MARÍA ÁNGELES GUZMÁN/ MARTHA MILLS
The Sevillian business Bitnami, a creator of technological software that is world-renowned for its quality of ‘cloud-computing’, announced on May 15 that they had been acquired by the multinational North American company VMWare. The news displays the international expansion of Bitnami, a company that has offices in Seville and San Francisco and supports the ‘Cloud’ for users of Microsoft, Google, Amazon, or Oracle. Since Bitnami assures that the company will continue to develop their own catalog of applications, uniting forces with VMWare could multiply the depth and scope of Bitnami’s original offerings.
In today’s workplace, applications are the fundamental pillars of modern companies. Developing applications in a quick, efficient and client-centered way, helps organizations to differentiate their markets and gain a competitive advantage. Bitnami provides this by offering the most recently validated and secured application packages, several of which are open-source ISVs. The ISVs allow the developers to speed up the processes when creating new applications and services in the ‘Cloud’. Bitnami’s strong community of developers has taken advantage of its robust catalog to create millions of company applications. “Additionally, we will continue to invest in Bitnami’s collection of products and projects, as well as help our clients to create and unfold applications in a simpler, faster way”, said VMWare.
VMWare was not the only company interested in the work Bitnami performed–several other companies tried to acquire Bitnami as well. “During the final years, various technological companies from North America important in the development of business through ‘Cloud’ had been conversing with us in order to consider the acquisition of Bitnami, but no agreement was reached,” said Daniel López, CEO of Bitnami, to Sevilla World in regards to the acquisition. He assures, however, that the decision to form part of the giant VMWare is very satisfactory: “The integration in VMWare is very complimentary for both parts, because all companies, in their operations, need to work in ‘cloud’,” said López. “And, in order to implement whichever of the systems or tools of that technological field, they need the help of a company like VMWare that can guarantee neutrality.»
Through this acquisition, VMWare not only acquired a top software developer and ‘Cloud’ expert, but also Bitnami’s impressive clientele. “This company searches to have the best technology, and that is why they have been set on Bitnami,” said López. “They were our clients, they see that our clients are companies that are technological leaders like Amazon, Google, Oracle, etc, and they have found that in a specific facet of the ‘cloud’ we are the best technological creators in the world.”
López expects that the acquisition will have many benefits for both Bitnami and VMWare. “The development of Bitnami’s business will benefit them very much in that, from now on, we will have direct access to a multitude of large companies in the commercial and industrial sectors, such as banking, insurance, aeronautics, energy, etc. that are now clients of other services of VMWare, a multinational company with 23,000 workers”, said López.
VMWare confirms that the union with Bitnami allows them to accelerate the development of applications by offering simpler ways to take advantage of the applications with open-source software. It also allows them to release the developers so that they can focus on creating different capabilities instead of having to worry about deployment and infrastructure.
The negotiations for the acquisition have taken place throughout the last few months in both San Francisco and Seville. VMWare travelled to Seville at the beginning of April to familiarize themselves with the technology development team (observe what they do and how they work).
“It was very satisfying to advance and culminate the agreement,” Daniel López said. “For me it is a great satisfaction that they invested in Bitnami not because we are a company of services, but rather because we have created a technological product that is a world-leader.”
Bitnami currently has 76 people in staff, 50% of which work in their headquarters in Seville. The San Francisco headquarters is where they concentrate their finance and management team, while the Seville headquarters is where most of the technological development team works. Additionally, there are Bitnami professionals working in Poland, India, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and Italy.
All of the workers benefit economically
“All of the people currently working in the company benefit from this agreement, and not only those of us in the management committee,” said Bitnami. “Because since we founded and established this company, in addition to paying good salaries, all the people who joined as workers are also shareholders, by way of ‘stock options’, and, if the company was bought, as it has been, everyone receives extra income. Because if the company grows, it is by the way of the work of the entire team.” Hence, members of the Bitnami family share in their success together, currently through constant growth.
“This consolidation of Bitnami reinforces me on the correctness of the decision I made in Seville more than 10 years ago, when I decided to take a risk and concentrate my efforts on creating a technology that was the best possible and most advanced possible at the world level, but always keeping in check the point of view of the clients in order to meet their needs,” López said. “They were years in which you had doubts, because we barely had customers, we had a bad time and in my environment someone always appeared that branded me an idiot for not dedicating myself to asking for subsidies, not focusing myself on being a provider of public sector software even if it was the only client, but did not need such a degree of innovation». “All these people thought that it was more comfortable and more profitable to build companies around the public administration,” said López. “As time passed, these strategies have proven totally erroneous.”
Sevilla World highlights the importance of Bitnami
Since the birth of Sevilla World in 2016, Bitnami has been one of the Sevillian companies whose importance in the computer innovation sector we have highlighted as an example to follow.
Without going much further, the public presentation of the Sevilla World project, directed by Juan Luis Pavón, took place in the Seville headquarters of Bitnami, which ceded its offices for the event and whose COO Iñaki Izaola accompanied the director of Sevilla World to the podium to speak about the company.
Izaola described how founder Daniel López Ridruejo, birthed and grew this free software company in the Sevillian neighborhood of Bami, decided to create the company when he was in the final stretch of his university studies, after he discovered the dynamism of young people in the Silicon Valley. During the event, which congregated representatives of internationalized Sevilla (scientists, entrepreneurs, professionals, artists, creators of ONGs, …), Izaola also mentioned the importance of a project like Sevilla World to give visibility to companies that represent the new era of Sevillian economy, sharing in real time in the challenges and opportunities of the world today.
The agreement signed with Satya Nadella, current CEO of Microsoft
In an interview done by Juan Jesús Velasco for ‘Xataka’, Daniel López gave a detailed description of how he began his professional career. After finishing his study of telecommunications engineering at the University of Seville, López began to work in the technology consulting sector. Eventually, he came to the conclusion that this was not for him. López then went to work in the United States, where he stayed for 4 years. In 2003, he returned to Seville to begin his project–an application installer that would be baptized as Bitrock and whose development would take place in his living room between 2003 and 2005.
This product was different to what was on the market in that it supported Linux and Mac. “Everything started in a discrete manner but, a force to iterate, we began to unfold and grow around 20-25% every year and, in fact, continue to grow in ‘auto-pilot’ although we understand decline because each time less desk software was used,” López said.
In 2005, he created the company in the United States, but with no physical headquarters. His partner, Erica Brescia, moved to Seville to work from here. In 2007, the installer was already selling to companies like Intel and Motorola, and to others that worked in the development of open-source applications. The name Bitnami was created when they decided to take the installer to free software projects that didn’t have a company behind them. Additionally, they were one of the first to create virtual machines for Amazon.
That which started as a hobby began to grow exponentially; however, it did not generate income. Service should be paid by ‘Cloud’ venders. One of the biggest jumps succeeded in 2012 when they presented their project to Satya Nadella, the person responsible for the services in Microsoft’s ‘Cloud’. The current CEO of the computer giant liked the proposal and signed the agreement that converted them into partners.