Why Chronosphere is the rarest kind of unicorn

on October 7th 2021
Blog
•  company

Today we shared monster news that Chronosphere raised $200 million in Series C funding and now, as a privately held startup valued at over $1 billion, we’ve achieved unicorn status. I am beyond proud of the work our team has done to reach this milestone, and beyond excited for what’s still to come. 

Chronosphere is that rare kind of unicorn

You may be asking yourself – why is Martin still writing? What more is there to say on the topic?? Lately it seems like there’s a unicorn born almost every day … no big deal. 

True – if you make the mistake of judging a unicorn based on valuation alone.

Chronosphere is a rare kind of unicorn because of how we got here. That may sound like a parental boast, so I have summed up a few reasons why Chronosphere’s unicorn status is unique, and why there’s more to our story than a $1 billion-plus valuation.

Unicorn status was lightning fast

A mere two years ago, Chronosphere was still in stealth mode and it was just my co-founder, Rob Skillington, and me working pandemic-style. I was huddled in the laundry room of my condo, and Rob was working from a desk tucked into a corner of his living room. Blink – Chronosphere is a unicorn. Going from zero to unicorn status in 2.3 years, this is rare. In fact, according to Pitchbook, Chronosphere is now in the top 10 fastest B2B SaaS unicorns. EVER.  

Martin Mao

Tiny (but rapidly growing) team 

We reached unicorn level with a team of only 80 people, most of whom joined during the past year … and in the midst of a pandemic. The textbook term for a unicorn team this size is “tiny.” Small as it is, the team of 80 is world class, which has made it possible to reach this milestone, and as fast as we did. The good news is, we are growing rapidly, and expect to surpass 110 Chronospherians by year’s end – this means we are hiring! Chronosphere prides itself on providing an inclusive, positive, learning environment – please check out our careers page for a role that fits you and come join the team.

Backed by real business numbers

Last month we shared the news that Chronosphere’s multi-million dollar ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue) grew by 9x so far in 2021, and that we are doing 6- and 7-figure deals. This means Chronosphere’s unicorn status happened on the back of record-breaking ARR growth.

As noisy as the unicorn news has been, the reality is only a handful of companies ever get to this stage. According to AngelList, a venture-backed, seed-stage startup only has an estimated 1 in 40 (or 2.5%!) shot of becoming a unicorn today.

How many of those companies can prove that their $billion valuation is more than perception? Chronosphere can. At a little more than two years old, we are already showing momentum, and our velocity is backed by real business numbers. Yet another reason why we are a special kind of unicorn.

Investors keep coming 

With our Series C funding, we have raised a total of $255 million. It is a great sign for us that all of our existing investors decided to double-down on us with Anton Levy from General Atlantic leading the round. We’re looking forward to the continued support by Jerry Chen from Greylock Partners, Brandon Reeves from Lux Capital, and Lee Fixel from Addition. We’re equally as excited to start working with Brian Singerman from Founders Fund, Yasmin Razavi from Spark Capital, and Kim Moore from Glynn Capital. 

Where do we go from here?

Chronosphere still has most of our previous capital on hand. If we wanted to grow at a healthy rate that was slower – but more typical of the olden days (aka 2 years ago) – we could have continued on, status quo, without a Series C round. 

But that’s not our reality. Chronosphere has been executing on record growth, which demonstrates how differentiated the product we offer really is. It also demonstrates overall market demand for a true Observability platform as more companies adopt cloud-native architecture. This means that we need to grow even faster next year, and the funding will continue to help us: 

  • Grow the go-to-market team.
  • Go after more segments of the market.
  • Continually expand the product capabilities.

Three phases of observability: Distributed tracing 

For a glimpse into Chronosphere’s laser-focused growth plans, look no further than today’s distributed tracing announcement. With support for distributed tracing and root-cause capabilities, we are taking a giant step forward on the three phases of observability

There’s plenty more to do in observability, and we are just getting started. But rest assured, we are doubling down on more product enhancements next year – we’ll be rolling out capabilities at a faster pace, and being a unicorn is the surest way for us to get there. 

I still beam into our company All Hands from the laundry room on occasion. Our remote-first work / lifestyle continues, so it’s both a necessity and for kicks. I’ll admit … I kind of look forward to someday streaming into the NASDAQ with those front loaders behind me.

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