Chris C. Kemp
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|Chris C. Kemp|
Nebula, Inc. Founder and Chief Strategy Officer
|Title||Founder and Chief Strategy Officer|
Prior to founding Nebula, Kemp was NASA’s first Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for IT. He also served as Chief Information Officer and Director of Strategic Business Development at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, CA. Kemp co-founded OpenStack, an open-source cloud project with the goal of enabling any organization to create and offer cloud computing services running on standard hardware. After his departure NASA concluded that Nebula was a waste of agency resources and was technological inferior to similar offerings from the private sector.
Before joining NASA, Chris helped create a number of Internet-based businesses including Netran and Escapia.
While studying Computer Engineering at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, he founded Netran, a company that launched the online grocery shopping service for Kroger. Kemp served as CEO and President of Netran from 1997-2000. At the age of 21, Kemp sold his first business and joined Classmates.com as its Chief Architect. In 2002, Kemp launched Escapia, a company he conceived after trying to rent a beach house on the Internet. Kemp served as CEO and President of Escapia from 2002-2006. Escapia was sold to HomeAway in 2010, which filed for its IPO in 2011.
Kemp joined NASA in 2006 as Director of Strategic Business Development at the Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley where he helped forge a partnership with Google. In 2007, he was appointed Chief Information Officer (CIO), making him responsible for most of the IT infrastructure at NASA Ames (networks, datacenters, systems, etc.), and several NASA-wide services, including the NASA Security Operations Center (SOC). As CIO, Kemp established a partnership with Microsoft.
Unlike traditional government procurements, where the government gave money to private companies, Kemp structured unique public-private partnerships with both Google and Microsoft that provided his team at NASA millions of dollars of funding to offset the costs of making vast amounts of data available in Google Earth and Microsoft Worldwide Telescope.
Inspired by the infrastructures at Google, Kemp then assembled and led of a team of NASA contractors with the goal of enabling NASA to “leverage the web as platform and take the lead in open, transparent and participatory space exploration and government.” The project to carry forward this goal at NASA Ames was called the Nebula Cloud Computing Pilot.
Kemp’s cloud project at NASA drew the attention of the Obama Administration, and Kemp received a call from the first Federal Chief Information Officer, Vivek Kundra. Kundra asked Kemp to host the unveiling of the United States Cloud Computing Strategy, and to work on one of the federal government's first major cloud initiatives, www.usaspending.gov, a website which tracks all spending from the US government. Kemp and the Nebula team launched the site, which is still hosted on NASA's cloud infrastructure.
In March 2010, Kemp was appointed as the first NASA Chief Technology Officer, or CTO, for Information Technology, a new position established to lead IT innovation at the space agency. As CTO for IT at NASA, Kemp is responsible for the agency's Enterprise Architecture division and for introducing new and emerging technologies into IT planning and implementation. He is an outspoken advocate for the use of open-source software in the Federal Government.
While NASA has been a pioneer in open source, Kemp was responsible for the first open source release under the Apache 2.0 license framework, the Nova cloud computing controller. As CTO, Kemp also pioneered the use of NASA’s unique public-private partnership authority to introduce new technologies into NASA.
Rackspace.com discovered NASA’s open source code and contacted Kemp to determine if NASA was interested in partnering together to form a project called OpenStack. Launched in July 2010, OpenStack is an open-source cloud computing platform based code from Kemp’s team as NASA, in collaboration with Rackspace. After guiding cloud computing breakthroughs with the Nebula Project and OpenStack, Kemp set a new goal for himself – to “democratize web–scale computing”.
Kemp left NASA on March 18, 2011, and on March 25, 2011 incorporated Fourth Paradigm Development, Inc. with entrepreneur Steve O'Hara and former colleague Devin Carlen. In April, the company received seed investments from the first few investors in Google, including Andy Bechtolsheim, Ram Shriram, and David Cheriton. In May, the Company received series-A funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield, and Byers and Highland Capital Partners.
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- Today I announce my resignation as NASA’s Chief Technology Officer for IT
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