Aug
12
2020
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Stacklet launches cloud governance platform with $4M seed investment

Stacklet co-founders Travis Stanfield and Kapil Thangavelu met while both were working at Capital One several years ago. Thangavelu helped create the Cloud Custodian open-source cloud governance project. The two eventually got together and decided to build a startup based on that project and today the company launched out of stealth with a $4 million seed investment from Foundation Capital and Addition.

Stanfield, who is CEO at the young startup, says that Cloud Custodian came about as Capital One was moving to a fully cloud approach in around 2013. As the company looked for ways to deal with compliance and governance, it found that organizations like theirs were forced to do one-off scripts and they were looking for a way that could be repeatable and scale.

“Cloud Custodian was developed as a way of understanding what all those one-off scripts were doing, looking at the cloud control plane, finding the interesting set of resources, and then taking sensitive actions on them,” he explained.

After leaving Capital One, and going off in different directions for a time, the two came together this year to start Stacklet as a way to nurture the underlying open-source project Thangavelu helped build, and build a commercial company to add some functionality to make it easier for enterprises to implement and understand.

While cloud administrators can download and figure out how to use the raw open source, Stacklet is attempting to make that easier by providing an administrative layer to manage usage across thousands of cloud accounts along with pre-packaged sets of common kinds of compliance requirements out of the box, analytics to understand how the tool is doing and what it’s finding in terms of issues, and finally a resources database to understand all of the cloud resources under management.

The company has just three employees, including the two founders, but will be adding a couple of more shortly with a goal of having a team of 10 by year’s end. The open-source project has 270 contributors from around the world. The startup is looking to build diversity through being fully remote. Not being limited by geography means they can hire from anywhere, and that can help lead to a more diverse group of employees.

The founders admit that it’s a tough time to start a company and to be fundraising, but on the bright side, they didn’t have to be on a plane to San Francisco every week during the process.

In fact, Sid Trivedi, partner at Foundation Capital, said that this was his first investment where he never met the founders in person, but he said through long discussions he learned “their passion for the opportunity at hand, experience of the market dynamics and vision for how they would solve the problem of meeting the needs of both IT/security admins and developers.”

May
16
2019
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Unveiling its latest cohort, Alchemist announces $4 million in funding for its enterprise accelerator

The enterprise software and services-focused accelerator Alchemist has raised $4 million in fresh financing from investors BASF and the Qatar Development Bank, just in time for its latest demo day unveiling 20 new companies.

Qatar and BASF join previous investors, including the venture firms Mayfield, Khosla Ventures, Foundation Capital, DFJ and USVP, and corporate investors like Cisco, Siemens and Juniper Networks.

While the roster of successes from Alchemist’s fund isn’t as lengthy as Y Combinator, the accelerator program has launched the likes of the quantum computing upstart Rigetti, the soft-launch developer tool LaunchDarkly and drone startup Matternet .

Some (personal) highlights of the latest cohort include:

  • Bayware: Helmed by a former head of software-defined networking from Cisco, the company is pitching a tool that makes creating networks in multi-cloud environments as easy as copying and pasting.
  • MotorCortex.AI: Co-founded by a Stanford engineering professor and a Carnegie Mellon roboticist, the company is using computer vision, machine learning and robotics to create a fruit packer for packaging lines. Starting with avocados, the company is aiming to tackle the entire packaging side of pick and pack in logistics.
  • Resilio: With claims of a 96% effectiveness rate and $35,000 in annual recurring revenue with another $1 million in the pipeline, Resilio is already seeing companies embrace its mobile app that uses a phone’s camera to track stress levels and application-based prompts on how to lower it, according to Alchemist.
  • Operant Networks: It’s a long-held belief (of mine) that if computing networks are already irrevocably compromised, the best thing that companies and individuals can do is just encrypt the hell out of their data. Apparently Operant agrees with me. The company is claiming 50% time savings with this approach, and have booked $1.9 million in 2019 as proof, according to Alchemist.
  • HPC Hub: HPC Hub wants to democratize access to supercomputers by overlaying a virtualization layer and pre-installed software on underutilized super computers to give more companies and researchers easier access to machines… and they’ve booked $92,000 worth of annual recurring revenue.
  • DinoPlusAI: This chip developer is designing a low latency chip for artificial intelligence applications, reducing latency by 12 times over a competing Nvidia chip, according to the company. DinoPlusAI sees applications for its tech in things like real-time AI markets and autonomous driving. Its team is led by a designer from Cadence and Broadcom and the company already has $8 million in letters of intent signed, according to Alchemist.
  • Aero Systems West: Co-founders from the Air Force’s Research Labs and MIT are aiming to take humans out of drone operations and maintenance. The company contends that for every hour of flight time, drones require seven hours of maintenance and check ups. Aero Systems aims to reduce that by using remote analytics, self-inspection, autonomous deployment and automated maintenance to take humans out of the drone business.

Watch a live stream of Alchemist’s demo day pitches, starting at 3PM, here.

 

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