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Insights December 6, 2021

Meet Attini: the startup automating IT infrastructure quickly and securely

Migrating to the cloud has big benefits for organizations, but it’s not always smooth sailing. We spoke to Attini co-founders (and brothers) Carl and Oscar Östrand to hear how they’re making cloud environments easier to work with.

Tell us about your backgrounds. 

Carl: I’m a cloud architect and I’ve been working with AWS cloud for about five years. My job has essentially been to help companies migrate or maintain their cloud environments. That’s where the idea for Attini came from – I wanted to find the best way to do this.

Oscar: I’ve been a systems developer for over seven years in the banking sector. So I guess you could say I’m the builder. We also have Rashin who’s our chair of the board while holding down another CEO position for a bigger company. 

It’s cool that you’re brothers – why did you want to work together?

Carl: We work well together and get along spectacularly, so why not? It also feels nice to start a company with someone you trust 100%. We never needed a big discussion on who owns what, because it didn’t really matter. 

Oscar: Exactly. Brother and best friend is a great combination, and our competencies also complement each other. We’ve talked about doing something together over a few beers for years. 

What problem are you trying to solve with Attini? 

Carl: On a high level, most companies in the world are migrating to the cloud, which has a lot of benefits, but massively increases complexity. It’s hard to migrate multiple IT environments to the cloud and standardize and manage them all securely without undesirable side effects. And of course, all of this management and development requires a lot of time and resources.

Oscar: It all boils down to this new technology – well it’s 10 years old, but it only gained real traction over the last few years – and that’s Infrastructure as Code (IaC). It’s a way to configure your cloud and define IT environments, networks, databases, and certificates and whatnot. But the current ways of working with this technology are very immature, so it’s painful to work with and requires a lot of engineering. The best way to solve this is to completely remove manual configuration of IT environments. So we created a serverless deployment framework for Infrastructure as Code that will standardize and automatically run your deployments for you. It’s also really affordable and it’s much less error-prone. 

Why is this important to you? 

Carl: Well it used to be my job to build this for companies, and it was frustrating to see every company solving this issue in different ways, and often in crappy ways. It made my work quite painful, and I knew there was a better way to do things through standardization and automation. I guess I want to prevent my former colleagues and other IT folks from having to deal with the same headaches!

Oscar: Yeah, cloud architects have way better things to do with their time than build these frameworks. When a company moves to the cloud, there’s a lot of promises of agility, traceability and ease of management, which can be fulfilled – but you need to implement so many things first. We want it to be much easier for people to get what the cloud promised them.  

What are the most important things you’ve learned so far on your startup journey?

Oscar: Don’t underestimate how hard it is to find good people – we spend a lot of time on that. And also, it’s hard to start a company in general. You can’t assume what people and companies will need. We spent quite a lot of time building a few things then realized after we didn’t even need it. 

Carl: I think one thing that’s been quite an eye-opener is that it’s such a small portion of the work that’s actually development. It takes way more work to create the design or sort out documentation and payments and all that stuff. 

When you work for a big company, you can just write the code, you put it into production, and it works. But selling something as a commercial product is a whole other thing, which we knew, but we didn’t know how different it would be. And also, lawyers are super expensive (laughs). 

Oscar: Yeah the legal part is terrible, I don’t enjoy that! I think we’ve also learnt how important building customer trust is. We’re basically asking companies to trust us with their IT infrastructure, which is a big thing and earning that trust is probably our biggest challenge. 

And how do you build that trust?

Carl: Public exposure really helps, and building a digital footprint by being present on LinkedIn and stuff is important. If anybody actually looks at you, they have to be able to see that we’re actual people with qualifications, experience and partnerships. 

Oscar: And then of course it’s good to have customers who’ll give you a good reference! There’s a real herd mentality in the software space, Which is hard as a startup. When you have momentum, it’s fine, but getting that momentum can be a challenge. 

What would your advice be for other startups?

Carl: You can’t be the best at everything, but it’s good to have someone who knows a bit about legal, financing, business development and marketing – in addition to the tech and IT skills. You also need to find a good way to update your product. No matter how you deliver it, it’s continuous work, and you need to set up a good structure so you can easily deliver new features to your customers.

Oscar: Yeah, I agree. We’re pretty good at the IT part, which seems to be unusual. Most startups seem to have the opposite – they start a company because they have a cool idea but they often rely on consultants for development and IT implementation which can get really expensive. We’re kind of the opposite, so it’s good to have a balance and a mixture of knowledge! 

How have you found Sting?

Carl: Straight away we started getting good advice about how to talk to investors and other stakeholders, and what to highlight in all these different conversations. We actually went in and quickly changed some stuff on our website after our first couple of coaching sessions. 

Oscar: Yeah, Sting has definitely helped us avoid a couple of expensive mistakes. 

What’s next for Attini? 

In January 2022 we will launch our product for general availability. Then we will focus on sales and getting feedback from existing customers so we can improve the product further. It’s fairly powerful now, but there’s a lot of things we can do to make it easier to get started. 

Would you like to learn more about Attini?Visit their website or reach out to carl.ostrand@attini.io.