Above: The first six members of the Keen IO team
For many startups, fundraising is a long and arduous process, with more obstacles that foreseen, and with disappointing results. But for web dev analytics startup Keen IO, this round was the opposite.
Today, the company is announcing its first round of institutional funding, to the tune of $11.3 million.
Keen IO develops application programming interfaces (APIs) for custom analytics so that its customers can easily set up what they want to measure and let Keen IO handle the back-end infrastructure for it.
It’s “infrastructure that lets developers do science in the cloud,” as cofounder and chief executive Kyle Wild told VentureBeat.
Wild also said that he was surprised by this round’s process and results. Keen IO got big-name VC firm Sequoia Capital to lead the round.
“I just didn’t expect such a name brand firm to understand it or want to invest. When I talk to VCs, they tend to think that I’m fucking crazy. … And they tend not to agree with our principles,” said Wild.
“They all said there’s no market between Hadoop and Mixpanel. … And that’s because we’re gonna make it,” he added. Hadoop is a popular software framework used to handle complex big data, and Mixpanel offers simple drag-and-drop website and app testing tools.
The new funding will mean some big changes for Keen IO. For one, it will finally have a marketing budget – it’s currently in the process of making its first marketing hire. And while it plans to continue with its inbound-sales approach — Wild is opposed to cold calling and other such sales techniques — it will begin to build a sales and support team to handle the increased business Wild said should start rolling in as the company grows its marketing efforts.
It will also put some of that new money into its open source projects, which is the company’s approach to content marketing, according to Wild. Instead of building out a company blog or other content materials, Keen IO uses its open source projects to evangelize its products to potential and existing customers.
“Code is the new content marketing,” said Wild. The company’s vice president of engineering has recently refocused his duties on leading the open source team.
“The big product investment is really just a lot more open source stuff. Developers want more science underneath it, and that’s what we provide. The alternative to us is to build your own” analytics tools, said Wild.
Sequoia Capital led the round, with additional participation from previous investors Pelion Venture Partners, Amplify Partners, Rincon Venture Partners, Morris Wheeler, and Cloud Power Capital. Sequoia partner Aaref Hilaly is joining the company’s board as part of the deal.
Keen IO was founded in 2011 by Dan Kador, Ryan Spraetz, and Wild and is based in San Francisco. Keen IO was part of Techstars Cloud’s class of 2012. It previously raised $3.2 million in seed funding from investors such as 500Startups, and Matt Ocko and Zack Bogue of the big data-focused firm Data Collective.
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