CloudMile banks on trust in regional expansion

Taiwanese cloud and AI startup CloudMile keeps its billing transparent and provides round-the-clock support to build trust with customers as it grows its business in Southeast Asia

CloudMile, a Taiwanese cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) startup, has been building trust with its customers as it grows its footprint across Asia.

Founded in 2017 by Spencer Liu, a veteran entrepreneur who started one of Taiwan’s first e-commerce businesses, CloudMile offers services that help organisations migrate workloads to public cloud, drive data insights and build AI applications.

In an interview with Computer Weekly, Liu said that building trust with customers is a key differentiator for the startup, especially as it deals with data and AI models which have to be trusted by customers to realise their benefits.

“Building trust is at our core because our core business is about utilising data to empower businesses in the digital economy,” he said, noting that companies like semiconductor giant TSMC have been successful because of the trust they have built with global clients.

At a time when some organisations are grappling with cloud bill shocks, CloudMile has made a point of providing round-the-clock support and detailed billing in a bid to build trust with customers. “Our philosophy is to keep everything transparent,” said Liu. “If we add on a service like AI for our client, they will know – and that’s how we build trust with customers.”

CloudMile, which raised $14m in Series C funding earlier this year, has been targeting Asian markets beyond Taiwan, such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines and Malaysia. It has more than 500 customers and more than 160 employees across the region.

Its customer base includes enterprises and digital native companies. The Google Cloud partner is also looking to attract small and medium-sized enterprises in Southeast Asia with a free cloud migration programme that offers credits for Google services of up to $100,000 in the first year.

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Despite the growing adoption of cloud across the region, CloudMile still finds itself educating “traditional companies” that only see cloud as a way to host their applications and consume compute resources on demand, said its Singapore country manager, Jeremy Heng. “Cloud services have gone beyond that – you can build data assets and applications, and you can even use Google Workspace and Microsoft 365, integrate them together and build a platform,” said Heng. “It’s not just a hosting service anymore.”

As for digital native firms, Heng said CloudMile’s work typically involves alleviating their resource crunch and helping them to do more with automation through DevOps and continuous integration/continuous delivery pipelines, for example.

Although CloudMile works exclusively with Google Cloud, Liu said the company’s data applications and AI models can be deployed on other public clouds for those that have embraced a multi-cloud strategy.

It also recognises that more companies are adopting hybrid cloud, which it is supporting through its expertise in Anthos, Google’s hybrid cloud management platform.

“But we have to do that very carefully because it’s not all on-premise or public cloud,” said Liu. “We typically do a feasibility study to figure out the feasible solutions; otherwise, customers may pull back if they don’t feel the cloud would be a suitable environment for them.”

In March 2022, CloudMile teamed up with Taiwan Mobile to build a corporate cloud service ecosystem that will support the cloud and connectivity needs of Taiwanese companies that are looking to enter Southeast Asian markets.

As part of the partnership, Taiwan Mobile will also take advantage of CloudMile’s hybrid and multi-cloud services to support businesses in their efforts to boost productivity and drive digital transformation.

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