We invested in Metrist, an early stage company that helps IT teams stay on top of outages among cloud services they depend on for their own applications. The company recently announced its public launch.
Metrist fits nicely with our investment thesis. They’re systems builders helping companies solve an important—albeit complex—problem.
“Apps are built on top of other apps today,” co-founder and CEO Jeff Martens explained to TechCrunch. “That means if one of them goes down or gets degraded or has some kind of an issue, your app and your business can potentially have the same fate. But current observability tools don’t do anything special for those external dependencies — they still continue to focus inward. You can find out things about your external dependencies—it’s not that you can’t know—but the challenge really becomes verifying so you can take action, but then also hold your vendors accountable.”
Martens, who serves as CEO, is a two-time founder with experience building and scaling tech platforms with New Relic, where he cut his teeth in the app monitoring space, and PagerDuty, where he and Duffield met. Duffield, who serves as CTO, held positions as product manager for both PagerDuty and Netdata and helped scale $100+ million products. In addition to being a product manager, Ryan is a brilliant engineer. He was one of the first engineers at PagerDuty and was instrumental engineering much of PagerDuty's core products.
Ash is also a repeat investor of Martens' having backed one of his earlier pursuits nearly a decade ago.
Metrist offers a suite of services that help companies avoid unnecessary downtown.
This is important because companies are increasingly becoming reliant on third parties, (the average is 137!), but those third parties are responsible for 70% of downtime. What’s more, that downtime can cost an average of $300k per hour.
Metrist covers infrastructure platforms like AWS, APIs like Stripe, and SaaS products like Slack. The company found a particularly compelling opportunity with infrastructure products from AWS, Azure, and GCP. Nearly every company uses one of those three, and there are no options to monitor the products themselves. Those companies offer monitoring products, but they tend to be for your app running on the platform, not the platform itself.
“It’s not good enough just to know if Stripe is up,” Martens says. “Companies want to know if they can actually transact with Stripe.”
Since its founding in 2020, Metrist has shown that companies get ahead with real-time monitoring that outperforms the typical process (e.g. checking vendor status pages) by as much as 80 minutes.
Part of the “secret sauce” of Metrist is their ability to glean insights from their network of customers and partners to get ahead of potential issues.
That approach led early beta users to heap praise on Metrist for being the first to alert them to problems. When Twilio went out, one user wrote that Metrist “saved our bacon.”
A common issue for companies is that they don’t always know the source of an outage (was it them or a third-party service?). One customer wrote, “If we didn’t have the visibility from the beginning that this was probably not us, it could have been a much different investigation and day."
We were also impressed with the opportunity for Metrist to grow and expand into new areas, while taking advantage of their unique “data moat.”
Third-party monitoring of apps and cloud services for businesses presents a sizable opportunity in itself. Beyond that, the company could become a valuable resource for selecting vendors, debug performance issues, and more.