Stacklet co-founders Travis Stanfield and Kapil Thangavelu met while both were working at Capital One several years ago. Thangavelu helped create the Cloud Custodian open-source cloud governance project. The two eventually got together and decided to build a startup based on that project and today the company launched out of stealth with a $4 million seed investment from Foundation Capital and Addition.
Stanfield, who is CEO at the young startup, says that Cloud Custodian came about as Capital One was moving to a fully cloud approach in around 2013. As the company looked for ways to deal with compliance and governance, it found that organizations like theirs were forced to do one-off scripts and they were looking for a way that could be repeatable and scale.
“Cloud Custodian was developed as a way of understanding what all those one-off scripts were doing, looking at the cloud control plane, finding the interesting set of resources, and then taking sensitive actions on them,” he explained.
After leaving Capital One, and going off in different directions for a time, the two came together this year to start Stacklet as a way to nurture the underlying open-source project Thangavelu helped build, and build a commercial company to add some functionality to make it easier for enterprises to implement and understand.
While cloud administrators can download and figure out how to use the raw open source, Stacklet is attempting to make that easier by providing an administrative layer to manage usage across thousands of cloud accounts along with pre-packaged sets of common kinds of compliance requirements out of the box, analytics to understand how the tool is doing and what it’s finding in terms of issues, and finally a resources database to understand all of the cloud resources under management.
The company has just three employees, including the two founders, but will be adding a couple of more shortly with a goal of having a team of 10 by year’s end. The open-source project has 270 contributors from around the world. The startup is looking to build diversity through being fully remote. Not being limited by geography means they can hire from anywhere, and that can help lead to a more diverse group of employees.
The founders admit that it’s a tough time to start a company and to be fundraising, but on the bright side, they didn’t have to be on a plane to San Francisco every week during the process.
In fact, Sid Trivedi, partner at Foundation Capital, said that this was his first investment where he never met the founders in person, but he said through long discussions he learned “their passion for the opportunity at hand, experience of the market dynamics and vision for how they would solve the problem of meeting the needs of both IT/security admins and developers.”