An educational technology startup, established by a son of an overseas Filipino worker, won contracts with large foreign universities amid the pandemic, becoming one of the first local “camels” to have a global presence and achieving revenue-based growth, instead of relying on investor funds.
“This is what differentiates CloudSwyft from the unicorn status that other start-ups aspire for. We position CloudSwyft as a ‘camel,’ a more sustainable model where we rely on client revenue to sustain us, instead of investor funds,” says Dann Angelo De Guzman, the 31-year-old founder, and chief executive of CloudSwyft Global Systems Inc.
De Guzman, who graduated from Mapua Institute of Technology in 2011 with a degree in Electronics Engineering, established CloudSwyft as an EdTech startup in 2015, building on the foundation of his first startup—RocketLabs Software, which he put up in 2012 at the age of 22.
The eldest among three siblings, he was born in Laguna but spent most of his childhood in Carmona, Cavite. His father is an OFW in the Middle East while his mother stays at home to take care of the family. He attended high school at La Consolacion College in Laguna and studied at Mapua Institute of Technology. Before graduating, he had an eight-month engineering internship in Singapore where he worked on building laser systems for one of the largest electronic manufacturing services companies in the world.
After graduation and his internship, de Guzman started his career in Accenture where he became the youngest consultant to become part of Accenture Philippines’ Cloud Computing team. At age 22, he started his very first tech startup—RocketLabs Software which was also an EdTech company. In 2014, he became an entrepreneur-in-residence in Future Now Ventures while he was still running his first company. Then he went on to establish CloudSwyft.
CloudSwyft is now one of the fastest-growing EdTech startups with positive cashflow as it sustains operations almost purely from revenues. De Guzman is optimistic that CloudSwyft can hit the $10-million revenue milestone without raising any further capital, for now.
“We are cash flow positive, heavily customer-revenue funded for the past 2 plus years now, and we think we can hit the $10-million revenue milestone without raising any further external capital for now,” says Guzman.
“With what we have achieved, we think we have the right to claim that we are the top EdTech company in the Philippines and the very first enterprise software startup in the Philippines that has ever gone global this way. We aim to be the ‘Atlassian’ or the ‘upGrad’ story of the Philippines or the rising startup camel of the Philippines,” he says.
CloudSwyft’s Virtual Labs Platform digitally transforms education institutions’ physical campus computer lab facilities into fully-automated cloud-based virtual lab environments to increase productivity for students and lecturers for all their lab classes that use multiple software applications and tools, anytime and anywhere.
Companies or schools no longer need to spend for things like computer units or office space, and students and trainees need not be physically present at the lab to learn. A system that transforms and fully automates lab facilities and environments onto the cloud has been extremely useful and valuable during the pandemic when most schools and offices are closed and almost everything is done online.
CloudSwyft enables schools to create and manage IT training, assessment, and development environments without needing to purchase and manually set up hardware and software tools. Entirely cloud-based, the platform simplifies things like tech recruitment assessments, IT training, software development, and the like.
De Guzman says he got the idea for CloudSwyft after learning from his mistakes with his first venture, RocketLabs Software. He founded that company, which he incorporated in Hong Kong, thanks to angel investors from former Microsoft and Yahoo executives.
In April 2015, he raised a seed investment of about $1 million from Future Now Ventures, Wordtext Systems Inc. (one of the largest IT distributors in the Philippines) and Kellet Mornings to establish CloudSwyft and build his team from the ground up. It is founded on a vision “to build products that will solve the hardest problems in professional upskilling and higher education sector” and eventually be “a leading future-ready skills and online labs provider”.
In 2020, EdTech startups thrived, and CloudSwyft was no exception. Cloudswyft has grown dramatically, thanks to its hyper-specialized focus and strategy of developing significant partnerships with industry leaders.
The company strengthened its partnership with Microsoft in 2018 through promotions and co-sell motions across the latter’s education customers in the Asia Pacific region, particularly in Malaysia. A year later, Cloudswyft gained more attention when it onboarded customers and partners from Singapore and Indonesia, adding to its client roster from the Philippines and Malaysia.
The year 2020 was a big one for Cloudswyft as it signed a contract with Bina Nusantara University, one of the largest and prominent universities in Indonesia. It was also cited by Microsoft and its regional philanthropy partner for its global skills initiative to upskill over 60,000 learners in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
Last year, it went global as the first and only specialist organization partner from the Philippines and Southeast Asia of the United Kingdom-based FutureLearn, one of the largest massive open online learning providers in the world, with over 17 million learners.
“We continuously grew our customer-base in 2020 as our virtual labs platform and future-ready skills solution have been in high demand when digital transformation for educational institutions became an accelerated top priority,” says de Guzman.
CloudSwyft is following up the stellar year with new achievements in 2021. It formed a joint venture with Dennis Uy-led DITO CME Holdings called Luna Academy—a platform that would grant certifications and diploma programs to students from top-tier local universities from companies like Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, and Alibaba.
De Guzman says the company is “very lean and agile,” with only 25 people spread out across offices in Manila, Hong Kong, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur.
“Our most pressing goals, that we are laser-focused on executing, is our regional and global distribution channels that has a reach of over 12,000 education institutions all over the world for our online virtual labs platform products and its future-ready skills platform. With what we have achieved, we think we have the right to claim that we are the top EdTech company in the Philippines and the very first enterprise software startup in the Philippines that have ever gone global this way,” he says.
De Guzman says CloudSwyft will not be where it is today without its lean team that values team work, resilience and speed of execution. “As a team, the best idea wins. We solve problems together. We embrace mistakes together and we celebrate wins together. CloudSwyft team has a common urge to drive product excellence and successful customer experience in the EdTech industry—which are all keys to the success and growth of the company,” he says.
This year, CloudSwyft strengthened its distribution in Indonesia and Malaysia and started client acquisitions in the Middle East. It also became the virtual labs platform provider for one of the largest EdTech companies in India.
The European and global distribution of CloudSwyft online virtual labs platform with SoftwareONE targets over 6,000 education institutions worldwide. It also forged a strategic integration partnership with Imperial College of London’s Insendi, giving it access to the global business schools.
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