Droplet Computing brings ‘offline DaaS’ containerized solution to Canada

Droplet has partnered with Prianto Canada to build its Canadian channel for their cross-platform containerized application delivery offering.

U.K-based startup Droplet Computing has expanded into the Canadian market, signing with Prianto Canada, the arm of a German-headquartered distributor that just came into Canada itself last year.

Peter von Oven, Droplet Computing’s co-founder and CEO, has a long background in end user computing, and indicated that the seed of what would become Droplet emerged in 2014 when he was working for VMware.

“I was working with a U.K. manufacturing company who wanted to deploy a large number of ChromeBooks with VMware Horizon,” he said. “They had a use case that we could not solve. What happens if there is no network connection connected to VDI? Well, the answer of course is nothing. That was a really big thing for that customer, so VDI was not for them, and the whole project wound up being canned.”

Developing a solution that would solve this problem became the focus.

“We set out to invent ‘local VDI,’ or what a customer called ‘offline DaaS,’ von Oven said. “We built it using containers to deliver apps across all modern platforms and operating systems.”

The patents were filed in 2015 and the first round of investment funding – 2 million pounds through Draper Esprit – was secured in 2018.

“We came out of stealth in April 2018, at a Rubrik event, and have really taken off since then, mainly in the U.K., Europe and Asia and then the U.S.,” von Oven indicated.

He stated that the solution is still unique in the way that it executes at the client and local device level since the patents were filed five years ago.

Peter von Oven, Droplet Computing’s co-founder and CEO

“One new filing was based on IBM mainframe technology from the 1950s,” von Oven said. “The other we thought might be a concern was when we heard someone was running ChromeBook natively – until we found out that they had gutted the ChromeOS and were running Windows on it! We are unique in being able to handle offline as well as online, and once the apps are containerized, we can move them across platforms without changing anything, because it’s all completely portable.”

Early customers have come from a variety of sectors, although education and banking and finance stand out.

“We have had some initial successes in education,” von Oven said. “Oxford University wanted us because they didn’t want to spend a lot of money on expensive VDI. Students use multiple devices there, and our technology takes away the unknown of the device because of our secure container. That was a key differentiator for us there. You can do that with VDI, but we are a fraction of the cost.”

The other strong sector for Droplet is banking and finance, because these customers have many business critical applications running on legacy systems.

“One test customer was running OS2, so we containerized it and now we deliver it on Windows 10,” von Oven indicated. “They didn’t need to refactor the application or retrain the users.”

The current pandemic situation also plays to Droplet’s strengths.

“Lockdowns have enabled us with BYOD and work from home situations, where we are ideal because we don’t need to take the home user’s system or patch level into account.” von Oven said.

The Go-to-Market strategy was 100% channel from the outset.

“We may have a direct touch relationship with a customer, but we don’t take that deal and fulfill it directly,” von Oven indicated

“Our first ever partner was Prianto, who we initially signed to distribute us in the UK and EMEA – primarily because we knew them,” he noted. Prianto describes themselves as providing ‘knowledge distribution.’

Prianto has brought them approximately 30 partners.

“They are all focused on some aspect of end user computing, although they are not typically Citrix partners,” von Oven noted. “Some of them are focused on the services element. We try to avoid those who sell licenses and don’t want to support the product.”

He said they are a fairly simple install for a partner.

“When the partner finds an opportunity, they engage us and we bring partner in on the conversation from day one. We are small, and don’t have the resource of lots and lots of sales people. That’s what the channel is for.”

Droplet also announced the signing of Viadex Global as a reseller. They have largest gaming and online gambling platforms as customers, and these platforms have many legacy applications which have traditionally had to be tested on every single device model – a task which Droplet’s containers remove.

“This one is more global – EMEA, Asia, South Africa, UAE and U.S. – but it’s a new vertical for us, which we hadn’t thought about before, but which is a massive use case,” von Oven said.

Droplet does not have an office in Canada, with Prianto Canada effectively acting as their manufacturers’ rep as well as distributor.

“We don’t have any partners in Canada yet, but we just signed the distribution agreement a couple of weeks ago,” von Oven indicated.