As DevOps SaaS platform Esper continues to build out the category and the number of connected devices grows, the company took on another round of funding to stay ahead of demand.
Just five months after announcing a $30 million Series B round, the company is back with an even bigger capital infusion — $60 million in Series C funding led by Insight Partners. Existing investors, including the Series B lead Scale Venture Partners, Madrona Ventures and Root Ventures, also participated. The investment brings Esper's total funding to $100 million.
Co-founder and CEO Yadhu Gopalan told TechCrunch that there are already billions of IoT devices out there currently, and that it is growing exponentially each year. The growth is coming from technology innovation and companies reprioritizing how they will be doing this, especially amid the global pandemic.
“They see reasons, from needing alternatives to doing business remotely to putting new uses in front of customers,” he added. “The trend started earlier as devices became cloud connected. That is the key, companies moving away from closed solutions to cloud and wanting to provide good customer experiences. We are solving the problem for use.”
Using Esper, organizations can remotely scale, manage, secure and update those devices and custom apps by using DevOps practices that Gopalan said are now considered standard operations.
However, he notes that the industry is “still about 10 years behind where it should be,” and that is the need that Esper is addressing.
While it may be behind, the Internet of Things is not slowing down for anyone to catch up. It is projected to be a $1.1 trillion category by 2027 and the number of active IoT-connected devices is expected to reach 30.9 billion units by 2025. The enterprise side of that includes devices like the tablets used in travel, restaurants and warehouses, medical devices, fitness equipment and in-store kiosks.
Today, Seattle-based Esper has more than 200 paying customers and over 2,000 developers using its platform for product development. Revenue growth is on target to be four times higher over last year, and Esper quadrupled its headcount this year, Gopalan said.
Some of the ways the company is keeping up with demand is enabling organizations to sign up and start for free with 100 devices to see how the platform works. It is also working with partners and creating other channels.
“Aside from what is available, we want potential customers to experience the feature before we talk to them about doing it full-time,” he added. “It really gives them a mechanism to see the features and the difference it could make. If they decide to continue, they can use the same tools, they don’t have to switch over.”
The new capital will also play into this. Insight proactively approached the company, and Esper “jumped at the opportunity to partner with them to accelerate our trajectory and predict market growth quicker,” Gopalan said.
He intends to use the new funding to reach more customers, explaining that though the company is one of the leaders in the space, there is always room for improvement, and Esper will get there through marketing and partnerships.
The company’s next steps are about continuing to build its product and improve customer experience and support.
“Soon, we will have single fleets of millions of devices and will have to help customers visualize how to manage those and how it is different from what they are doing today,” Gopalan added. “We see ourselves as the leaders in the space, and the category we are building addresses mission-critical devices. Customers need them to operate on a continued basis, and improve on the continued basis, and we can enable that.”