French startup Keymetrics just raised $2 million from Alven Capital and Runa Capital to build the best monitoring tool for your Node.js infrastructure. The startup’s founder and CEO Alexandre Strzelewicz also created the popular open source Node.js process manager PM2.
How do you turn a popular open source project into a successful startup? This question has so many different answers that sometimes it’s hard to find the right one from the first try, and Keymetrics is no exception.
A few years ago, when Strzelewicz developed PM2 while living in Shanghai, he was just trying to create a better process manager for Node.js because existing solutions were lacking. He didn’t expect that his open source release would take off on Hacker News, attracting contributors working from Google and living in Brazil and Japan.
With PM2, you can make sure that your Node.js service is always going to remain available because PM2 can reboot your app if there’s a crash. PM2 can also replicate an application and balance queries across all these applications if there’s a big traffic peak.
While everything I just said may sound complicated if you’re not a developer, thousands of Node.js developers are now following the Github repository and there have been more than 20 million downloads of PM2 in total. Node.js itself has also become a lot more popular lately. Keymetrics just launched a neat map to visualize PM2 downloads in real time — it’s a live version fo the embedded GIF at the top of this article.
So Strzelewicz legitimately thought that he was onto something and developed Keymetrics. If you’re using PM2 for your infrastructure, Keymetrics is the perfect companion service. It makes it easy to monitor and manage apps across servers with a real-time dashboard that you can set up in very little time.
“Keymetrics is a software-as-a-service dashboard that connects directly to one or multiple PM2 instances,” Strzelewicz told me. “It lets you get performance metrics for your PM2-managed applications. And it lets you get notifications when your application crash or when you’re running out of computing resources.”
In early 2015, Keymetrics attended Techstars NYC and things started to look good. But there was one missing feature. The startup hadn’t launched its paid offering yet. So Keymetrics couldn’t raise after Techstars and everybody but Strzelewicz left to do other things.
Slowly but surely, Strzelewicz rebuilt the company from scratch. He first implemented the paid offering and then got his first client — the official website of the city of Paris.
There are many application performance management solution out there, such as NewRelic, Appdynamics and Dynatrace. But Keymetrics is arguably the best option if you’re already running PM2.
Keymetrics tracks metrics every second, so it feels like a real-time dashboard. This way, you get alerts instantly. You can also extract reports and get insights on your current codebase and infrastructure.
So far, Keymetrics has around a hundred clients, but the company plans to go to the next level with today’s funding round. Clients pay around $90 per month on average.
It’s easy to get blinded by fundraising announcements. And sure enough, tech journalists are also part of the fundraising cheerleading problem. But don’t get fooled.
Starting a startup is incredibly hard. Sometimes, you’ll spend months working alone, hoping that it’ll end up working. The struggle isn’t as sexy as an overnight success. But overnight successes are a myth.
When tech entrepreneurs struggle early, they tend to be more resilient with what’s coming next. Let’s see if Keymetrics also follows this pattern.