JumpCloud Names Colorado Startup Veteran Rajat Bhargava Its New CEO

[Corrected 1/15/14, 9:19 am. See below.] JumpCloud, a Boulder, CO-based startup trying to capitalize on the IT industry’s “DevOps” trend, announced Monday it has appointed a new CEO. Rajat Bhargava, a veteran of Colorado’s startup scene and one of JumpCloud’s co-founders, is taking the reins.

JumpCloud launched in September and is developing cloud-based software that allows users to automatically manage servers and control user access, install patches, monitor security, and handle compliance tasks.

The company is trying to capture an untapped market for server management that looks set to expand because of the DevOps movement, Bhargava said.

DevOps is still new enough it lacks an accepted definition; the most common description is the integration of software development with infrastructure operations so that software is delivered and deployed faster. So far, it seems to be one of those ideas that advocates believe to be profoundly important, and that skeptics view as hype and a buzzword for something tech companies already do.

Bhargava and JumpCloud are betting it’s the former, and that it will become increasingly important as IT staffs have to adapt to the impact of agile software development practices. As the development guys crank out more and more incremental updates, the operations teams will have to keep servers up-to-date and running and help spot bugs, and the shorter cycles will change the face of IT, the argument goes.

“DevOps is going to be very, very significant. All the smaller companies are gravitating to it very quickly, and I think the large organizations, because it is a culture shift, you’re not going to see it just happen over night,” Bhargava said. “It’s going to take time, but I think you’ll see people moving toward that, because the benefits are so significant.”

That bodes well for startups nimble enough to jump in and help customers adapt, he said. It also suggests there will soon be competition to address the needs of enterprise customers.

“There are going to be a lot of companies like JumpCloud that will take advantage of that,” he said.

Notable players already in DevOps include Chef, which earlier this month announced it had raised a new $32 million round and a total of $63 million to date, and Puppet. Both companies help users automate the configuration of servers and the deployment of applications on them.

JumpCloud works alongside Chef and Puppet and, according to Bhargava, automates server management functions they do not.

“You’ve got some really big companies do well, that are focused on different portions (of the DevOps cycle.) One of the portions that no one’s focused on is management.”

Bhargava, who is also JumpCloud’s chairman, is a veteran of the Colorado tech scene. Until this spring, he was chairman and CEO of StillSecure, a Colorado network security and managed hosting services company he founded. That company was sold in two parts, with SilverSky buying the managed services division for an undisclosed price and an undisclosed buyer acquiring the security division.

Bhargava also is co-founder of Yesware, a Boston-based startup that specializes in “e-mail for salespeople,” and co-founder and chairman of Boulder-based MobileDay, which is developing an application that automates the conference call process for individuals and corporations seeking the cheapest calling service.

Bhargava replaces former JumpCloud CEO and co-founder David Campbell. JumpCloud said Campbell remains a shareholder and adviser. Campbell could not be reached for comment.

The company’s other founders are chief technology officer KC Berg and vice president of engineering Topher Marie. [An earlier version of this story misspelled Marie’s name.]

JumpCloud also announced it is moving into a larger office in downtown Boulder as it plans to adds employees. Its current staff is about a dozen people, and it includes a good number of onetime StillSecure executives.

The company said it has signed up hundreds of clients since debuting in September at the Techcrunch Disrupt conference. By that point, the company had already been in private beta testing with more than 20 Colorado companies.

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