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Cofounders Felipe Aramburu and Rodrigo Aramburu are building a real time data science platform. Blazing, a Techstars alumni (Boulder ’15), handles the configuring, tuning, and optimizing of servers so that data scientists can do what they do best: design experiments and analyze data. We chatted with the Blazing team to learn how they’ve worked in partnership with SoftLayer, a global sponsor of Techstars accelerator programs. SoftLayer’s Catalyst Startup Program provides entrepreneurs with infrastructure and support to scale their companies.

Sponsorship in Action - Blazing and SoftLayer

Q: Why did you start Blazing?

We were doing data science consulting, and on one project with the Peruvian government we received a massive data set. Each query would take hours, so we built V0 of Blazing, and brought that down to seconds. That’s when we knew we had something different—all from using the video graphics card (GPU).

Q: What has Blazing been up to since going through the Techstars Boulder 2015 program?

A lot. We’ve launched a fully redesigned web application, added over a dozen users representing 6 large enterprise organizations, expanded the functionality of our platform to support deep learning, and much more.

Q: How did Blazing discover—and choose to develop a partnership with—SoftLayer?

We were aware of SoftLayer’s offerings before Techstars, but with the Catalyst program we were able to truly test and iterate over their servers to find what worked best for us.

Q: What do you think sets SoftLayer apart?

Great customer support and the bare metal nature of SoftLayer’s servers means we can get any configuration we need very quickly. Not only that, but they have allowed us to use cutting edge hardware that we really had trouble finding on other cloud providers. Who else can give you 12 raided SSDs, two tesla K80’s, and 48 cores on one rig with an uptime of a few hours?

The SoftLayer team was also willing to spend time with us to both understand our architecture and explain the SoftLayer architecture so that we made sure we got the best tools possible. It feels more like a concierge service than other cloud providers. When you are making a simple web application this level of service isn’t as important, but if you are trying to squeeze every drop of performance, like we are, this help is tremendous.

Q: Do you have any advice for other founders who want to build good relationships with their platform/hosting providers?

Understand each other’s value proposition and goals. We found ourselves with this huge need for very specific servers (with GPUs), and SoftLayer was able to effectively support us from day one.

The next most important piece of advice is to give back. I’m a huge proponent of SoftLayer to my fellow entrepreneurs, advisors, and investors. SoftLayer knows this as we support each other.

Q: What is the latest at Blazing?

Come January 2016 we’ll be launching a new version of our application. More details to come, but we have upgraded the code editor, included tutorials of running massive data analyses on our open data sets (SEC and World Bank data), all running on our massive GPUs rigs with SoftLayer!

You can follow @blazingdb, @CatalystSL and @softlayer on Twitter.


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Cali Harris
(@caligater) Director of Founder Resources at Techstars