General Atlantic Backing Chronosphere as an Emerging Growth Disruptor

General Atlantic investors Anton Levy, Co-President and Global Head of Technology, and Christine Kang, Vice President, share their experience of forming a strong relationship with Chronosphere and what the future holds for our partnership.

As a pioneer in the growth equity asset class, General Atlantic has focused on backing innovative, market-leading companies since inception. As tech investors, we are continually looking to identify the next category leader with world-changing potential. Over our 40+ year history, we have deployed nearly $25 billion into tech-enabled companies around the world, with a focus on mid-stage, fast-growing businesses. In recent years, we’ve found and invested in “emerging growth” leaders – companies that demonstrate true breakout potential earlier in their growth trajectory and management teams we want to partner with. Chronosphere, founded by Martin Mao (CEO) and Rob Skillington (CTO), fits perfectly within that model.

Chronosphere is an end-to-end monitoring product built on top of M3, a large scale, open-source time-series database and one of the largest production metrics platforms in the world. Martin and Rob first built M3 while at Uber, in which General Atlantic invested in early 2015. M3 was and continues to be the backbone of Uber’s massive-scaled data monitoring infrastructure.

When Chronosphere was spun out of Uber in the summer of 2019, we knew we had a unique opportunity to partner with Martin and Rob to realize their longer-term vision to transform data monitoring with a next-generation solution for today’s large enterprises. Though Chronosphere is early stage as a standalone business, we were comfortable given our familiarity with two seemingly simple – but deeply important and special – traits: team and technology. Because of these “two Ts,” underpinned by the vast total addressable market and the increasingly prevalent pain points that Chronosphere’s solution addresses, we became incredibly excited about the opportunity to be an early contributing partner in the company’s long-term growth story.

Team: Battle-Tested Entrepreneurship

Martin and Rob are close friends who are both also successful entrepreneurs that we came to know through their previous ventures. From the beginning, their entrepreneurial drive and engineering talent was apparent. By 2015, the two had reunited at Uber and led Uber’s metrics and monitoring team, with Martin as the Engineering Manager and Rob as the Technical Lead. They were working to solve one of the most central problems at Uber – the need for a better, faster monitoring system that could handle the massive amounts of data the rapidly-growing company was producing – and build a solution from the ground up. The result was M3, a fully customized and highly performant system offering better availability and scalability, and the only platform capable of handling Uber’s immense volume of time series data. Their impact was significant in reducing data flow delays, maximizing revenue, and improving user experience, all at a meaningfully lower cost than the incumbent solution at Uber.

Martin and Rob also had the foresight and instinct to build M3 in open source, seeing a wider-scale application for this solution across multiple companies and industries, beyond Uber. With their proven leadership and demonstrated passion for the solutions they’ve built, we believe in Martin and Rob’s entrepreneurial vision as the Chronosphere solution is rolled out at scale in the company’s new chapter.

Technology: Highly Differentiated and Highly Validated

In creating M3, Martin and Rob made a fundamental bet that the companies of today and tomorrow would look a lot like Uber, with data volume doubling or even tripling each year, and that any unexpected outage or disruption in service would pose financial – and even reputational – risks. They foresaw that packaged legacy software would become inadequate.

The Chronosphere value proposition is clear: better, faster, and cheaper monitoring of data, at significant cost efficiency versus its legacy peers. With M3 as an engine, and with Chronosphere’s value-added solutions layered on top, the team has created an end-to-end product that is highly differentiated. The platform compresses, stores, and queries data orders of magnitude faster and more efficiently, with a 10x+ cost advantage versus competitors.

Even at this early stage, Chronosphere is in the incredible position of having had its technology validated and refined by one of the world’s largest internet companies. It took approximately 20 engineers three years and over 370,000 lines of code to create M3, not to mention having it constantly tested against one of the largest use cases in the world. All of Uber has been running on M3 since 2015, and M3 is now the technology used at many other Fortune 500 companies. We were also drawn to Chronosphere’s open-source heritage; open source is an area in which we see some of the most cutting-edge innovation currently taking place and resulting in multi-billion dollar companies like Databricks, Confluent, and Starburst. The possibilities of what can be built from fundamentally differentiated open source technology are immense.

TAM: Undeniable Need in the Market

Conversations with CEOs and CIOs of large enterprises across industries reveal the market need for Chronosphere’s product. Companies need a scalable, reliable, and cost-effective solution for monitoring. And the majority of enterprise executives want their development teams to monitor as much as possible without being hindered by the cost of doing so. This is a tall order, but one that Chronosphere is able to deliver on.

Chronosphere’s turnkey technology is now table-stakes for any large enterprise looking to effectively manage data infrastructure, with the option to begin in open source M3, enterprise M3, or with the company’s SaaS product. We are excited by the use cases that Chronosphere is exploring in partnership with their customers and based on the data they are collecting – beyond just monitoring, we see the potential for fully verticalized offerings, as many industries, such as  IoT, finance, and healthcare are all generating very high frequency time series data and require analysis of very large datasets.

Ultimately, we are in the very early innings in this exciting wave of innovation in infrastructure monitoring, and we view Chronosphere as leading this next wave of disruption. In our work together, we plan to draw on General Atlantic’s deep expertise in helping businesses scale to grow Chronosphere’s customer base and bench of talent. We’re looking forward to partnering with Martin, Rob, and the full Chronosphere team over the long term to continue innovating, disrupting, and growing.

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