Engineering teams face steep challenges when it comes to staying on schedule, and keeping to those schedules can have an impact on the entire organization. Acumen, an Israeli engineering operations startup, announced a $7 million seed investment today to help tackle this problem.
Hetz, 10D, Crescendo and Jibe participated in the round, designed to give the startup the funding to continue building out the product and bring it to market. The company, which has been working with beta customers for almost a year, also announced it was emerging from stealth today.
As an experienced startup founder, Acumen CEO and co-founder Nevo Alva has seen engineering teams struggle as they grow due to a lack of data and insight into how the teams are performing. He and his co-founders launched Acumen to give companies that missing visibility.
“As engineering teams scale, they face challenges due to a lack of visibility into what’s going on in the team. Suddenly prioritizing our tasks becomes much harder. We experience interdependencies [that have an impact on the schedule] every day,” Alva explained.
He says this manifests itself in a decrease in productivity and velocity and ultimately missed deadlines that have an impact across the whole company. What Acumen does is collect data from a variety of planning and communications tools that the engineering teams are using to organize their various projects. It then uses machine learning to identify potential problems that could have an impact on the schedule and presents this information in a customizable dashboard.
The tool is aimed at engineering team leaders, who are charged with getting their various projects completed on time with the goal of helping them understand possible bottlenecks. The software’s machine learning algorithms will learn over time which situations cause problems, and offer suggestions on how to prevent them from becoming major issues.
The company was founded in July 2019 and the founders spent the first 10 months working with a dozen design partners building out the first version of the product, making sure it could pass muster with various standards bodies like SOC-2. It has been in closed private beta since last year and is launching publicly this week.
Acumen currently has 20 employees with plans to add 10 more by the end of this year. After working remotely for most of 2020, Alva says that location is no longer really important when it comes to hiring. “It definitely becomes less and less important where they are. I think time zones are still a consideration when speaking of remote,” he said. In fact, they have people in Israel, the U.S. and eastern Europe at the moment among their 20 employees.
He recognizes that employees can feel isolated working alone, so the company has video meetings every day during which they spend the first part just chatting about non-work stuff as a way to stay connected. Starting today, Acumen will begin its go to market effort in earnest. While Alva recognizes there are competing products out there like Harness and Pinpoint, he thinks his company’s use of data and machine learning really helps differentiate it.