Then & Now - YellowDog

Around this time last year we heard from Gareth, Founder and CEO at YellowDog at the 2017 DisruptSW Index launch event as a panelist. He shared a little bit about what they do, where they are at, their Product, People and Potential. 

A year later, we’ve caught up with Gareth to find out about what’s happened since we last spoke and to capture and share some “truly imaginative stories” and how thinking differently can set you apart. 


Disrupt SW: For those that didn’t get a chance to hear from you at last year’s launch event and for some background information, who are YellowDog and what makes your business offering unique?

Gareth Williams: YellowDog is creating a world for people to do more, create more, explore more; unleashed from limited computing power. We help businesses leverage the underutilised power in their own enterprise for big batch processing. When that power isn’t enough, we also help people burst to multiple cloud providers in multiple locations. There’s no one doing what we do in the world today in quite the same way so that makes us unique. Our people are talented and really important to us innovating year on year; that combination of technology and team, I think, sets us apart.  

Disrupt SW: Can you share the story behind the core and true origin of your service?
Gareth Williams: I had a conversation in a coffee shop - inspired partly by SETI: an organisation that searched for extra-terrestrial life - with a friend in 2014 about whether the processor in our iPhones could be put to use whilst we slept. Could, eventually, millions of processing cores be combined and used to make business processes faster all over the world?  
Fast forward 12 months, and YellowDog was born: allowing users to securely harness the compute contributed by individuals and businesses who had nominated themselves to join YellowDog’s “Pack”.

YellowDog also integrated with some of the world’s leading public cloud providers and it soon became apparent that these integrations, plus extending The Pack to ISO27001 datacentres across the world, meant that YellowDog could provide businesses with unparalleled access to huge amounts of compute and that’s where we are today.  

Disrupt SW: Has YellowDog released any new products or services since we last spoke at the 2017 DisruptSW Index launch event?

Gareth Williams: We launched YellowDog for Financial Services in March of this year at Finovate Europe 2018. That is a major leap from 2017 where we were still operating in just one market; providing Cloud Rendering for visual special effects and animation. We continue to frequently release new capability for our customers across media and entertainment.

Disrupt SW: Have you expanded into any new markets or geographies?

Gareth Williams: We already have a global customer base and that has grown considerably over the last 12 months in every territory we’re active in: we now have around 1500 customers in 35 countries. The vast majority of those are the studios that use YellowDog for their Cloud Rendering. In Financial Services, we’ve got traction here in the UK but are talking with enterprises in multiple locations too. 

Disrupt SW: Have you had any major team changes? 

Gareth Williams: We’ve added several new faces – and that’s just since the new year. That’s been driven by our ambition to scale our technology sustainably in Financial Services whilst also ensuring that we strive to deliver the best Cloud Rendering Service in the world.  

Disrupt SW: Have you received any funding since 17 November 2017? 

Gareth Williams: In the first quarter of this year, we closed our most recent investment round with lead investor, Bloc Ventures.  

To date, YellowDog has now raised £2.8 through a combination of crowdfunding, angel, and venture capitalist investment. 

Disrupt SW: What market traction have you had over the last year?

Gareth Williams: Whilst we’ve increased the number of customers that we’ve worked with over the last year, the reputation of studios using our Cloud Render Platform continues to humble us. A few customers that we work with that we can name are Brown Bag Films, Blue Zoo, and AECOM. These all rely on extremely high levels of compute to create productions for Disney, Nickelodeon, BBC, ITV, and more whilst winning BAFTAs, Emmys, Oscars, and designing major infrastructure projects for cities worldwide. YellowDog successfully launched for Financial Services in March 2018 and we’re now in discussion with some of the world’s leading investment banks. It has been a very exciting year but we’re really just getting started.

Disrupt SW: Are there any other achievements you’d like to share? 

Gareth Williams: I’m proud of us growing our team, growing our customer base, and growing our technology. But I’m most proud of us growing sustainably. We’ve even moved offices this summer - marking our move from ‘start up’ to ‘scale up’. Last year we won the Bristol Post Startup of the Year award. So far in 2018, we’ve been highly commended in the National Technology Awards and we won Business Innovation at the National Best New Business Awards on the same day I received the Executive Foundation CEO Members’ Award.  

Disrupt SW: …and what’s in the pipeline for YellowDog? What’s on the horizon? 

Gareth Williams: We’re going to continue to scale and I’m excited to see the team that we’ve assembled grow. Undoubtedly, we will be rendering bigger volumes of brilliant productions with our studio customers and we’ll be making a big impact in Financial Services very soon. Beyond that, the joy of YellowDog is that the technology and benefits can be deployed in any number of different markets - so watch this space.   


Thank You for sharing!