Grafana Labs, the commercial company built to support the open-source Grafana project, announced a healthy $24 million Series A investment today. Lightspeed Venture Partners led the round with participation from Lead Edge Capital.
Company CEO and co-founder Raj Dutt says the startup started life as a way to offer a commercial layer on top of the open-source Grafana tool, but it has expanded and now supports other projects, including Loki, an open-source monitoring tool not unlike Prometheus, which the company developed last year.
All of this in the service of connecting to data sources and monitoring data. “Grafana has always been about connecting data together no matter where it lives, whether it’s in a proprietary database, on-prem database or cloud database. There are over 42 data sources that Grafana connects together,” Dutt explained.
But the company has expanded far beyond that. As it describes the product set, “Our products have begun to evolve to unify into a single offering: the world’s first composable open-source observability platform for metrics, logs and traces. Centered around Grafana.” This is exactly where other monitoring and logging tools like Elastic, New Relic and Splunk have been heading this year. The term “observability” is a term that’s been used often to describe these combined capabilities of metrics, logging and tracing.
Grafana Labs is the commercial arm of the open-source projects, and offers a couple of products built on top of these tools. First of all it has Grafana Enterprise, a package that includes enterprise-focused data connectors, enhanced authentication and security and enterprise-class support over and above what the open-source Grafana tool offers.
The company also offers a SaaS version of the Grafana tool stack, which is fully managed and takes away a bunch of the headaches of trying to download raw open-source code, install it, manage it and deal with updates and patches. In the SaaS version, all of that is taken care of for the customer for a monthly fee.
Dutt says the startup took just $4 million in external investment over the first five years, and has been able to build a business with 100 employees and 500 customers. He is particularly proud of the fact that the company is cash flow break-even at this point.
Grafana Labs decided the time was right to take this hefty investment and accelerate the startup’s growth, something they couldn’t really do without a big cash infusion. “We’ve seen this really virtuous cycle going with value creation in the community through these open-source projects that builds mind share, and that can translate into building a sustainable business. So we really want to accelerate that, and that’s the main reason behind the raise.”