An issue every developer faces is dealing with problems on a live application without messing it up. In fact, in many companies such access is restricted. Cased, an early stage startup, has come up with a solution to provide a way to work safely with the live application.
Today, the company announced a $2.25 million seed round led by Founders Fund along with a group of prestigious technology angel investors. The company also announced that the product is generally available to all developers today for the first time. It’s worth noting that the funding actually closed last April, and they are just announcing it today.
Bryan Byrne, CEO and co-founder at Cased says he and his fellow co-founders, all of whom cut their teeth at GitHub, experienced this problem of working in live production environments firsthand. He says that the typical response by larger companies is to build a tool in-house, but this isn’t an option for many smaller companies.
“We saw firsthand at GitHub how the developer experience gets more difficult over time, and it becomes more difficult for developers to get production work done. So we wanted to provide a developer friendly way to get production work done,” Byrne explained.
He said without proper tooling, it forces CTOs to restrict access to the production code, which in turn makes it difficult to fix problems as they arise in production environments. “Companies are forced to restrict access to production and restrict access to tools that developers need to work in production. A lot of the biggest tech companies invest in millions to deliver great developer experiences, but obviously smaller companies don’t have those resources. So we want to give all companies the building blocks they need to deliver a great developer experience out of the box,” he said.
This involves providing development teams with open access to production command line tools by adding logging and approval workflows to sensitive operations. That enables executives to open up access with specific rules and the ability to audit who has been accessing the production environment.
The company launched at the beginning of last year and the founders have been working with design partners and early customers prior to officially opening the site to the general public today.
They currently have five people including the four founders, but Byrne says that they have had a good initial reaction to the product and are in the process of hiring additional employees. He says that as they do, diversity and inclusion is a big priority for the founders, even as a very early stage company.
“It’s very prominent in our company handbook, so that we make sure we prioritize an inclusive culture from the very beginning because [ … ] we know firsthand that if you don’t invest in that early, it can really hold you back as a company and as a culture. Culture starts from day one, for sure,” he said.
As part of that, the company intends to be remote first even post-pandemic, a move he believes will make it easier to build a diverse company.
“We will definitely be remote first. We believe that also helps with diversity and inclusion as you allow people to work from anywhere, and we have a lot of experience in leading remote-first culture from our time at GitHub, so we began as a remote culture and we will continue to do that,” he said.
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Opportunity knocks: Exhibit at TC Sessions: Mobility 2021
No matter what slice of the mobility market you’ve claimed as your own — AVs, EVs, data mining, AI, dockless scooters, robotics or the batteries that will charge and change the world — you won’t find a better place to showcase your extraordinary tech and talent than TC Sessions: Mobility 2021.
Buy a Startup Exhibitor Package and virtually plant your early-stage mobility startup in front of a global audience that’s focused exclusively on one of the most complex, rapidly evolving industries. TC Sessions: Mobility, which takes place on June 9, features the top minds and makers, draws thousands of attendees, fosters collaborative community and creates a networking environment ripe with opportunities.
Pro tip: This package is for pre-Series A, early-stage startups only.
The Startup Exhibitor Package costs $380, and it comes with four all-access passes to the event. But wait (insert infomercial voice here), there’s more!
Your virtual expo booth features lead-generation capabilities. You can highlight your pitch deck, run a video loop and/or host live demos. Network with CrunchMatch, our AI-powered platform, to find and connect with the people who can help move your business forward. CrunchMatch lets you host private video meetings — pitch investors, recruit new talent or grow your customer base.
You’ll have access to all the presentations, panel discussions and breakout sessions, too. And video-on-demand means you won’t miss out.
Here’s a peek at just some of the agenda’s great programming you and, thanks to those extra passes, your team can attend — or catch later with VOD:
- EV Founders in Focus: We sit down with the founders poised to take advantage of the rise in electric vehicle sales. This time, we will chat with Kameale Terry, co-founder and CEO of ChargerHelp! a startup that enables on-demand repair of electric vehicle charging stations.
- Will Venture Capital Drive the Future of Mobility? Clara Brenner, Quin Garcia and Rachel Holt will discuss how the pandemic changed their investment strategies, the hottest sectors within the mobility industry, the rise of SPACs as a financial instrument and where they plan to put their capital in 2021 and beyond.
- Driving Innovation at General Motors: GM is in the midst of sweeping changes that will eventually turn it into an EV-only producer of cars, trucks and SUVs. But the auto giant’s push to electrify passenger vehicles is just one of many efforts to be a leader in innovation and the future of transportation. We’ll talk with Pam Fletcher, vice president of innovation at GM, one of the key people behind the 113-year-old automaker’s push to become a nimble, tech-centric company.
Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at TC Sessions: Mobility 2021? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.
Every early-stage startup must identify and evaluate a strategic advantage
Whether you’re building a company or thinking about investing, it’s important to understand your strategic advantage. In order to determine one, you should ask fundamental questions like: What’s the long-term, sustainable reason that the company will stay in business?
The most important elements for founders to consider when figuring out their strategic advantage(s) include one-sided or “direct” network effects (e.g., with social media sites like Facebook), marketplace network effects (e.g., with two-sided marketplaces like Uber), data moats, first mover and switching costs.
Let’s take a quick look at an example of one-sided network effects. At the very earliest stages of Facebook’s existence, it was just Mark Zuckerberg, a few friends and their basic profiles. The nascent social media platform wasn’t useful beyond a few dorm rooms. They needed a strategic advantage or the company would not make it beyond the edge of campus.
A successful startup without a strategic advantage is just a validated business model vulnerable to copycat companies looking for a market entry point.
In fact, Facebook only truly became a useful platform — and accelerated as a business — when more users came into the fold and more types of email addresses were accepted. Add to that the introduction of an ad marketplace revenue model and you have a clear strategic advantage — based on one-sided network effects — that gave Facebook a strategic edge over other early social media sites like MySpace.
These one-sided network effects are different from two-sided network effects.
Two-sided network effects are most common in marketplace business models. In a two-sided network, supply and demand are matched, like Uber riders (demand) being matched with Uber drivers (supply). The Uber product is not necessarily more valuable just because more users (riders) join, the way Facebook is more valuable when more users join.
In fact, when more users (riders) join the demand side of the Uber network, it might actually be worse for the user experience — it’s harder to find a driver and wait times get longer. The demand side (riders) gets value from more supply (drivers) joining the platform and vice-versa. That’s why it’s called a two-sided network, or a marketplace.
Regardless of industry, a successful startup without a strategic advantage is just a validated business model vulnerable to copycat companies looking for a market entry point. Copycats can range in size from startups with similar grit to large companies like Facebook or Google that have limitless resources to drive competition into the market, and potentially run the startup with the original idea out of business. This vulnerability can prove fatal unless a startup’s founding team explores and embraces one or more strategic advantages.
5 ways to raise your startup’s PR game
There’s a lot of noise out there. The ability to effectively communicate can make or break your launch. It will play a role in determining who wins a new space — you or a competitor.
Most people get that. I get emails every week from companies coming out of stealth mode, wanting to make a splash. Or from a Series B company that’s been around for a while and hopes to improve their branding/messaging/positioning so that a new upstart doesn’t eat their lunch.
You have to stop thinking that what you are up to is interesting.
How do you make a splash? How do you stay relevant?
Worth noting is that my area of expertise is in the DevOps space and that slant may crop up occasionally. But these five specific tips should be applicable to virtually any startup.
Leverage your founders
This is especially important if you are a small startup that not many people know about. Journalists don’t want to hear opinions from your head of marketing or product — they want to hear from the founders. What problems are they solving? What unique opinions do they have about the market? These are insights that mean the most coming from the people that started the company. So if you don’t have at least one founder that can dedicate time to being the face, then PR is going to be an uphill battle.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to do to support these efforts. Create a list of all the journalists that have written about your competitors. Read those articles. How can your founder add value to these conversations? Where should you be contributing thought leadership? What are the most interesting perspectives you can offer to those audiences?
This is legwork and research you can do before looping founders into the conversation. Getting your PR going can be like trying to push a broken-down car up the road: If the founders see you exerting effort to get things moving on your own, they’re more likely to get beside you and help.
Here’s an example: It may be unreasonable to ask a founder to sit down and write a 1,000-word thought leadership piece by the end of the week, but they very likely have 20 minutes to chat, especially if you make it clear that the contents of the conversation will make for great thought leadership pieces, social media posts, etc.
The flow looks like:
- You come up with topic ideas based on research.
- The founder picks their favorite.
- You and the founder schedule a 20-minute chat to get their thoughts on paper.
- You write up the content based on those thoughts.
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