Author: Karina Babcock

Why do this startup thing all over again? Our reasons for creating Causely

Why be a serial entrepreneur?

It’s a question that my co-founder, Shmuel, and I are asked many times. Both of us have been to this rodeo twice before – Shmuel, with SMARTS and Turbonomic, myself with ClearSky Data and CloudSwitch. There are all the usual reasons, including love of hard challenges, creation of game-changing products and working with teams and customers who inspire you. And of course there’s more than a small share of insanity (or as one of our founding engineers, Endre Sara, might call it, an addiction to Sisyphean tasks?) 

I’ve been pondering this as we build our new venture, Causely. The motivation behind Causely was a long-standing goal of Shmuel’s to tackle a problem he’s addressed in both previous companies, but still feels is unresolved: How to remove the burden of human troubleshooting from the IT industry? (Shmuel is not interested in solving small problems.) 

 Although there are tools galore and so much data being gathered that it takes data lakes to manage it all, at the heart of the IT industry there is a central problem that hasn’t fundamentally changed in decades. When humans try to determine the root cause of things that make applications slow down or break, they rely on the (often specific) expertise of people on their teams. And the scale, complexity and rate of change of their application environments will always grow faster than humans can keep up.   

I saw this during my time at AWS, while I was running some global cloud storage services. No matter how incredible the people were, how well-architected the services, or robust the mechanisms and tools – when things went wrong (usually at 3 am) it always came down to having the right people online at that moment to figure out what was really happening. Much of the human effort went into stabilizing things asap for customers and then digging in for days (or longer) to understand what had happened  

When Peter Bell, our founding investor at Amity Ventures, originally introduced me and Shmuel, it was clear that Shmuel had the answer to this never-ending cycle of applications changing, scaling, breaking, requiring human troubleshooting, writing post-mortems… and starting all over again. He was thinking about the problem from the perspective of what’s actually missing: the ability to capture causality in software. AI and ML technologies are advancing beyond our wildest dreams, but they are still challenged by the inability to automate causation (vs correlation, which they do quite well). By building a causal AI platform that can tackle this huge challenge, we believe Causely can eliminate the need for humans to keep pushing the same rocks up the same hills. 

So why do this startup thing all over again?

Because for each new venture there’s always been a big, messy problem that needs to be fixed. One that requires a solution that’s never been done before, that will be exciting to build with smart, creative people. 

And so today, we announce funding for Causely and the opening of our Early Access program for initial users. We’ve been quietly designing and building for the past year, working with some awesome design partners. We’re thrilled to have 645 Ventures join us on this journey and are already seeing the impact of support from Aaron, Vardan and the team. We also welcome new investors Glasswing Ventures and Tau Ventures. We hope early users will love the Causely premise and early version of the product and give us the input we need to build something that truly changes how applications are built and operated.

Please take a look and let us know your thoughts. 

Learn more

Causely raises $8.8M in Seed funding to deliver IT industry’s first causal AI platform

Automation of causality will eliminate human troubleshooting and enable faster, more resilient cloud application management

Boston, June 29, 2023Causely, Inc., the causal AI company, today announced it has raised $8.8M in Seed funding, led by 645 Ventures with participation from founding investor Amity Ventures, and including new investors Glasswing Ventures and Tau Ventures. The funding will enable Causely to build its causal AI platform for IT and launch an initial service for applications running in Kubernetes environments. This financing brings the company’s total funding to over $11M since it was founded in 2022.

For years, the IT industry has struggled to make sense of the overwhelming amounts of data coming from dozens of observability platforms and monitoring tools. In a dynamic world of cloud and edge computing, with constantly increasing application complexity and scale, these systems gather metrics and logs about every aspect of application and IT environments. In the end, all this data still requires human troubleshooting to respond to alerts, make sense of patterns, identify root cause, and ultimately determine the best action for remediation. This process, which has not changed fundamentally in decades, is slow, reactive, costly and labor-intensive. As a result, many problems can cause end-user and business impact, especially in situations where complex problems propagate across multiple layers and components of an application.  

Causely’s breakthrough approach is to remove the need for human intervention from the entire process by capturing causality in software. By enabling end-to-end automation, from detection through remediation, Causely closes the gap between observability and action, speeding time to remediation and limiting business impact. Unlike existing solutions, Causely’s core technology goes beyond correlation and anomaly detection to identify root cause in dynamic systems, making it possible to see causality relationships across any IT environment in real time.

The founding team, led by veterans Ellen Rubin (founder of ClearSky Data, acquired by Amazon Web Services, and CloudSwitch, acquired by Verizon) and Shmuel Kliger (founder of Turbonomic, acquired by IBM, and SMARTS, acquired by EMC), brings together world-class expertise from the IT Ops, cloud-native and Kubernetes communities and decades of experience successfully building and scaling companies. 

“In a world where developers and operators are overwhelmed by data, alert storms and incidents, the current solutions can’t keep up,” said Ellen Rubin, Causely CEO and Founder. “Causely’s vision is to enable self-managed, resilient applications and eliminate the need for human troubleshooting. We are excited to bring this vision to life, with the support and partnership of 645 Ventures, Amity Ventures and our other investors, working closely with our early design partners.”

“Causality is the missing link in automating IT operations,” said Aaron Holiday, Managing Partner at 645 Ventures. “The Causely team is uniquely able to address this difficult and long-standing challenge and we are proud to be part of the next phase of the company’s growth.”

“Having worked with the founding team for many years, I’m excited to see them tackle an unsolved industry problem and automate the entire process from observability through remediation,” said Peter Bell, Chairman at Amity Ventures.

The initial Causely service, for DevOps and SRE users who are building and supporting apps in Kubernetes, is now available in an Early Access program. To learn more, please visit www.causely.io/early-access

About Causely

Causely, the causal AI company, automates the end-to-end detection, prevention and remediation of critical defects that can cause user and business impact in application environments. Led by veterans from Turbonomic, AWS, SMARTS and other cloud infrastructure companies, Causely is backed by Amity Ventures and 645 Ventures. To learn more, please visit www.causely.io

About 645 Ventures 

645 Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm that partners with exceptional founders who are building iconic companies. We invest at the Seed and Series A stages and leverage our Voyager software platform to enable our Success team and Connected Network to help founders scale to the growth stage. Select companies that have reached the growth stage include Iterable, Goldbelly, Resident, Eden Health, FiscalNote, Lunchbox, and Squire. 645 has $550m+ in AUM across 5 funds, and is growing fast with backing from leading institutional investors, including university endowments, funds of funds, and pension funds. The firm has offices in New York and SF, and you can learn more at www.645ventures.com. 

About Amity Ventures 

Amity Ventures is a venture capital firm based in San Francisco, CA. We are a closely knit team with 40+ years of collective experience partnering deeply with entrepreneurs building category-defining technology businesses at the early stage. Amity intentionally invests in a small number of startups per year, and currently has a portfolio of about 25 companies across multiple funds. 

Contact

Kelsey Cullen, KCPR
kelsey@kcpr.com
650.438.1063