Faros AI raises $20M to bring visibility to software engineering teams

Three years ago, Vitaly Gordon, one of the founding members of Salesforce’s Einstein research division, started Faros AI, a platform for software engineers designed to bring key operational data into one place. Alongside Shubha Nabar and Matthew Tovbin, two fellow ex-Salesforce employees and Einstein co-founders, Gordon sought to help developers better navigate common workflow challenges by shining a light on top bottlenecks.

“Our background was in building machine learning products and engineering teams, and we were motivated by our frustration with the black-box that was engineering operations,” Gordon told TechCrunch via email. “We found that while we were helping Salesforce customers harness AI to improve business outcomes, our visibility and insight into our own engineering processes was sorely lacking. And it wasn’t just us. Most sizable software engineering organizations today are largely flying blind.”

Word spread — and investors flocked. Faros today announced it raised $20 million in a Series A funding round led by Lobby Capital with participation from SignalFire, Salesforce Ventures and Operator Collective. Gordon says that the round, which brings Faros’ total raised to $36 million, will be put toward bolstering Faros’ go-to-market strategy, R&D and customer success initiatives.

Faros AI

A look at Faros’ dashboard, which uses AI and analytics to help engineers gain visibility into their larger organizations’ work. Image Credits: Faros

According to Gordon, Faros “hadn’t touched” most of the cash from its previous fundraise. But the company ended up hitting milestones sooner than expected, tripling its customer base and quadrupling revenue over the past 12 months.

“Given the unprecedented opportunity to tap top talent and expand our go-to-market footprint, while everyone else is cutting costs and scaling back, we decided to move forward and raise additional capital,” Gordon said.

Faros as it exists today aims to provide a “single-pane” view across a software engineering team’s work, goals and velocity. Customers can connect various data sources to the platform, starting with out-of-the-box modules and benchmarks and then customizing and building their own analytics.

The idea behind Faros is to allow engineers, engineering team managers and the C-suite to measure an organization’s health and tech debt, as well as things like the dependencies between departments and bottlenecks in processes. The platform can break down time spent on feature development versus tech debt and measure the efficacy of onboarding processes, Gordon points out — plus track seniority and tenure by team, location and other dimensions.

“Software is eating the world and engineering becomes the highest budget item for every company,” Gordon said. “With Faros AI, companies no longer have to fly blind and teams can do more with less.”

I can’t speak to Faros’ effectiveness. But there’s some evidence to suggest that today’s software engineering teams do, indeed, lack visibility, to Gordon’s larger point.

Engineering management platform Jellyfish — not the most unbiased of sources in this area, granted — found in a recent survey that engineering and technical leaders underestimate the amount of time their teams end up spending on unplanned work by 81%. According to the same survey — which, again, must be taken with a grain of salt — teams using engineering management platforms dedicate 25% more time to innovation while spending 18% less time on customer support issues and bugs.

Faros AI

Another look at Faros’ platform capabilities. Image Credits: Faros

“While every tech company is seriously affected by the current market conditions, we are experiencing significant tailwinds from companies exploring how they can do more with less, and shifting their engineering resources to core functionality while looking to partner with vendors that can offload this undifferentiated work,” Gordon said.

A portion of the funding from Faros’ recent tranche will support the rollout of Lighthouse AI, Faros’ newly unveiled AI engine that allows users to gather insights about engineering operations from disparate systems — tapping natural language for data analysis. Gordon sees it as the natural evolution of Faros’ platform, enabling engineers to make sense of the vast amounts of data that their organizations generate each day.

“The AI revolution has only just begun,” Gordon said. “We anticipate that every aspect of software engineering is going to be transformed by AI in the next five years, and at Faros, we are making sure that operational intelligence keeps pace, allowing engineering organizations to make that transition with confidence.”

Faros currently has 35 employees and anticipates that number doubling in the next 12 months.