In the software industry, observability tools provide businesses insights on the health of their production apps. At best, observability tools can flag when apps are performing under par and help identify the root causes of issues. But rarely is it this simple. According to a recent survey conducted by Splunk, 86% of developers see difficulties related to tech as a challenge to observability adoption. In the poll, they cited inadequate legacy tools, a lack of platform options and fragmentation (i.e., too many tools) as the top blockers, as well as concerns about open source tools.
The observability market has matured in recent years with the growth of vendors like Datadog, New Relic, PagerDuty and the aforementioned Splunk. But there's room for improvement. At least, that's the assertion of Juraj Masar and Veronika Kolejak, the co-founders of Better Stack, an observability product that combines monitoring, logging, incident management and status pages with collaboration tools.
Better Stack today announced that it raised $18.6 million in a Series A round led by Creandum with participation from Susa Ventures, K5 Global, Credo Ventures, Kaya, and Lachy Groom, as well as notable angels such as Codecademy co-founder Zach Sims. Masar, who serves as Better Stack's CEO, said that the funding will be put toward hiring with the goal of expanding the team from 14 to about 30 people by the end of the year.
Image Credits: Better Stack
"We are software builders at heart — we’re making products we always wanted to use ourselves," Masar said in an interview. Masar, who has several startups under his belt, previously was the VP of engineering at Represent.com, an apparel e-commerce merchant. Kolejak held various software engineering jobs at Shopify and Google before founding Wallmine, a financial markets data platform, and joining Better Stack. "The Series A fundraise was an opportunistic one — we didn’t need to raise the round to survive," Masar continued. "We want to leverage the current layoffs to continue rapidly building an amazing team."
Better Stack's product is built on top of ClickHouse, a Yandex-developed database management system that lets users generate real-time analytics reports via SQL queries. ClickHouse was open sourced in 2016, and in 2021, a corporate entity — ClickHouse, Inc. — launched to maintain and improve the project.
Better Stack is independent of the mainline ClickHouse project, with customizations for observability use cases. For example, the platform aggregates logs and metrics across apps and services in a tech stack to track the availability, uptime and performance of those apps and services. Better Stack can automatically notify workers through on-call schedules and escalation policies, Masar says, and delivers collaboration tools workers can use to analyze observability data together.
Beyond this, Better Stack can generate visualizations of data and support SQL queries for custom reports. That's similar to other software observability solutions out there, like Observe, Manta and Cribl. But Masar asserts that Better Stack's offering is more comprehensive — and up to 10 times cheaper.
"Before Better Stack, users would need to typically combine at least three different tools to get the same functionality. The pandemic had a positive impact on our business since companies started exploring cost-effective alternatives to costly legacy observability providers," Masar said. "Better Stack is intuitive to use for engineering teams as it leverages SQL for data querying instead of a custom querying language. [Moreover,] it focuses on Figma-like collaboration, which allows developers to work together in real time. And lastly, it simplifies product integration."
In any case, more than 1,400 teams at companies, including Time.com, Decathlon and Accenture, are paying for Better Stack today. Masar declined to reveal revenue, but said that over 70,000 developers are actively using the company's platform.