Spotlight on Innovation: GorillaStack

Key points at a glance:

  • GorillaStack was founded by Elliott Spira and Oliver Berger (pictured above)
  • Initially beginning as a secondary tool to support another venture, early validation of the idea showed great potential - it was after this point the original venture was dropped and GorillaStack born
  • Automation is a key driver of GorillaStack's growth and to continue to advance and invest in this capability, the R&D Tax Incentive remains a high priority on Oliver's to-do list, annually

In the beginning

Co-founder of Netflix, Marc Randolph, says that the best way to create your startup idea is to look to the things you do or work with everyday and seek out challenges or flaws in them.

Australian based Amazon Web Services (AWS) optimisation tool, GorillaStack, began from a core problem the co-founders experienced while working on another startup. Today, their company is a growing provider of workflow and cost optimisation services for AWS & Public Cloud users.

Entrepreneurially minded Elliot Spira had a vision to create a payments platform. While on this journey, he also began developing a tool to keep AWS costs down inside the new venture.

Cloud optimisation was a topic Elliot and his brother in law, now business partner, Oliver Berger, discussed in detail. After sometime, Oliver joined Elliot to grow the secondary product as a business, the original payment venture was disregarded and AWS optimisation tool selected as the priority.

Since inception, GorillaStack has grown to work with hundreds of Australian companies, win awards such as Best Startup 2018 at the ARN awards and be able to boast being one of only six companies, globally, with the AWS Cloud Management Tool Cost Optimisation Competency. To maintain their competitive edge the team engage in continual research and development to enhance and grow their offering and as a result are a regular customer of Nifty Grants.

Uncovering the problem

The use of the public cloud is growing in popularity. Companies of all sizes choose the public cloud over private as it lessens the need for investment and maintenances of their own on-premises resources, allows for scale to meet workload demand and reduces waste of resources on a pay-for-use premise.

Amazon Web Services is one of the most common public cloud platforms. While the points above make it a more appealing option than the private cloud for many companies, it is designed to be elastic. This means it’s not necessarily ideal for smaller companies or those who wish to optimise and pay for usage only.

While building the cloud based payments platform venture, Elliott and Oliver came to experience the challenges of public cloud cost optimisation first hand. With frustration, came inspiration - to create a tool that would shake up their challenges - and so GorillaStack was born.

Oliver and Elliott shared the solution to the problems they had been experiencing while building the payments platform with the local startup and cloud communities. The solution they had built to combat unnecessary and excessive cloud service fees, would do the same for many other AWS users too.

From strength to strength

When GorillaStack gained interest from their first big customer, a large media company, they knew they were really onto something. From here they expanded, building a team of 12 to service companies of all sizes from startups to large corporates, even government departments.

For Oliver and Elliott, this was the holy grail that startups seek - product / market fit. They realised that any business using the cloud could benefit from optimising their use and processes. For example, a large organisation operating with a complex cloud environment would be able to reign in their use and make it meaningful for their technology. And, as Oliver and Elliott knew from experience, for a startup, every dollar is important, as is security; GorillaStack provides a cost effective solution with high security.

The future opportunity

From a young age, we’re taught to turn off the light as we leave a room, to conserve energy and save money. Similarly, GorillaStack seeks to find cost efficiencies for businesses through the optimisation of their cloud implementations.

Elliott and Oliver are excited about the future of their company - not only is the cloud industry worth hundreds of billions of dollars but the public cloud community is large and enthusiastic. Oliver is personally keen to see how GorillaStack can make meaningful and impactful differences for organisations who use the cloud.

R&D Tax Incentive

Automation is a key driver for the growth of GorillaStack’s technical capability and customer value. The goal is to work with more services to be able to automate and optimise even more processes, helping a broader spectrum of companies control how their cloud environment functions.

To get to where they are today and to bring the growth vision to life, ‘Lodge R&D Tax Incentive claim’ has been a standing item on Oliver’s annual to-do list.

For the past two years, Oliver has enlisted the Nifty Grants team to help claim the R&D Tax Incentive and establish cash flow planning for the coming year. For example, if there’s a need to hire new engineering talent, Oliver is in a position to forecast and budget, knowing he’ll expect a refund early in the financial year.

Oliver enjoys using Nifty Grants to complete GorillaStack’s annual R&D Tax Incentive claim as it pairs the best components of an online tech focussed startup with the trust and expertise of a specialist R&D consultancy.

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