After Ryerson University grads Chris Nguyen and Lee Liu snagged the chance to go to join Y Combinator as part of its Winter 2015 cohort, the two packed up from Toronto and moved to Silicon Valley to work on Answerbook, an ecommerce solution meant to better target shoppers with highly-personalized emails.
Almost a year later, Nguyen and Liu announced a $1.6 million CAD ($1.3 million USD) round of funding for their company — but not the one they started with. The team totally pivoted to found LogDNA, an intelligent logging system targeting DevOps teams. Normally, engineering teams look retroactively at log data to see why problems happen, but LogDNA can detect IT problems before they come up. The round was raised from Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn and Initialized Capital, which is run by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, Garry Tan, and Tamares Group.
The team decided to pivot after struggling to find product-market fit with Answerbook. After they had grown frustrated with their own logging system and built their own solution in-house, they realized that it was a problem that all engineering teams struggle with.
“We were going to run out of money and it was one of those moments where you sink or swim, so we thought, what have we built internally that we can spin out,” said Nguyen. “One of my co-founders’ frustration was logging. The next step I wanted to know was who else had the same problem. I talked to all my friends around the Valley and Toronto and asked what they use for logging and what they wished was better. It came down to experience, amount of space, and high cost.”
With LogDNA, companies get a free tier at 50 gigabytes a month, and then one terabyte a month for $999 a month.
“This kind of solution does exist but it’s much slower, and you can imagine that when a solution is built five or six years ago, it has a different feel. It starts to feel like a PC. Whereas we thought, let’s become the Apple, and let’s give a better experience. To find data faster means a lot, and you minimize downtime,” Nguyen said.
With the funding, the Liu and Nguyen are looking to expand their seven-person team.