When one of AWS’s east coast data centers went down at the end of last month, it had an impact on countless companies relying on its services, including Roku, Adobe and Shipt. When the incident was resolved, the company had to analyze what happened. For most companies, that involves manually pulling together information from various internal tools, not a focused incident platform.
Jeli.io wants to change that by providing one central place for incident analysis, and today the company announced a $4 million seed round led by Boldstart Ventures with participation by Harrison Metal and Heavybit.
Jeli CEO and founder Nora Jones knows a thing or two about incident analysis. She helped build the chaos engineering tools at Netflix, and later headed chaos engineering at Slack. While chaos engineering helps simulate possible incidents by stress-testing systems, incidents still happen, of course. She knew that there was a lot to learn from them, but there wasn’t a way to pull together all of the data around an incident automatically. She created Jeli to do that.
“While I was at Netflix pre-pandemic, I discovered the secret that looking at incidents when they happen — like when Netflix goes down, when Slack goes down or when any other organization goes down — that’s actually a catalyst for understanding the delta between how you think your org works and how your org actually works,” Jones told me.
She began to see that there would be great value in trying to figure out the decision-making processes, the people and tools involved and what companies could learn from how they reacted in these highly stressful situations, how they resolved them and what they could do to prevent similar outages from happening again in the future. With no products to help, Jones began building tooling herself at her previous jobs, but she believed there needed to be a broader solution.
“We started Jeli and began building tooling to help engineers by [serving] the insights to help them know where to look after incidents,” she said. They do this by pulling together all of the data from emails, Slack channels, PagerDuty, Zoom recordings, logs and so forth that captured information about the incident, surfacing insights to help understand what happened without having to manually pull all of this information together.
The startup currently has eight employees, with plans to add people across the board in 2021. As she does this, she is cognizant of the importance of building a diverse workforce. “I am extremely committed to diversity and inclusion. It is something that’s been important and a requirement for me from day one. I’ve been in situations in organizations before where I was the only one represented, and I know how that feels. I want to make sure I’m including that from day one because ultimately it leads to a better product,” she said.
The product is currently in private beta, and the company is working with early customers to refine the platform. The plan is to continue to invite companies in the coming months, then open that up more widely some time next year.
Eliot Durbin, general partner at Boldstart Ventures, says that he began talking to Jones a couple of years ago when she was at Netflix just to learn about this space, and when she was ready to start a company, his firm jumped at the chance to write an early check, even while the startup was pre-revenue.
“When we met Nora we realized that she’s on a lifelong mission to make things much more resilient […]. And we had the benefit of getting to know her for years before she started the company, so it was really a natural continuation to a conversation that we were already in,” Durbin explained.