Penn students and faculty have raised thousands to help them create a better cloud.
In late March, the Penn faculty startup and Penn Center for Innovation spinout company Gencore Systems secured $100,000 from Philadelphia’s StartUp PHL fund. The investment from the angel fund, run by First Round Capital’s Josh Kopelman, is part of a larger fundraising initiative co-founder and Penn Computer and Information Science professor Boon Thau Loo intends to funnel into product development engineering.
Gencore’s system was developed from research based on string processing technology, which the team applied to application monitoring in the cloud — a group of remote servers that provide for centralized data storage. In essence, the product raises alerts and records every instance that it detects an issue when someone is running an application in the cloud.
Gencore Systems, which was made possible though a $180,000 grant awarded by the National Science Foundation back in January 2014, is the first startup to emerge from Penn’s Computer Science Department. The product, now in pilot mode, is already being used by several companies in the U.S., Europe and India, including a “prominent West Coast publishing company” which Loo could not disclose.
“Early reaction and product evaluation have been positive,” Loo said. “Our plan in the next few months is to solidify our early customers into long term customers.”
Product co-founders Loo and Harjot Gill — a former doctorate student who left Penn to work on the project full-time — insist that even though research and correspondence between the two had been ongoing since as early as 2008, “the idea [for the product] was a team effort,” Loo said. The Gencore team also consists of Penn undergraduate and graduate computer science students.
The road from inception to manifestation required careful, dedicated planning.
Loo and Gill had been writing production quality code for the product in early 2011. “Boon had a lot of research projects and a lot of past students had written a lot of code over the years,” Gill said. “We took that code and commercialized it.”
Then, to receive the initial $180,000 which jumpstarted the company in January last year, Gencore gathered feedback from knowledgeable figures in the industry so that “by the time we applied for government grants, we already had letters of support from people in the industry,” Loo said.
Tanveer Gill, who graduated last year from Penn with a master’s degree in computer science and is now working full-time for Gencore Systems, describes Gencore’s technology as “an entirely different approach on application performance.”
“There are lots of tools in the cloud today that are host-centric, but we designed the next generation of tools that are faster in detecting problems and goes into deep details into applications and how they are performing,” Harjot Gill said. “It allows our customers to be more agile and deploy their applications multiple times a day.”
“We think that [our product] is very promising and we hope it will revolutionize the way things are done,” Tanveer Gill said.
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