Exclusive: This Startup Just Nabbed $5 Million to Solve a Thorny Software Problem
Backplane, a startup that says it can help companies manage the complex software deployments of the cloud computing era, now has $5 million in seed funding—and a service it says can ease the headaches of deploying new-age software.
Now that nearly every business, whether it’s a media company or an automaker, also builds its own software for its website or employee sites, the pain of building and running business software is ubiquitous.
San Francisco-based Backplane says its newly available Backplane Core service will help those companies manage how their data flows whether it ends up running on Amazon Web Services (AMZN) or some other cloud data center, internal data centers, or all of the above.
Company founder Blake Mizerany was the first engineer hired at Heroku, a popular software development platform purchased by Salesforce (CRM) for $212 million seven years ago and, more recently, CoreOS, so he knows a lot about how software is built.
With companies using software containers, mixing and matching various services, and putting their processes in various clouds, the problem is how to manage an efficient and secure data flow between on-premises data centers and various clouds.
That’s a lot of complexity. Companies now have to think about what’s running in various cloud data center regions and virtual public clouds (VPCs) within those configurations. (VPCs are computing resources in a shared public cloud and cordoned off for use by a single customer.)
“Customers would ask how we did this at Heroku, and my sad answer was that we had to build all our own load balancers and proxy servers and let them spread traffic across data centers to the cloud,” Mizerany tells Fortune. The truth is that most companies don’t want to have to worry about that stuff, so the new Backplane Core service, available as of now, will take that off their plate, he says.
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Byron Sebastian, Heroku’s former CEO and a former senior vice president at Salesforce, advises the company. The explosive changes in how software is built and deployed—much of it the work of companies like Heroku— has caused a bit of what he calls a “hangover.”
“How do you manage all these different services? How do they find and secure one another? Right now, the answer to that is a lot of difficult manual labor,” Sebastian says. “Blake’s idea is to put more power into the hands of technologists and let them manage the network connectivity.”
The big promise of Backplane Core, he continues, is it will give customers one dashboard to manage that data flow, regardless of where it happens.
The seed round was led by Baseline Ventures with a contribution from Harrison Metal. Backplane and its nine employees will use the funding for further investment in sales, marketing, and product development.