FireHydrant announces $23M Series B to grow disaster management platform

No matter how carefully you set up your systems, sooner or later something fundamental breaks. How you react during those times and how quickly you respond to the crisis is what people remember after it’s over. FireHydrant, a startup that helps companies prepare for and manage such crises, announced a $23 million Series B investment today.

Harmony Partners led the round, with participation from Salesforce Ventures and existing investors Menlo Ventures and Work-Bench. Today’s money brings the total raised to $32.5 million, according to the company.

The company focuses on helping customers navigate a crisis, and a big part of that is run books, which act as playbooks for handling various crisis situations as they arise. As part of that, the company has added a directory of service owners to make it easier to find the people in charge of a given service should it be the cause or impacted by an ongoing event.

Company co-founder and CEO Robert Ross says that the company has grown customers 5x since the startup’s A round last year, and they are seeing customers get creative with how they use run books.

“The run books functionality is really the bread and butter of functionality of FireHydrant, and we’re seeing customers leverage them in ways we didn’t really imagine, and truly kind of outperforming a lot of the expectations of that functionality. So they’re getting really creative in using them to onboard people into incidents and using them for better incident communication. So that’s been a really nice thing to see,” Ross told TechCrunch.

Ross says that they are trying to position incident management as a business problem, rather than purely an engineering problem. That’s because if your site goes down for a sustained period of time, people on Twitter aren’t going to be talking about the company’s engineering failure, they are going to say the business is failing because it’s not up and running at full capacity or in some cases at all.

“Obviously I believe that site reliability in general is going to be something that has an impact on the business no matter what. If it’s something as simple as your app not working or just being glitchy, people are going to get upset,” Ross said.

The company has grown substantially since we spoke in May 2020, going from 10 employees to 54. As he continues to add new employees to the mix, Ross says that he trying to stay on top of all three aspects of diversity, equity and inclusion, but it all starts with the sources you use to hire new people. “Our philosophy is that diversity, equity and inclusion in the business starts at the top of your funnel, and we made sure to put a lot of effort into that,” he said.

As the pandemic ebbs and flows, Ross says that he has no intention of requiring folks to come into the office, and this is especially true since he has been hiring regardless of geography since the pandemic began. He has a small office in New York City, but nobody is required to go in. He is considering adding office hubs (when the pandemic quiets down) in Austin, Denver and San Diego.