Our start-up of the week is Hosted Graphite, a Dublin-based company that provides analytics and monitoring of software as a service (SaaS) to tech businesses.
“We help companies monitor their technology,” explained Dave Concannon, co-founder of Hosted Graphite.
“You send us data from your servers, applications, or infrastructure such as Amazon Web Services and we give you real-time graphs of what is happening.
‘Raising money isn’t the first step towards success; building something people want is’
– DAVE CONCANNON
“We send you alerts when the data does something unexpected so you can fix it before your customers are affected. If you have one server or thousands of servers, we can help.”
Hosted Graphite’s product directly serves developers and network operations teams.
“We’re serving customers ranging from individual developers working on small apps to large companies you’ve heard of sending millions of metrics from tens of thousands of servers.
“We’re aiming for any company with a technical component to their business; increasingly this means everyone. Any development team worth their salt monitors their applications – we want to be the go-to choice for that.”
Concannon and his co-founder Charlie von Metzradt are both graduates of computer science at Dublin City University and spent several years as developers in various companies.
“We used to kick different business ideas back and forth over email, picking them apart at the seams until we found the killer flaw.
“This was the idea that survived the nitpicking.”
“We run a highly scalable data collector that processes tens of billions of data points every day,” Concannon continued.
“We’ve essentially taken the good parts of the open-source Graphite project and supercharged them, while addressing missing needs such as alerting and integrations to other technologies like Amazon Web Services, continuous integration, logging, and testing tools.
“If there’s some useful technology that a development team are using, we want to collect it and display it all meaningfully in one place.”
Concannon explained that Hosted Graphite intends to keep growing organically and profitably in a way that supports satisfied customers.
“We want to create a company that will keep our team interested in working at it for a long time. “We’ve just hired two more people to help us grow the service, and we’re growing at a steady clip. We’ve doubled in revenue every year for the last few years and plan to continue.”
Hosted Graphite is in the unusual position of being a start-up that is not looking for investment.
“We’re at a position where aside from unknown existential threats, the business is profitable and mostly de-risked. Unless we find an amazing opportunity that could [increase] the company [hundredfold] (and our investors’ faith in us), we’re not particularly drawn to raising money.”
While things are healthy, the start-up journey has not been without its share of challenges.
“When self-funding a business, there’s always more work than resources available to do it. We’re somewhere between a software service and a hosting company, and the problem with running a hosting company is that your service needs to be up and available to your customers 100pc of the time.
“In the early days, running a company with only two people and the inevitable problems that occur meant that some weeks you got far less sleep and far more stress than you needed.”
Ireland’s start-up scene is maturing
Concannon said that the start-up scene in Ireland seems more mature and more optimistic than five or six years ago.
“I think there are more concrete examples of success coming out of the country with Intercom, Trustev, Barricade, and Orchestra that make running a start-up a far more viable option.
“I like to believe that the Irish attitude to life means that start-ups get less caught up in the success theatre of ‘who raised what amount of money’, and tend to focus on the things that matter: customer growth, profitable revenue, and solid products people want to use.”
Concannon said that funding isn’t everything. “Raising money isn’t the first step towards success; building something people want is.
“Reach out to people who have done it before, they’re happy to help and it’ll shortcut your learning immensely. It’s never been a better time to start – if you can find ten people you don’t know personally who will pay you every month for a product or service, then you have something with promise. Stick at it.”