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Joyent acquires SFU Venture Connection participant

July 15, 2010

Howie Wu may still be working towards graduation but the Simon Fraser University executive MBA student’s start-up venture, Layerboom Systems Inc., has already made the grade.

Joyent, Inc., a San Francisco-based international inventor of integrated smart technologies, has acquired Layerboom, making it SFU Venture Connection’s first protégé to be acquired.

Layerboom helps companies build and sell virtual private server 'clouds'. Cloud computing refers to the new ability to shift physical technology infrastructure to a remote Internet hosting service, eliminating the need for companies or individuals to manage complex computing hardware and software in-house.

An active participant in the SFU Venture Connection program, Wu was convinced that cloud computing would offer great prospects for a new venture. He teamed up with Vancouver technical guru Trevor Orsztynowicz to form the business and won entry to Boot Up Labs, a Vancouver startup incubator.

Throughout Layerboom’s growth, SFU Venture Connection has provided Wu with support and guidance via its first mentor-in-residence Jim Derbyshire. Wu has also received advice and coaching from Danny Shapiro, dean of SFU Business.

“They’ve both been influential in helping guide the growth and positioning of Layerboom,” says Wu. “Jim brought the practical experience of managing and selling high tech companies and was the key supporter of the strategy change that led to the venture’s success.

“Danny brought a strategic view and sounding board that helped shape the venture.”

Janice OBriain, SFU Venture Connection’s manager, says: “It’s great to see our first participant exit the program after less than two years of operation.”

Launched in the fall of 2008, Venture Connection offers training and support programs for SFU's entrepreneurs, linking student, faculty and local entrepreneurs with experienced advisors, funding opportunities, and other business connections. For more information on Venture Connection, visit

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SFU PR Media release link: Joyent acquires SFU Venture Connection Participant


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