Metrist, a startup that helps IT teams stay on top of breaks between the many cloud services they use to run their own applications, announced today that it has raised a $5.5 million seed round from companies including Heavybit, Morado Ventures, as well as PagerDuty co-founder Alex Solomon and StatusPage co-founders Scott and Steve Klein.
The overall idea behind Metrist is pretty simple, but there are surprisingly few companies doing this. While products like Twitter or StatusPage (now owned by Atlassian) allow companies to easily communicate issues with their services to their users, they don’t always reflect every problem and degradation of the service — which is then raised when the time comes to review an SLA agreement or a contract comes up for renewal and the two parties have very different perceptions of a product’s reliability. And while application performance monitoring and observability tools like New Relic or Honeycomb can give you some of this data, it’s not their primary use case, as these services tend to be inward-facing.
“Apps are built on top of other apps today,” Metrist co-founder and CEO Jeff Martens told me. “That means if one of them crashes or degrades or has a problem, your app and your business could suffer the same fate. But current observability tools don’t do anything special about these external dependencies – they still focus inward. You can learn things about your external dependencies — it’s not that you can’t know — but the challenge really becomes verification so you can take action, but then hold your suppliers accountable.”
More than anything else, Metrist wants to be the trusted neutral player that buyers and sellers can refer to when discussing holidays. The service will be successful, Martens said, when Metrists signs a contract as an independent validator of an SLA.
“Too many of the incidents posted on StatusPage simply refer to legacy or third-party providers,” said StatusPage co-founder Steve Klein. “It’s exciting that Metrist is getting to the root of the problem, creating visibility where there was none before.”
Technically, Metrist uses either an agent or eBPF to collect data about the services a company is running, but it also continuously checks for service outages and degradations from 21 different cloud regions in AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure. Out of the box, Metrist covers more than 100 services, but customers can also host their own tests or use in-app tests. The team noted that these tests also go beyond simply checking for a correct HTTP response code.
“It’s not just like pinging an API and saying, ‘does this URL return 200 or 202?'” Let’s say you hit an endpoint and it’s supposed to create a thing on that platform — we’re actually going to call Retrieval API later to see how long it took to build this thing,” explained Metrist co-founder and CTO Ryan Duffield.
Customers also have a lot of flexibility when and how they are notified of an issue. For some, a two percent increase in latency may be unacceptable, while for others, this is not a problem, for example. Notifications can go to Slack, Datadog via email, or PagerDuty (and users can also create their own notification systems using webhooks).
While Metrist is only announcing its funding today, it’s worth noting that the team raised this amount in two different raises, including a pre-seed before the product even existed. Both happened proactively, Martens explained, without the team actually going for a raise. This was just before the economy and funding environment changed.
“Modern applications depend on an ever-increasing number of cloud products managed by external vendors, but the overall approach to observability has not changed. You wouldn’t dream of running your internal services blindly, and you need to manage your cloud dependencies with the same care,” explained Heavybit General Partner Joe Ruscio. “Metrist enables teams to proactively know when an external service is down, with the goal of preventing or mitigating incidents stemming from dependencies. Metrist’s approach to third-party observability ensures that teams authoritatively know when SLAs are not being met.
Metrist offers a free plan that lets you track up to three services with one day of data retention. Paid plans start at $99/month for seven services and seven days of data retention.