Rackspace Startup Spotlight On Xtrant: A Cloud-Based Project Platform Built On The Rackspace Cloud

On a daily basis, in many areas of our lives, we use project management without even realizing it. If you’re jumping in the shower to get your morning started or at the job site building an apartment complex, you’re project managing. And with many projects, collaboration with others is paramount.

Xtrant, a cloud based project platform built on Rackspace, aims to keep you and everyone you work with on the same page. The platform was originally developed for Sposto Interactive, a boutique digital creative agency specializing in UX/UI design and online campaign development, with a client roster including Nikon USA, State Farm, Yahoo! and Scripps Networks.

The first version of the Sposto extranet was launched internally in 2004 to coordinate team members and the multiple stakeholders on the client side.

“This extranet allowed everyone involved to keep track of projects progress and maintain a project history,” explains Xtrant CEO and Co-Founder James Sposto. “The platform kept the processes transparent, both inward and outward facing, while maintaining security, keeping everyone accountable, and the system even doubled as an integrated simple CRM/Address Book.”

Sposto continues, “We began beta testing the system as a vertically integrated solution for other similar companies, and it performed well – but this was as Facebook was starting to explode in popularity and the people we were showing Xtrant to immediately saw the similarities to the way they were used to playing online, and our platform was as easy to use and adopt.”

Sposto and his team decided to execute a ground-up redesign to make Xtrant a single place that all types of businesses and individuals could use to share, collaborate and communicate on.

“That new version of Xtrant required a flexible platform that was easy to scale – as instead of creating single vertical instances for each account the new Xtrant would be integrated to allow individuals and members of company teams to work together in any combination – and would be structured so everyone invited to collaborate within an Xtrant project would automatically get a free Xtrant account and be able to make their own projects as well,” Sposto says.

As the Xtrant developers rolled out the new version of the cloud-based project platform, Sposto prospected cloud service providers, and Rackspace made the most sense for his business.

“We looked at other solutions, including Amazon’s cloud services, but preferred the provisioning of true virtual machines at Rackspace for our web servers and cloud load balancer and database (as opposed to the more ephemeral “instances” that Amazon provides) not to mention the cost structure,” explains Sposto. “When you are a startup on a tight budget, having known, fixed and fair pricing is paramount. In addition to the cost control, time control is important as well, and Rackspace’s logical and simple administrative interface means less time provisioning and their truly Fanatical Support means peace of mind getting questions answered and issues resolved instantly.”

And Sposto says the biggest boost for Xtrant came from the Rackspace Startup Program.

“Our ability to get 12 months of promotional hosting for the Xtrant startup, allowing us to configure and optimize our system while developing for the exact environment we would deploy to,” Sposto adds.

Sposto says that the Xtrant team is focused on creating a product that users can’t live without and that has the potential to make the world more efficient and productive.

“We’re launching our mobile app for Android and iOS in conjunction with our new public facing site, along with some new features including single sign-on through G+, LinkedIn and Facebook, and rolling out new features, including the biggest: no storage limit for paid accounts, so in addition to unlimited project, all of our plans will include unlimited storage, with the only variable being the number of ‘internal’ users and some incremental features between our Pro (individual) and Business (team) offerings,” Sposto says.

2014 will be a strong growth year for Xtrant, Sposto says.

“By the end of 2014, our goal is to be cash-flow positive, by growing our user base through wider adoption, improving features, and user experience,” concludes Sposto. “As a SaaS Freemium model our percentages are right on, so it’s now a matter of spreading the word and scaling up to meet demand.”

The Rackspace Startup Program was there to help Xtrant deliver its cloud-based project platform to users. Drop the Startup Team a note and let us know if you need any help building your startup.

John McKenna loves startups and was a Space Cowboy with the Rackspace Startup Program. He also crafted customer stories and produced really cool videos for the Customer Reference Program. John enjoys telling stories through his writings…and loves the beach, the ranch, his dog Blue and most of all his three beautiful daughters.


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