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Last spring, Kapil Thangavelu and Travis Stanfield quit their tech jobs to launch Stacklet and help companies secure and manage their cloud networks.
Then the coronavirus was declared a global pandemic.
“Markets were in free fall and companies did not know what to do,” said Thangavelu, an Arlington local who founded Cloud Custodian, a popular open-source solution for securing and managing cloud systems, while working at Capital One.
Six months later, Stacklet — which builds on Cloud Custodian and provides professional services that an open-source project cannot — was starting paying off. The Clarendon-based company had raised $4 million in funding in August.
Last month, investors pitched in $18 million. Stanfield said that money will help realize his goal for 2021: to raise the company’s public profile. With the funding, the co-founders plan to hire more staff in engineering, marketing, sales and customer success and publicize the existence of Stacklet.
The company is backed by prominent investors, including renowned venture capitalist Lee Fixel, who has also backed Spotify and Peloton, and Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Foundation Capital. In this round of funding, Stacklet also gained a new individual investor: Liam Randall.
Randall is an Arlington local who “believe[s] in Stacklet so much [he] joined the company.” He was most recently the vice president of software innovation at Capital One.
The forced remote work of 2020 has accelerated the need among companies to transition their software and services to the cloud, and many are turning to Cloud Custodian, which means investors are turning their sights on Stacklet, Randall said. That is because Stacklet gives companies the extra support and features Cloud Custodian cannot, Stanfield said.
“Open source is amazing, and the best way to develop certain kinds of software, but open source does not solve some of the real, material concerns that enterprises have,” the Stacklet co-founder said. “They want to know that they have a team that they can work with that prioritizes their needs.”
If the cloud is a metaphorical road in terms of what it enables users to do with their computing vehicles, Stacklet provides the guardrails, Randall said.
“We help people to know that they can use the cloud safely without accidentally driving off the cliff,” he said. “The cloud does let you configure things how you want them, and frequently, there are accidental configuring errors that lead to security implications, governance implications and cost implications.”
Often, Thangavelu added, cloud security relies on companies and employees “making the right choices all the time,” as physical security relies on people not forgetting to lock their doors.
But sometimes, people forget and do things online that could compromise a company’s cloud network.
“Whatever accidents happen, Cloud Custodian and Stacklet ensure the overall organization and customers’ data are secure,” as well as cost-efficient and well-managed, Thangavelu said.
One year ago, Stanfield said he and Thangavelu were nervous about the future, taking on a huge risk as the world was shutting down to combat the coronavirus.
Instead, this past year contained the moments that Stanfield said “have given us the confidence that this is good.”