SoftLayer’s Story: From Startup to Global Presence

In less than eight years, Softlayers founders took it from a living room startup to a $500 million global competitor. Sean Charnock and Mike Jones shared their story at the TeXchange DFW dinner to an audience of entrepreneurs and startup advocates.

In 2005, 12 executives from The Planet Internet Services decided to try something new and created the cloud service provider SoftLayer. Initially working without salaries, there were no managers and they each learned each others jobs, contributing to the open culture and flexible nature of the company.

SoftLayer’s biggest challenge was finding funding. The founders’ strategy was simple: accumulate debt and avoid private equity. In 2010 a lawsuit against the Softlayer executives filed by The Planet ended in a merger, adding 660 employees to SoftLayer.  The goal was to grow the company to a worldwide presence in 10 to 15 years. This year IBM acquired  Softlayer for $2 billion.

Source: Dallas Business Journal, Sept 13, 2013.

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