In the city of the like-minded

The cloudControl start-up helps others to create web applications faster and more easily, and has made something that is changing the world of the web

Tobias Wilken, Philipp Strube, Thomas Ruland (v.l.) Photo: cloudControl GmbH

In the middle of the financial crisis, in winter 2008/2009, Thomas Ruland suddenly found himself on the blue sofa again. There, in the bedroom of co-founder Philipp, a question occurred to Ruland, who is now 31 years old: „Why should we stick with these boring jobs when we can create something that changes the world.“ It was the moment in which his old life was replaced by a new one: a meaning instead of money, passion instead of nine-to-five, start-up instead of investment bank.

Ruland actually just wanted to bridge the gap between two jobs and help his school friends with the business plan for their idea. But then came the Eco Award – the first of many awards and prizes – and so he founded cloudControl together with law graduate Philipp Strube and IT systems electronics engineer Tobias Wilken. Successfully: today, five years later, they’ve bought their American competitor dotCloud.

A German lay person visiting their website won’t understand very much – and not because the company language is English. The service is aimed at software developers who are familiar with expressions like „supercharge development“ or „scale applications“. „We’re the people who provide others with the shovels to dig for gold with,“ Ruland attempts to describe the business idea. „We’re a PaaS, a Platform as a Service,“ he continues, then grabs a pen after all to sketch the world of cloud computing and their start-up’s place in it.

Ultimately, cloudControl provides the people building an application with an environment in which it’s easier and faster for them to create, operate and scale their web pages. For example, if a lot of people are accessing an offer, cloudControl ensures that automated processes provide increased computing power so that everyone can call up the website. „We’re not the people who build the e-commerce shop; we’re the ones who make sure that nobody needs to worry about server capacity any more. We offer everyone who develops and operates websites the optimum IT infrastructure,“ says Ruland, looking through the window of the conference room into the next room.

The blue sofa is there now, right next to the football table and the fridge full of Club Mate. It came here with them from Bonn to City West – into the ecosystem of the start-ups in which the three founders discovered what they were looking for: customers and early adopters, i.e. people who are open to new things. And like-minded people who care more about the meaning of their work than money. Looking back, Ruland says: „If you’re starting something up in Germany, you do it in Berlin.“

Susanne Hörr
Kluge Köpfe 2014