during the current COVID crisis.
We are alumni of the UK Government's Global Entrepreneur Programme, bringing the best global tech startups to the UK as a hub for accelerating growth. We are receiving a lot of interest from many early-stage VCs in London as well as business angels focusing on tech.
The global cloud migration services market is huge and growing fast, expected to reach $448.3B by 2025. Public research data is based on enterprise migrations as virtually all migrations are large enterprises due to the high costs involved. Our solution is the first viable solution globally for SMEs which means tens of millions of companies globally can benefit. To us, this means that the total potential market by 2025 could be worth over $1T.
Our focus is on leveraging channel partnerships - the big clouds, MSPs, ISVs, SIs and even large migration consultancies. Our platform is valuable to them as it can accelerate project delivery, reduce cost and eliminate human dependency. Our focus is on selecting partners who have a strong position in their sector or vertical so that we can give them a competitive advantage.
We will, of course, server end customers as well from startups to large enterprises worldwide across all market sectors. The primary focus is on established SMEs - 5+ years of operations, 50+ staff are the main target as they have infrastructure complexity and are struggling the most to migrate to the cloud - cannot do it themselves but cannot afford the fees of managed migration consultancies. Beyond 300 staff, we are entering enterprise-scale which is our second priority.
In terms of sector segmentation, the priority focus is on sectors that are lagging behind in cloud adoption - energy and utilities, hospitality, travel, manufacturing and more. However, we are sector-agnostic which gives us a unique advantage.
The key people in the target customers are IT Directors/CIOs though Finance Directors/CFOs are also a focus because they are currently under a lot of pressure to balance budgets and reduce costs - something that moving the cloud can make a big positive impact on.
Problem or Opportunity
Cloud migration is part of digital transformation which is essential for all companies. Cloud computing is growing rapidly, however, migrations are currently manual, complex, risky and very expensive. Large managed providers, like Accenture, Deloitte and DXC, are extremely expensive and unaffordable for most SMEs, creating a huge barrier to cloud adoption. For large enterprises, migration projects are long and painful with regular delays and issues, usually caused by human error.
Globally, one of the biggest challenges in cloud adoption is the lack of capable migration architects and engineers with experience. Scalable solutions that reduce human dependency in delivery are desperately needed.
Solution (product or service)
Smart Migrator (SM) is a revolutionary B2B SaaS cloud migration platform that will disrupt the huge $119B cloud migration services market (expected to rise to $448.3B by 2025). SM’s full automation will make migrations simpler, 6-10x times quicker, 3-10x cheaper - affordable to all companies. The advanced automation is driven by a very intuitive step-by-step user interface. SM is all about simplicity, efficiency and affordability. The platform is sector and territory- agnostic, instantly accessible to any company globally and very profitable (70-90% margin). It eliminates the human dependency, which is why it has really excited big clouds like AWS and Oracle.
To complement it, SM offers multiple additional value-adding services that will consistently generate revenue, including cloud infrastructure management - subscription-based and delivered from an exceptional tech hub in Eastern Europe. Smart Migrator plans to develop a fully automated cloud optimisation and management platform which will be ML-driven and will be integrated together with its migration platform.
The long term vision is for Smart Migrator to be a single smart and fully automated platform for everything cloud - advisory, migration, optimisation, management, smart switching, service integration. This is the future - automated and seamless enabling companies to get the best of all big clouds in one place and being able to easily switch to get the best opportunities while ensuring their cloud infrastructure is optimal at all times in a hands-free way that enables companies to focus on their business, not their IT.
Smart Migrator was founded by Peter Simeonov (CEO) and Chavdar Jodev (CTO). Peter is a successful entrepreneur with 16+ years’ experience and is responsible for all business development, including strategy, sales, marketing, finance, etc. Chavdar is one of the most experienced cloud migration experts in Europe with 12+ years at HPE and DXC Technology. He was the 1st migration architect in Europe at HPE/DXC and lead the development of the EMEA migration team. Jonathan Tissot (Head of Automation) is an expert in cloud architecture and migration automation with 10+ years at companies like Visa, ESW and Aurea Software. The rest of the team consists of seasoned experts in software development, DevOps automation and cloud architecture.
The global market consists of managed migration consultancies. Around 20 companies are dominating the space, including big names like Accenture, Deloitte, DXC Technology, Cognizant and more. The big clouds offer very limited migration service offering and rely on their partner networks.
There are many smaller boutique migration consultancies with wide-ranging capabilities which makes it very challenging for companies to choose - many fail in implementing migrations. Some engage independent freelancers but this can end up being as expensive as engaging a managed consultancy. The major problem globally is the shortage of skills - the big names above are really struggling to find migration architects and engineers which limits their capacity for project delivery. Smart Migrator's platform capacity is unlimited.
The large migration consultancies focus only on large enterprise projects and are seeing much greater demand than they can cope. This is a major challenge for all but the richest multinationals. They are working on automation with various degrees of success. Arguably Deloitte and Accenture are the closest to full automation. However, the proprietary tools of all big consultancies are very complex, aimed at enterprise scale customers and mostly designed for internal use. On the other hand, Smart Migrator makes the process simple and puts the customer in the driving seat - something that most companies prefer.
Advantages or differentiators
As mentioned above, Smart Migrator's platform has unlimited capacity and shows the future of migrations - fully automated. Instead of a managed team of 6-20+ migration specialists, with varying levels of capability, working on a single project for 6-12 months, 1 person can manage 10s (if not 100s) of automated migrations on our platform. This is why it's so attractive for partners. They can stop looking for expensive staff and scale their business growth.
It is very important to understand that Smart Migrator is not a migration tool. There are many good ones on the market (fr om the big clouds and 3rd party) and there is no need to build yet another. Those tools, however, are not sufficient to complete migrations. Substantial know-how is needed to know how to analyse infrastructure, plan and implement migration and make it work in the cloud afterwards. Many have tried to use only tools and fail. Smart Migrator is about using existing tools and fully automating the process from start to end (a bit like Zapier for software integration) but, critically, it automates the analysis, planning and cloud build. Besides our platform, only humans can perform this.
Smart Migrator brings acceleration and cost reduction that is unmatched by a long way. 6-10+ times faster and 3-10+ times lower cost compared to managed migration. SMEs with modest projects cannot afford $3000+ per VM that many consultancies would charge. They can afford $400-500 per VM with Smart Migrator.
We are working with one of the UK's leading patent attorneys - EIP LLP. They have already identified 3 patents to apply for, which will be a priority once fundraising is completed. Further patents are expected. The strong IP means that multiple innovative aspects of Smart Migrator will be protected globally so competitors cannot copy.
Full automation also means zero chance of human error - the main cause of migration failures. Traditionally, most migrations fail because of a human error during the assessment (discovery) process, analysing information and planning the migration. Smart Migrator has a unified step-by-step process that users follow and requires minimal information input that is automatically checked for validity. Automated analysis and migration planning are based on the substantial expertise of our team alongside industry best practices. This and much more means that Smart Migrator will put an end to the pain and suffering that many endure when migrating.
Finally, there is a big advantage in terms of security. Traditionally, in managed migration projects, the delivery partner staff are given full admin access to the customer infrastructure. Despite strict contracts, there is a big risk when many people have access to all data. There have been cases of misuse in the past. Smart Migrator is architected so that it does not connect to the customer infrastructure directly. It facilitates a connection between the current infrastructure environment and the target cloud environment, creating a secure VPN connection between the two and utilising the cloud APIs to push instructions and control the process. No sensitive data is ever collected - the only data examined is discovery data which is all about internal and external traffic, server specifications, etc. This is achieved by cloud-native tools that are installed on the customer servers. Their installation requires admin access that the user enters but credentials are stored in cache memory temporarily and never on the platform permanently - our staff have no access to data. This is a breakthrough in terms of security of cloud migrations and we are proud of our architecture that achieves it.
Wh ere manual migration intervention is needed (e.g. complex projects), we implement strict monitoring controls including industry-leading desktop monitoring and recording software with full traceability and forensic analytics. Very few of the big migration consultancies incorporate such measures.
Smart Migrator's revenue model focuses on the core automated migration platform. The cost is on a per-project basis, depending on the number of servers (virtualised or not) and the complexity of the case (whether or not it has complexities that require manual intervention). Our platform cost is estimated between £300-600 (GBP) per virtual machine/non-virtualised server. This includes full migration including building the cloud infrastructure. To compare, managed migration services by large providers typically cost $1000-3000 per VM for large projects - 1000+ servers and much more for smaller projects or complex ones (like re-platforming, legacy systems, etc.). Building cloud infrastructure is an added cost which can be as much as the migration itself in some complex cases. Smart Migrator is 3-10+ times cheaper.
We also offer cloud consultancy service aimed at SMEs. It is a daily rate of £500-800 depending on complexity and method of delivery. This aims to educate SMEs in a very simple (jargon-free) way what the cloud can do for their business specifically. It targets companies that are exploring/thinking about migrating.
We also offer cloud infrastructure management service, typically aimed at companies that migrate using our platform. It is a subscription service based on the number of virtual machines managed and the level of service and complexity. The range is £20-50/virtual machine/month which is very competitive for a top-quality service. Cloud management has serious revenue potential as the revenue in less than 2 years surpasses that from the migration itself.
In the future, we will be developing a fully automated optimisation and managed platform. At present, the service is exceptionally cost-competitive and delivered from our advanced support hub in Eastern Europe.
As already explained, the business model is focused on channel partnerships. We have already started developing our Smart Migrator Partner Network (SMPN) of select MSPs, SIs, ISVs. We are also developing partnerships with the big clouds (AWS, Microsoft, Google, Oracle) which has huge revenue-generating potential.
Our marketing and brand development strategy focuses on inbound marketing - developing thought leadership across digital channels, PR across key IT media and influencer marketing as well. Our aim is within 3 years to be a globally recognisable name.
It is way too early to discuss metrics but key ones will be sales to customer conversion rate, month-on-month growth rate, % of customers taking our cloud management service following migration and retention rate associated with that and much more.
Money will be spent on
Expanding the team and resources needed (mostly software licenses, cloud infrastructure). 70% of the budget is staff salaries and contractors. 20 is on marketing and sales and the rest on other expenses such as legal fees for patenting and contracts, accounting, consulting and more.
Smart Migrator has a very lean budget and leverages global talent at economically attractive locations. A large part of the technical team will be based in Eastern Europe (where our co-founder and CTO is based). Bulgaria and Romania have some of the best IT specialists in Europe and are economically very favourable locations - hence why big companies like HP and Oracle have huge hubs there.
This means we get exceptional talent at a value price that is 2-3x cheaper than in Western Europe. If we were building solely a UK-based team, we would need £2-2.5m funding round, instead of £1m.
Offer for investor
We are raising a £1m round at a £5m pre-money valuation. £200k soft commitment has already been received from a UK VC, so effectively we are looking for another £800k.
Given the unique innovation that is a world's first, the huge global opportunity, strong team and positive reception by key partners such as AWS and Oracle, we believe the valuation is fair. We expect sales to kick-start any moment from the big partners which could potentially mean millions of pounds of revenue within the next year. Besides, contract values can be sizeable - from £10-200k for small to mid-size companies and £200k-1m+ for large SMEs and enterprise. The fast-growth revenue potential is huge.
We are looking for investors who will also actively contribute aside from money. Bringing experience and solid contacts network is key for us. We are flexible with respect to the terms but an important point to make is that we want to see the business through to its full potential - not sell early. So, investors need to have a 7-9 years mindset as we will want to resist low acquisition offers that will inevitably come. We (and some experts) believe that we have an innovation that realistically has the potential to become a unicorn.
There are multiple risks that have been identified and mitigation actions planned. As no one has yet created a platform of such kind, there are uncertainties in creating such advanced complex automation that works. Migration cases vary a lot from one to the next which brings challenges. We are starting with lift-and-shift (block-level replication) which is how most migrations globally are delivered at present. The good news regarding the risk is also that the big clouds have a wide suite of tools and very well developed APIs that make our integration easier. We have selected an exceptional technical team of senior software developers and DevOps specialists with extensive migration experience who have the capabilities to deliver the complex automation needed.
Another considerable risk, and a question we are often asked, is what stops the big clouds of copying what we have created. There are multiple reasons why this is unlikely. Firstly, they rely on their partner networks - they don't want to manage migrations internally but leverage partners (much stronger and faster growth). Do they really want to alienate Accenture, Deloitte and the others by offering a tool that destroys their business model? We don't think so. The other element is that the big clouds are focused on developing their infrastructure and services in order to compete with the rest. This strategy is unlikely to change. Thirdly, they would rather acquire an innovative business like Smart Migrator rather than try to develop themselves - it would require not only expert DevOps and software development talent (which they have) but migration experts with considerable expertise. Believe it or not, the big clouds have very limited migration talent - that's the truth because it's not their focus.
We have no doubt that competitors will follow with different flavours of automated platforms. Because of the substantial capabilities required (both software development/DevOps and cloud migration expertise), not many have the right mix of people to make it happen. The competition will likely come from the big migration consultancies. However, their tools are complex and not for SMEs.
There are many other risks that can be specified but would make a very long list here. A current one is an uncertainty around Brexit and future relations with the EU and US. Most likely, online services companies will not be greatly affected by a 'no deal' Brexit but we have mitigation plans if otherwise.
Incubation/Acceleration programs accomplishment
Alumni of the UK Government's Global Entrepreneur Programme (run by the Department for International Trade).
3 patents have been identified by EIP LLP with further expected as well. A global WIPO application will be made to reserve the right to apply for individual territories. This will be done as soon as fundraising is completed and the company has funds.