Nishantha Modak and Piyush Verma see themselves as firefighters. Modern companies are built with more sophisticated software infrastructure than ever before, pointing to the founders of Last9, which today is announcing a $ 11 million Series A funding round. When something goes wrong, it’s important to find the fire quickly before engulfing the building.
Modak, who has been the CEO of Last9, said: “The key to firefighters in civil engineering is site reliability engineers for software engineering. “Having been a software reliability engineer for over a decade, this platform has been built from our struggles.”
These struggles will be known to fast-growing companies around the world, for which cloud computing has changed everything. These companies employ many software applications – or microservices – that they access through cloud-based subscriptions without having to install them on their own premise. It’s an affordable, convenient, and agile way for businesses to acquire the tools and technologies they need – and that’s why they’re accelerating as they serve their own customers.
That theory, however. In practice, there is a problem with this model. The more businesses add microservices, the more complex their software infrastructure becomes. The interaction of each new microservice with the existing infrastructure not only creates more possibilities for failure and disruption, but also makes it increasingly difficult to find the source of the problem in this complex web of software.
This is the work of software reliability engineers. But when a problem arises, it will take time for even the most skilled professionals to manually comb through the infrastructure to identify the problem and find a system. And in the meantime, the business is stuck with a disruption that could hurt productivity or jeopardize the quality of customer service.
That’s where Last9’s technology comes in. Modak and Verma have developed a tool package that maps the business software infrastructure, identifies connection points and monitors how different microServices are interacting. The solution also includes a search engine. If and when a problem occurs, Last9 business software reliability enables engineers to scan a map of that infrastructure to identify the problem. There is no manual search
“Once you allow us read-only access to your system, we can pull data from various silos that grow as the software infrastructure develops,” Modak explained. “We can see how a given request is routed through the system and where it is breaking down.”
The effect of “average discovery time” on businesses trying to track how and where system failures occur is dramatically reduced. This process usually takes engineers hours or days to complete manually. Modak says Last9’s approach could reduce that time to minutes.
The business was launched in 2020, with Modak and Verma finally selling, inspired by their previous start-up experience. Modak recalls, “We scaled the business very fast but we kept running into the same problem. “Every time a software problem slows us down, we think about how to find a better way to solve the problem.”
Eventually, the founders began to develop Last9 as that “good way.” They spent the first year and a half honoring the product, but over the past six months, the focus has shifted to customer acquisition and commercial development. An early customer is Disney + Hotstar, an entertainment company with the right to stream the Indian Premier League of cricket; Its 30 million subscribers are watching the stream at any moment, underlining exactly what is at risk in the event of a disturbance.
Product development has continued. Last9 is particularly keen to change the intelligence – a tool that lets businesses see in advance the implications of adding a specific microservice to the infrastructure. “Once you start predicting specific problems that could lead to new connections and interactions, you have the opportunity to be proactive rather than reactive to reliability,” Modak explains. Think of that as preventing fire breakage in the first place.
Equally, the founders of Last9 are now focusing on scaling the business from a business perspective, with plans to invest in their go-to market capabilities. The California-based company sees North America as its largest target market, at least initially, but the solution is geographically agnostic.
Today’s fundraising should help in both product development and commercial roll-out, providing businesses with significant additional financial firepower. The Series A round was led by Sequoia Capital India, co-investor Better Capital and a number of angel investors. The new capital of 11 million follows the 9 2 million raised by Last9 from the Sequoia Capital India surge program in April 2020.
“It takes time to build software systems that are reliable and can handle the speed of code change, but the way reliability is managed today is broken,” Modak said. “As the world moves toward a microservice-led architecture, we believe that high-tech engineering teams have begun to monitor services, not servers.”