AIops leader BigPanda recently announced an extension of their $190M funding, with investments from UBS Next and Wells Fargo Strategic Capital. We at Mayfield have been partnered since the Series A financing round and have watched them grow on their inception to iconic journey. I sat down with Co-founder & CEO Assaf Resnick to talk about the company building journey so far and where they’re headed next.
What is BigPanda and what was the key insight that led to starting it?
BigPanda is a SaaS platform that automates IT incident management. The key insight we had was that, as IT moves to the cloud, it’s creating all sorts of new challenges in the ability of companies to keep their digital services running. The move to the cloud has created orders of magnitude, and more IT data in terms of scale, velocity, and so on. IT engineers are drowning in a growing tsunami of IT data. So for us, the insight was to use AI to help IT Ops keep up with this massive wave of IT data.
At Mayfield, we always say that companies need to provide painkillers, not vitamins. What problems do you solve for your customers, from IT Ops to DevOps to SREs?
We help large organizations such as UBS, Wells Fargo and Expedia automate and scale their ability to keep up with the changing IT landscape. For companies today, as they move to the cloud and want to digitally transform, that transformation is creating a flood of IT data they can’t keep up with. That turns into three forms of pain.
The first is increasing costs because businesses have to hire more people to keep up. The second form of pain is reduced performance — you can’t find enough bodies to keep up with the scale of the data, and it ends up turning into dropped balls and affects the performance of digital services. That leads to all sorts of painful business consequences like lost revenue, customer churn and so on. And the third form of pain is decreased digital velocity. These enterprises know they want to modernize, but if operations are a bottleneck, that’s a barrier to modernization, and it creates some painful problems.
How do you deliver on the promise of AI and automation, where so many vendors have fallen short?
We’re very focused on business outcomes, not just technology for the sake of technology. The focus here is not just to build interesting features and AI capabilities. We’re laser-focused on a solution that solves real-world problems — if it doesn’t, it needs to be adjusted. That focus on solving real pain is how we make sure we deliver what our customers need.
What does this funding mean for BigPanda?
What it means for us is accelerated investment in our go-to-market capabilities and in our product and technology. On the product and technology side, we’re going to double down on investments in AI, predictive and auto-remediation capabilities. It allows us to continue to innovate and do awesome things for our customers.
In terms of the market, it’s accelerating. There are three big trends coming together right now that make it an amazing moment for AIOps. One trend is enterprise adoption of the cloud. As enterprises increasingly adopt the cloud, it brings with it difficult challenges in terms of IT operations and evolving IT operations for the cloud.
The second trend is the accelerating digitization of the economy. Due to COVID-19 and general reality, digital services are taking over what the physical economy used to be. That means that digital infrastructure needs to be built and maintained to support this new landscape.
The last trend driving the market is the growing acceptance of AI in everyday life. When we brought the product to market five years ago, people were relatively skeptical. But today AI is driving cars and touching consumers’ lives in a variety of ways, so people are much more open to enabling AI to help power business services as well.
What advice would you give to yourself when you were just starting out, or to founders starting companies today?
I’d get serious about culture earlier. It’s easy to think about culture as a fuzzy thing that doesn’t really matter, but after we got serious about our values and culture, we became a much stronger business as a result. Had we done that earlier in life, it would have served us well.