While the past fifteen years of the cloud transition has produced some large and likely enduring companies, today we are seeing new companies that are not part of the cloud transition or a hybrid cloud generation. They aren’t even cloud-first– they are cloud only. What does this mean? Founders and companies built for cloud only are not trying to serve legacy and cloud environments. They are cloud native and cloud only. They are built and architected from the first lines of code to take advantage of cloud compute, storage, and networking, in the same way that software written in the 1990s was assumed to be running on Windows or Solaris. Like the app-based companies that would never have been conceived without the smartphone, the entire architecture of this new breed of cloud-only companies assumes certain capabilities in order to exist. Likewise, as the cloud transition opened up new opportunities for businesses and business models, the success of those companies has created another avenue for innovation. GSuite, Microsoft Office and the like are working alongside cloud-only productivity and collaboration tools from companies like Asana, Figma and Coda. Founded during the height of the cloud transition, these latter companies understood where the market was headed, and thus built for the cloud-only future.
I was a little cagey about pushing a “research” article from a VC firm because these essays serve to have a “sounding board” and “predict and shape trends” in the market. That’s what these VC firms do- market themselves.
However, this write up was interesting in the context to understand how the “history” developed and why we are hearing about the cloud only paradigms.