Careers at SignalFx
SignalFx’s mission is to help cloud-ready organizations drive high levels of availability in today’s elastic, agile, distributed environments.
Karthik Rau was the VP of Products and R&D at Delphix. His friend Phillip Liu was a Software Architect at Facebook, where he had built state-of-the art monitoring systems. He and Liu got together to examine the potential of the monitoring market. They identified its major problems as well, and decided they could be solved by establishing a software-as-a-service (SaaS) monitoring solution.
Rau was comfortable with the technology as he’d had some experience with the Cloud in the past as an employee at Loudcloud. He was also eager to leave his current job and start a company. In 2013 he and Liu founded SignalFx in order to develop and market their idea. They were able to raise funding for the process right away, obtaining an investment of $8.5 million in a Series A round.
The two spent the next year-and-a-half determining the architecture of the offering and recruiting engineers to build its core technology. They then recruited customers to test its beta version. The product enabled users to work with meaningful analytics on their data. They officially launched the firm in 2015. That year they received another infusion of $20 million in a Series B round.
Business model of SignalFx
SignalFx has a niche market business model, with a specialized customer segment. The company targets its offering at firms desiring analytics for the applications they are developing.
SignalFx offers four primary value propositions: accessibility, performance, cost reduction, and brand/status.
The company creates accessibility by offering a wide variety of options. It enables users to create tailored analytics pipelines on metrics data obtained from thousands of sources.
The company offers convenience by making analysis easier. It collects data from various sources, including databases, servers, applications, and tools, to establish a unified view of applications in the Cloud. It also allows customers to conduct analyses within seconds of obtaining the data.
The company has demonstrated strong performance through tangible results for clients. High-profile examples of positive results for customers include the following:
- Clever used SignalFx’s solution to significantly reduce operational failures and alert noise through real-time analytics, and enable teams to troubleshoot their own services
- Viki used SignalFx’s solution to conduct real-time analysis of trends by instrumenting merics at one-second intervals with numerous dimensions
- Sunrun used SignalFx’s solution to extend product class alerting and monitoring to its entire infrastructure, improve core app performance, and increase customer satisfaction
- Tapjoy used SignalFx’s solution to enable its entire team to create metrics for their own services and to correlate business KPIs with infrastructure and service metrics
- Symphony used SignalFx’s solution to combine business, infrastructure, and applications metrics and build a real-time view of its whole business
The company reduces costs through its policy for overage fees. It does not charge customers any surge prices, penalties, or other hidden costs for overages.
The company has established a strong brand as a result of its performance. It is used by thousands of customers, including prominent firms such as Cisco, HubSpot, Yelp, and Zenefits.
SignalFx’s main channel is its direct sales team. The company promotes its offering through its website, social media pages, webinars, and participation in conferences.
SignalFx’s customer relationship is primarily of a self-service, automated nature. Customers utilize the service through the main platform while having limited interaction with employees.
The company’s website features a “Resource Library” that includes self-help resources such as eBooks, solution briefs, case studies, webinars, videos, and integrations.
SignalFx’s business model entails maintaining a robust software platform for its customers.
SignalFx belongs to two partnership programs:
- Ecosystem Technology Partner (ETP) Program – This program, founded by Docker, consists of companies that have integrated Docker products into their offerings. SignalFx customers can use its solution to monitor Dockerized apps at any scale.
- Confluent Partner Program – This program aims to promote greater usage of Apache Kafka, an open-source messaging system. SignalFx integrates the product into its offering and alerts customers with metrics from the Confluent platform, enabling monitoring of Kafka metrics.
SignalFx’s main resource is its proprietary software platform, which serves thousands of customers.
It also depends on its human resources in the form of engineering staff to maintain and update the platform and sales/marketing staff to promote it. Its technology employees come from respected companies such as Google, Facebook, and Yahoo!
Lastly, as a relatively new startup it has relied heavily on funding from outside parties, raising $28.5 million from two investors as of January 2015.
SignalFx has a cost-driven structure, aiming to minimize expenses through significant automation and low-price value propositions.
Its biggest cost driver is likely sales/marketing, a fixed expense. Other major drivers are in the areas of customer support/operations and administration, both fixed costs.
SignalFx has one revenue stream: revenues generated from the subscription fees it charges for access to its SaaS platform.
The company utilizes a usage-based pricing model based on a client’s data ingest rate. It recommends a baseline payment of $15 per server per month, which assumes a usage rate of about 1,000 data points per minute. That said, it offers volume discounts. Customers can choose to be billed monthly or annually.
info: Karthik earned a B.S. and M.S. in Industrial Engineering at Stanford University. He previously served as VP of Products and Engineering at Delphix, VP of Product Management and Worldwide Marketing at VMware, and Senior Product Manager at Loudcloud.
info: Phillip earned a B.S. in Computer Science at San Francisco State University. He previously served as a Software Architect at Facebook and as a Chief Architect at Opsware. He has over 20 years of experience in distributed systems.
info: Patrick earned a Bachelor’s degree and MSEE at Stanford University and an MBA at INSEAD. He previously served as SVP of Product Management at Jive Software, VP of Product Management at VMware, and Group Product Manager at Veritas Software.
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