November 15, 2017

Aiven helps lift your business to the cloud

After landing one million US dollars in funding back in September, this Finnish company is on cloud nine.
After landing one million US dollars in funding back in September, this Finnish company is on cloud nine.
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This Finnish company aims to take care of its clients’ online database needs, taking the hassle out of software infrastructure management.

When you think about it, databases pretty much rule the world today. Practically every modern online service relies on a database, and companies are frantically seeking ways to one-up their competitors by better exploiting their datasets.

But for smaller firms, with little resources to invest in their own online database service, it can be a challenge to make a splash in this brave new world.

Enter Aiven. The company’s value proposition is straightforward: it promises to handle its client companies’ cloud database needs, relieving them from the burden of maintaining their own database infrastructure and allowing them to focus on developing and building their own products.

What distinguishes Aiven from other cloud service providers is its focus on open-source database products. This means that the big cloud infrastructure suppliers such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft are both Aiven’s partners and competitors.

“Their services overlap with ours, but we also complement them,“ says Aiven CEO Oskari Saarenmaa. “Our clients get access to the traditional products the big players offer. But we also offer solutions that go beyond their environments.”

Benefits of open source

Compared to these proprietary systems, Saarenmaa says that open-source solutions offer certain advantages. Firstly, clients can easily migrate from one cloud service provider to another, or use two simultaneously. Secondly, the rate of innovation is high in the open-source area, as companies around the world contribute to creating and refining solutions. Thirdly, as open-source solutions are typically used in development environments, clients are often already familiar with them, making the process of moving to the cloud simple.

You can be playful even while doing things properly.

In the beginning, the company anticipated that especially small tech firms would be interested in its services, but its clientele has turned out to be much more varied. Aiven’s client companies range from large industrial firms to start-ups, and its solutions are used for a variety of services, from restaurant booking systems and ticketing services to retail sales optimisation and logistics operations.

“It’s interesting that a large part of our client base are not really in the software business at all, but manufacture physical end products,” Saarenmaa says. “For these companies their main focus is on developing their own products, so rather than spending resources on their own database solutions, our services help sort out the infrastructure side of things.”

Taking the cloud to the US

Launching its first products in the beginning of 2016, Aiven was founded by a group of former F-Secure employees with background in database management and information security. The firm completed its first funding round this summer, securing a total of one million US dollars. This will help the young company accelerate its growth, boost its sales and marketing efforts as well as helping in product development.

The main project in the near future for the company is opening an office in the US: as over half of the its client companies are based in the country, Aiven wants to have a presence there to better serve its US-based customers.

While most cloud service providers settle for a rather abstract visual identity, Aiven’s logo – a friendly red crab – stands out from the crowd.

“We couldn’t decide between the different options, so in the end I asked my daughter, who was three at the time, to choose her favourite,” Saarenmaa says. “But the logo does feel appropriate for us: it shows that we do things a bit differently, and that you can be playful even while doing things properly.”

The company's playful approach is seeing it heading Stateside in the near future.

The company’s playful approach is tipped to head Stateside in the near future.

Aiven

Text: Teemu Henrikkson

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