Data observability -- necessary to keep tabs on infrastructure performing as it should; to see if apps are returning errors; and to ensure that critical business data is getting to where it needs to go -- is becoming an evermore complicated task as organizations' cloud-native data demands and data usage grow. Today a startup that's built a scalable platform to manage that is announcing a big round of funding to continue its own scaling journey. Chronosphere -- a cloud-native monitoring platform co-founded by two former Uber engineers -- has raised $200 million, a Series C that values the company at over $1 billion.
Alongside this, Chronosphere is also announcing a new set of tools specifically for distributed tracing, which will help make more granular observations and respond quicker to issues on the network as they arise.
General Atlantic led the round, with Addition, Greylock, Lux Capital and new backer Founders Fund also participating. In yet one more example of how the most promising companies are fundraising with increasing frequency these days, General Atlantic, Addition's Lee Fixel, Greylock and Lux Capital all backed Chronosphere in its Series B, which was only nine months ago, in January of this year.
As with its previous round, this one was opportunistic, not because it was needed. "We are in the same spot as a year ago: more than 85% of our Series B is still in our bank account and we didn’t need the cash," said Martin Mao, Chronosphere's co-founder and CEO. "But this was a response to our growth this year." The company has been making regular updates to its tech and its revenues have grown tenfold in the last year, a reflection of what is also happening with data in the industry.
"Demand has risen 10x, too," he said, adding that the size of the Chronosphere team has not, so it will be hiring. "This is indicative of the product providing value to customers and shows how quickly the market is adopting cloud. So we are trying to capture the market as quickly as possible."
The company, which is 2.5 years old, has now raised $255 million to date.
Mao and co-founder Rob Skillington (CTO) founded Chronosphere on the back of early work that they started at Uber, where they built an observability platform very specific to Uber's needs as a business.
The underlying large-scale metrics storage technology they built was eventually open sourced as M3. The two then left Uber to build Chronosphere to take their ideas and concepts for cloud-native monitoring technology to a wider market.
Specifically, they saw an opportunity to address a particular gap: Uber built its own observability platform from the ground up to handle its particular mix of microservices and containers because, as Mao described it, the Googles of the world had built their own, "so we followed the same path."
But, he added, "there was nothing on the market designed for this type of architecture" that others could equally use, so they wanted to tackle the more general challenges of cloud-native complexity by building that platform themselves.
Since being widely released in GA in January, Chronosphere has found early traction with companies that operate at the same "horsepower" (Mao's word) as Uber -- other on-demand businesses like DoorDash that may also deal in a similar architecture involving multiple cloud applications, on-demand services and real-time analytics.
Other customers include those whose business models are equally banked on moving and analyzing large amounts of data, such as cryptocurrency mining platform Cudo, sports data company Genius Sports and Tecton, an enterprise-focused "store" for machine learning applications.
The distributed tracing tools also being announced today speak to how Chronosphere will be, going forward, looking for further applications of its monitoring tech. It will give users more detailed notifications around workflows, with root cause analysis, and it will also give engineers, whether or not they are data science specialists, more tools to run analytics on their data sets.
While the two co-founders continue to maintain M3, Mao points out that Chronosphere's platform can work independent of it; it's aimed at companies whose data needs have outgrown Prometheus, another monitoring and alerting solution that works well with M3. In terms of competitors, Mao describes Datadog as "the 800-pound gorilla in the room."
(That is another reason to continue building fast and taking market share -- and investment -- where it can.)
“Chronosphere is purpose-built to address the needs of large modern cloud-native enterprises," said Anton Levy, co-president, MD and head of technology investing at General Atlantic, in a statement. "Sitting at the intersection of the major trends transforming infrastructure software – the rise of open-source and the shift to containers – Chronosphere has quickly become a transformative player in observability. We’re excited by the team’s ambitious vision, with distributed tracing as yet another solution that differentiates Chronosphere as a next generation leader and paves the way for its continued growth.”