Startups Venture

Enterprise SRE Startup Blameless Emerges From Stealth With $20M+ from Accel, Lightspeed

In the software business, uptime is money, and lags risk lost revenue. Imagine yourself shopping online. Cruising down the ol’ information superhighway, you pull off at an e-commerce domain to check out what’s in store. The page takes too long to load, so you flit off to the site that sells everything else. Because you’re too cool to cab it, you hail a ride through an app. If it takes just a moment too long to furnish you with your fare, you’ll flee to the app next door in the Transportation folder. In a competitive landscape of commoditized services, speed and reliability deliver a competitive edge.

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Software development teams are seemingly tasked with the impossible. On the one hand, they ensure sites and services work fast and dependably, but on the other, they’re also charged with engineering and implementing new features. The result is often a tradeoff between reliability and risk, and managing competing needs is a job in itself.

Site reliability engineering (SRE) is one approach to that challenge. It’s a well-documented discipline which took root at Google in the early 2000s—veterans of the search giant literally wrote the book on SRE, which is free to read online—and has since spread to development organizations at some of the hottest companies in tech today. It’s set of practices, which, canonically, embraces risk by creating a framework in which engineering and business decision-makers can establish mutually agreed-upon objectives. SREs monitor and maintain distributed systems, and automate their upkeep and operations to eliminate toil.

Blameless is a Silicon Valley startup building a software platform which codifies and automates the practices behind the SRE philosophy. Today, the roughly year-old company is emerging from stealth to launch its SRE tools publicly. The company’s vision is to “enable any modern enterprise software business to adopt SRE best practices.” In addition to the launch, the company is announcing that it has raised over $20 million in combined seed and Series A funding from investors including Lightspeed Venture Partners and Accel. The funding will be used to expand Blameless’s product offerings and scale up its marketing and product teams.

The company closed a $3.6 million seed round in April 2018 from Lightspeed and Accel (which co-led the deal), First Round Capital, and a handful of other undisclosed investors. Blameless closed $16.5 million in its Series A round (again co-led by Lightspeed and Accel) within the past couple months. Both rounds were undisclosed until today.

The Blameless SRE platform is an operations toolkit and monitoring suite that helps site reliability engineers identify, diagnose, and resolve the cause of site outages and functionality failures in a clear and humane way. In an increasingly complex software development environment, where code can interact and collide in unexpected ways, the platform “helps shift blame from people to the system,” the founders said during a phone briefing with Crunchbase News.

The company says that “individuals are no longer incentivized to hide problems out of fear of getting blamed but are empowered to be change agents for system-wide improvements. Discussions’ focus shift from ‘it’s not my fault’ to how do we fix this so it doesn’t happen again?’ A blameless culture is a culture that drives ownership and continuous improvements.”

The company says a number of strategic investors participated in its rounds, and that some of those partnerships will be announced in the coming months. Blameless counts a diverse set of organizations (ranging from hosting platform provider DigitalOcean to The Home Depot) among more than twenty enterprise customers.

The company was founded in early 2018 by Ashar Rizqi and Lyon Wong. Prior to Blameless, Wong was a partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, co-founded venture firm Spectrum 28, and served a six-year stint at Microsoft as a PM for Windows Vista and Windows 7. For his part, Rizqi most recently served as director of engineering at Mulesoft; before that he was a cloud engineering and SRE manager at Box. Many of the company’s earliest engineers joined from Mulesoft after that API integration company was acquired by Salesforce in March 2018. The company says its team collectively represents decades of experience at various SaaS companies.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias