DigitalOcean takes $3.2M to make a simple cloud bigger

DigitalOcean, a growing Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, isn’t trying to be a clone of IaaS leader Amazon (s amzn) Web Services. Amazon’s bills are hard to decipher and configuration is complicated, said DigitalOcean Co-founder and CEO Ben Uretsky. DigitalOcean, by comparison, he said, is all about simplicity.

Since it became available last year, it has notched more than 35,000 customers, which in many cases are individual developers but also includes companies such as Flywheel and NewsBlur. Now the company wants to keep expanding its infrastructure and introduce more services in response to customer demand.

Enter the funding. IA Ventures is leading a $3.2 million seed round in DigitalOcean, the company announced Wednesday. Improvements are crucial in the New York-based company’s quest to thrive inside a crowded market, which is why the new money will be useful.

In April the company announced availability of servers through a Telx data center in San Francisco, and news of its second New York site came last week. What’s next? “We have serious demand in South America, out of Brazil, as well as in Asia, so we would love to open up data center locations in those geographic regions,” Uretsky (pictured) said.

For now, the company is in the process of rolling out private networking capabilities at its data centers, and an object-storage product in the style of AWS’ S3, IPV6 support and perhaps a content-delivery network are under consideration.

DigitalOcean isn’t planning to get into the game of cutting prices on its services the way Amazon does. But he said those price cuts can be “somewhat irrelevant,” as they apply to services that few AWS users pay for. For now, the lowest tier of service — a 1-core virtual server with 512 MB of memory and 20 GB of SSD storage — costs $5 a month.

As much as Uretsky sounds proud to be at the helm of a smaller IaaS provider, fast response to customer requests will become more important as it grows, because there are so many other vendors to move to. Staying true to DigitalOcean’s roots of simplicity while also expanding its user base with more features should be a challenge in its own right.