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Superstar-backed Rescale nets $6.4 million to build a better engineering cloud

Rescale co-founders Joris Poort (left) and Adam McKenzieRescale co-founders Joris Poort (left) and Adam McKenzie
Rescale co-founders Joris Poort (left) and Adam McKenzieCourtesy of Rescale

Engineering jobs—things like the design of a complex airplane or car part and the virtual testing of that design—pose special and intense computing challenges. And those are the types of jobs that San Francisco-based Rescale, which just announced $6.4 million in funding, is targeting.

The money comes in the form of a seed round led by Data Collective with contributions from such luminaries as Amazon(AMZN) founder Jeff Bezos, Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, Ycombinator’s Paul Graham and Sam Altman, and Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel,

Rescale’s goal is to harness and manage resources on private and public clouds as well as national supercomputer centers and tune them to perform these compute-intensive jobs, Joris Poort, Rescale CEO and cofounder told Fortune.

Poort and his co-founder (and Rescale CTO) Adam McKenzie spent years at Boeing working on the wing design of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, so they know whereof they speak.

The problem for even gigantic companies like United Technologies(UTX), Ford Motor Co.(F) and others is that there are many different workloads from design and test to developments that have different computing requirements. That means setting up computing clusters for each job on premises can be extremely expensive and resource intensive for IT people, Poort said.

“There’s a lot of tuning and optimization if you’re running on a GPU cluster or a large aerodynamic run, the hardware, the middleware, the software all needs to be tuned together or things can get slow and expensive,” he said. “We tune all that and make sure the customer can run their jobs in the fastest way possible.” A GPU is a graphic processing unit, a chip specially designed to run compute-intensive graphics workloads like computer-aided modeling or simulations.

As you might expect from Bezos’ participation, Rescale runs on Amazon Web Services, but also on Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform plus an array of private clouds, Poort noted without naming those names. Customers include Sikorsky Aircraft, the big helicopter manufacturing arm of United Technologies, (which is reportedly about to be bought by Lockheed Martin(LMT).)

Rescale is now focused on computer-aided engineering but sees potential use in life sciences and energy as well.

The money will be used to augment the company’s small sales and marketing staff. Headcount is now 15, the bulk in engineering. The company will also focus on making sure that software from partners such as CD-Adapco, Dassault Systemes(DSTY), and Siemens runs well.

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