Speed is a critical component of your business if it’s focused on the digital realm. Seconds in lag can mean the difference between converting a customer or losing the sale. Your technology stack needs to perform at optimal levels at all times. How do you maintain an overall view of your technology stack and how its faring? Enter Catchpoint. It’s a performance monitoring analytics service that provides intelligence to pinpoint problematic areas and create actionable solutions to ensure a seamless experience for your users.
AlleyWatch chatted with CEO and cofounder Mehdi Daoudi about the startup and how their service is used internationally.
Tell us about the product or service.
Catchpoint is a digital performance intelligence company, primarily using the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. We provide our customers with detailed insight into the speed and reliability of their online services. This includes websites, mobile sites, applications, or any Internet asset that contributes to their business. We enable them to proactively identify areas for performance optimization, helping them deliver fast, reliable experiences for their customers.
Today’s users want superfast performance. They are increasingly impatient when it comes to getting the information they need, especially with giants like Facebook and Google conditioning them to expect almost instantaneous load times. Anything less than top-notch performance puts a company at a competitive disadvantage. Customers will actually develop negative sentiment towards a brand and migrate to a competitor, while employees will cease to use sluggish applications, putting significant investments at risk.
How is Catchpoint different?
Catchpoint is the only performance monitoring platform that provides integrated synthetic and real-user monitoring combined with advanced analytics. We’ve moved beyond basic performance monitoring into what Gartner terms digital experience monitoring, a discipline based on tracking multiple datasets. Our synthetic monitoring consists of “dummy” traffic generated from the cloud, which gives companies a view of user performance levels in any location 24/7. Real-user monitoring measures performance for actual users once they enter a site or application. We believe integrating synthetic and real-user performance monitoring data provides the most comprehensive, actionable and contextual information for IT teams. Catchpoint stands alone in our ability to deliver this.
We also deliver real-time analytics, enabling IT teams to find and fix the widest range of performance issues, and a geographically diverse network of testing points to monitor performance for users in New York, Tokyo, even Russia and Iran; anywhere.
What markets are you attacking and how big are they?
Our target market is quite large – virtually all organizations care about digital performance. We currently serve over 400 customers in 30 countries, across the retail, ecommerce, travel, financial services, cloud service provider and software developer industries, to name a few. The increased focus on digital experience management is growing out of an awareness that as businesses digitize their operations, user performance and satisfaction are key competitive differentiators.
Gartner further elaborates, “As business processes digitalize, applications are becoming increasingly central to business revenue generation and operational maintenance. At the same time, application architectures are evolving to become more modular, distributed and dynamic with the consequence that when users, whether internal or external to the enterprise, interact with that enterprise via a digital process, they are no longer aware of the boundaries between applications. Instead, they will regard their interactions as parts of continuous digital experience of that enterprise.”
Stated another way, the challenge for most companies is that in the quest to deliver strong user performance, they are adopting a wider range of technologies, which inadvertently add complexity and make it harder to track down the source of performance problems. So when a slowdown or outage does occur, it takes much longer to fix. Digital experience management emphasizes the ability to ingest data on all performance-impacting variables and determine how each one impacts the user experience as a whole. This is exactly the capability that Catchpoint delivers.
What is the business model?
We are a very customer-centric company, relentlessly focused on helping our customers satisfy their own users. We currently sell our SaaS offerings directly to customers, as this fosters a deeper understanding of each customer’s unique challenges and opportunities, and positions the relationship for optimal success. In fact, I still handle a few of our biggest accounts directly, as this keeps me abreast of their needs.
We also make our products available through industry integrations, and we actively pursue those where we feel our capabilities offer unique value. For example, we integrate with numerous popular IT monitoring and alert management systems, including BigPanda, Datadog, Opsgenie, Pagerduty, Slack, VictorOps and Zapier. These integrations enable DevOps and IT teams to achieve even more comprehensive IT monitoring and decisive alert management, reducing mean-time-to-repair (MTTR) for performance-impacting incidents, and in many cases pre-empting incidents completely. Another example is Splunk Enterprise, which gathers and analyzes machine data for IT teams. When Splunk alerts an IT team to a pattern or anomaly, Catchpoint’s data can corroborate that a performance problem is imminent, escalating or already occurring. This gives IT teams a better chance to prioritize and repair the problem, ideally before end users become aware.
What inspired the business?
The founders of Catchpoint (myself, CTO Scotte Barkan and CPO Dritan Suljoti) previously worked for DoubleClick, a subsidiary of Google, which develops and provides Internet ad serving. As part of my job at DoubleClick, I was responsible for measuring the speed of its online services, so I had the opportunity to use performance monitoring solutions from most providers. I continually found holes in their systems – instances where performance problems eluded us. I intuitively knew we could do better. So I set up my own small monitoring infrastructure in my Los Angeles garage and became fascinated with how various elements of technology infrastructure impacted overall performance. This is where the idea for Catchpoint was born.
Please tell us about how the founding team’s experience at DoubleClick has guided the business?
As I was monitoring the performance of DoubleClick’s services, I also noticed there were often simple techniques that could have been used to both measure and optimize performance, but these were not being leveraged. When these techniques were identified and put in place, they could have a tremendously positive impact on performance. This “self-starter” mentality guides Catchpoint today. Employees at all levels are encouraged to contribute meaningful ideas to the business. It is truly a collaborative, engaging and inspiring work environment.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
We are just coming off a significant milestone – our most recent (and largest) funding round this past November, for $22.5M. This funding was led by new investor, Sapphire Ventures, with participation from existing investor Battery Ventures, which has provided capital in each Catchpoint funding round. This validates the investment community’s credence in our mission and potential to lead in the digital experience management space. This is a hot space, as several recent market moves (Oracle’s acquisition of Dyn, Cisco’s acquisition of AppDynamics) demonstrate.
Over the next six months, we expect to continue to significantly grow our customer base. We’ll also expand our worldwide network of monitoring nodes even further, to support U.S. and multinational companies looking to tap into the world’s most rapidly growing ecommerce theaters, such as China, India and even places like Iran and Africa. With nearly 600 backbone, last mile, IPv6 and mobile nodes, we have leapfrogged much bigger players to build the most geographically dispersed node infrastructure, allowing our customers to measure performance in an extremely wide range of regions.
We’re also excited about our first global user conference, Elevate, which will take place in April 2017 in Las Vegas and feature speakers from Google, Microsoft, LinkedIn, About.com and others. Here, corporate end-users will have a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience, working with and learning from Catchpoint experts.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
Perhaps the best answer here is, how exciting (and yet challenging) it can be to maneuver an extremely rapid growth trajectory such as the one we have witnessed. It’s critical to attract and hire the best and brightest talent to help you circumnavigate hurdles associated with this kind of growth. Fortunately, we’ve been able to hire some exceptional talent to help lead and manage our growth, including Bob Ranaldi, who recently joined as our first Chief Operating Officer, key to bolstering our international expansion, as well as James Stewart, our new VP of Finance. Yancy Oshita has joined us as our first Chief Marketing Officer, and long-time industry analyst Dennis Callaghan is our Director of Industry Innovation. The hires of Yancy and Dennis are helping expand Catchpoint’s global go-to-market efforts.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
There are so many great people in New York City, I can’t name just one.
Why did you launch in New York?
We launched in New York City because I consider it my “city of adoption.” When I first moved to the United States, this is where I came. Most of my professional network, friends and colleagues, as well as the other Catchpoint co-founders were all based here. Being in New York City gives Catchpoint access to amazing talent.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
I have several – these include Keens, Balthazar and Daniel.