Cribl Raises $200M in Series C Funding on Traction with Global Enterprise Customers, Vision to Unlock Value of all Observability Data

Clint Sharp
Written by Clint Sharp

August 25, 2021

It’s a big day for Cribl. We are pleased to announce we have closed our Series C round of funding co-led by Greylock Partners & Redpoint Ventures. Additionally, the round was joined by new investor IVP, with participation from Sequoia, CRV, and Citi Ventures. In total, we’ve raised $200m, making Cribl a unicorn observability pure play and validating the value we’re delivering to customers on our mission to unlock the value of all observability data.

The shift to the cloud and microservices architectures have driven massive growth in observability data. The pandemic-led shift to remote work and the security-led shift to zero trust is creating massively greater volumes of security data. Most of the most popular observability tooling was architected for a time when it was a huge innovation to put petabytes of storage on commodity machines instead of expensive SAN storage. Current tooling is suffering from being software architected for the datacenter lifted and shifted to the cloud. Cloud native concepts like object storage are bolted on to most tooling rather than being architected natively for the cloud, and current systems struggle to elastically scale.

As a company, Cribl believes in solving problems from first principles. We do not simply look at the market and try to make a better, faster, cheaper version of existing concepts. We see enterprises wanting to shift to the cloud and utilize cost- effective object storage. We see that enterprises are living with a multi system reality, and they want to manage a portfolio of tools, some in the cloud, some on-prem, to meet their needs in observability, security, and compliance. We see organizations struggling to integrate new cloud data sources and easily route data to the right tools on-prem and in the cloud. We see they want to experiment with new tools without adding new agents everywhere. We see the value they get out of their existing platforms, and we hear from them they want to maximize the value of their existing investments. We see they need a new path forward – to evolve to enterprise observability allowing them to process massively greater volumes of data while fitting within their existing budgets.

We see the need for a new architecture.

One that makes it possible to unlock the value of ALL observability data and is purpose built for hyper-scale, enterprise observability. An architecture that collects every bit of data generated at all times, regardless of location, processes it in real-time at petabyte-scale, and stores it for as long as its required and can recall it instantly. The existing world of overlapping silos created by separate tools is coming to an end driven by dramatic growth of distributed systems, increasing sophistication of security attacks, and increasing requirements of privacy and compliance in a distributed world.

Our flagship product, LogStream, was our first step and has pioneered the new concept of observability pipelines in the enterprise providing the simplicity, flexibility, and control to instrument everything regardless of the data’s destination. Today’s announcement allows us to accelerate our vision for enterprise observability architecture.

Our investors are validating this vision for a new architecture for enterprise observability, where enterprises can maintain a portfolio of data collectors, and a portfolio of data stores, where the right data can be stored in the right data store based on the enterprise’s requirements. This new architecture is centered around three new concepts: ubiquitous instrumentation at all times, a hyper-scale observability pipeline for refining massive volumes of data and routing to data stores, and an observability lake that allows for storage of massive volumes of full fidelity raw data which can be queried, replayed, and used for large scale analysis, including machine learning and artificial intelligence. In this new architecture, teams can onboard new tools with ease without having to build new collection infrastructure. Existing tools in the enterprise can be optimized for its best use, without compromising data fidelity. Enterprises no longer need to chase the myth of a single pane of glass, hoping to get everything they need from one vendor. Instead, in Cribl’s vision of the future, enterprises get the advantage of centralized collection and storage of observability and security data while giving IT, Security, DevOps, and SRE teams the best tools for their jobs.

Our New Investors

Cribl approaches fundraising the same way we approach our products: from first principles. Raising money is a non-trivial investment in time for the company. As is easily observed from watching the news, it is a red-hot funding market and there are many options available to us based on our phenomenal market traction. So, as a leadership team, we established a number of goals we wanted to accomplish with this raise.

First, we wanted to attract experienced operational talent to the board room, to give us a perspective of someone who’s seen this journey from the inside. Second, we wanted to attract investors with deep domain experience in our space, to bring a perspective of having seen the journey across many successful infrastructure software companies. Thirdly, we wanted to bring investors from top brands who were passionate and genuinely helpful.

With this round, we feel we accomplished all these goals and more. We’re very excited to have David Wadhwani, venture partner at Greylock, joining us as a board observer. David is the former CEO of AppDynamics and current Chief Business Officer at Adobe. His experience leading organizations through dramatic growth and transitions will be invaluable to us over the coming years. As a firm, Greylock has invested in some of the most notable names in technology: Facebook, LinkedIn, AppDynamics, Okta, Palo Alto, and more.

We’re equally excited to be working with Scott Raney at Redpoint. Scott’s a legendary investor, having led investments in Stripe, Twilio, Hashicorp, LaunchDarkly, and more. Scott’s depth of experience in infrastructure software investing is second to none. Redpoint has one of the strongest track records in the Valley, backing iconic companies like: Snowflake, Netflix, Zuora, Looker, and many more.

Also joining us in this round is new investor Cack Wilhelm at IVP. I’ve known Cack since the earliest days of Cribl (when we weren’t even yet Cribl), and I’m so happy the timing finally worked out for us to work together. Cack is one of the most genuinely helpful investors I’ve ever worked with. Not to distract from Cack’s strength as a great investor, we’re also happy to be able to use this opportunity to add some diversity to the cap table with our first female lead investor. IVP as a firm has backed some of the best known names in tech: Datadog, Dropbox, GitHub, Slack, and more.

Last but far from least, we’re thrilled to have our existing investors Max Gazor at CRV and Pat Grady at Sequoia join the round. Working with Max & Pat as investors and peers continues to be one of the great honors of my career.

What Are You Going to Do With All That Money?

No doubt, $200m is a lot of money. Similar to picking who we would raise money from, we also took a very deliberate, first principles approach to deciding how much to raise. Capital is abundant in today’s market, and it’s certainly common to just pick a valuation and amount, raise a round, toss the money in the bank, and move on. Putting money in our bank on great terms is certainly a good enough reason to raise capital, but if we were going to raise additional capital we felt we should do so with intent.

In June, I asked our leadership team to put together an aggressive plan for expansion in 2022 that would double down on our existing success. This hypothetical future fundraise would continue the rapid expansion we’ve undergone in 2020 and 2021. I was frankly blown away with the ambition and conviction of Cribl’s leadership team, and I left that exercise with confidence we not only could raise capital but we could effectively deploy that capital.

One of my key learnings over the last 4 years is that software is fundamentally a people business. Much of what is discussed or what’s published is about the technology: the right way to do this, the best architecture for that. Behind all great software is a team of great people. Cribl will be using this raise to expand in every function. Cribl is the best place I’ve ever worked, and we can’t wait to welcome hundreds of new Criblanians as a direct result of this raise.

No technology gets adopted that no one has heard of. Firstly, we will be continuing our work to raise awareness of our new vision of observability centered around an observability pipeline. We need engineers in IT, Security, SRE, DevOps, NOCs, SOCs, and more to be aware there is a better approach that works with their existing solutions they love.

Secondly, nearly every enterprise I’ve ever met needs help positioning a product like LogStream internally and helping deploy the solution. We’ll be continuing our field expansion, adding reps in every major market in North America along with expansion in Europe. We’ll be continuing to expand our best in class sales engineering, customer success, and support functions making sure customers have everything they need to be successful with our products.

Lastly, Cribl from the beginning was envisioned as a multi-product company. We’ve already started down that path with our second product, AppScope, and expect to see more from us in the coming year. We have many exciting innovations planned, and we’ll be continuing our rapid expansion of our engineering function to ensure we have the resources to not only continue to expand our existing portfolio, including content and solutions, along with new offerings.

Wrapping Up

There’s a lot of debate in startup circles whether fundraising is really something to be celebrated. As someone who’s done it a few times now and knows how much work it is, I’m firmly in the celebration camp! It’s a big moment of validation and a proof point of years worth of work to bring in new investors. For Cribl, we are so incredibly grateful to be backed by the best of the best in VC: CRV, Sequoia, Greylock, Redpoint, and IVP.

Customers are adopting our vision for enterprise observability. These customers can truly collect everything, process the data in the stream and store in any system, including a full fidelity copy in their observability lakes. We’ve seen first-hand that these customers are getting massive value from our new approach to their problems. Customers are hungry for more from us: more features, more products, more help. We’ll be expanding to give them more, and to help raise awareness of the value customers can get from our approach.

Most importantly, if our customers first approach, along with our other values like being irreverent but serious, transparent, together and doacratic, resonate with you, we’d love to work with you. Check out our jobs page!

We’ll be hosting a webinar tomorrow to discuss the announcement in more detail. We hope you’ll join us!

Questions about our technology? We’d love to chat with you.