Fleet, a startup that provides a service that helps track and manage enterprise devices such as laptops, announced today that it has raised $20 million in a Series A round led by CRV with the participation of angel investors including GitLab CEO Sid Sijbrandij. Fleet CEO Mike McNeil says the new capital — which values the company at $100 million after money — will be used to expand the Fleet team and build a “more complete” feature set for device management.
Managing employee devices has already been difficult for IT teams, but the pandemic has made the task even more difficult. In a recent survey conducted by device management platform Kandji, 95% of IT professionals cited remote troubleshooting, onboarding, and various forms of security as barriers to success. Perhaps that is why, according to a separate survey by Deloitte, the vast majority (84%) of organizations believe they lack a “really effective” device management system.
Fleet aims to address common pain points with a “vision platform” that manages not only laptops, but computing infrastructure, such as Internet of Things (IoT) devices and servers. The company’s product acts as a source of truth for device data, allowing teams to see, for example, the state of a laptop’s battery, or whether a file has changed unexpectedly on a production server.
Fleet enables teams – Security Engineering, Incident Response, IT, Helpdesk, Compliance, Vulnerability Management [and more] Ask questions about their hardware and get answers,” McNeil said. “Some organizations have built their fleet-like solutions from scratch to avoid vendor lockouts and allow them to modify the product as needed. But then they get stuck in maintenance. Fleet allows teams to build their own security and IT solutions for the best of both worlds.”
open source assets
Fleet originated from an open source project called Osquery created by CTO Zach Wasserman with Moonfire Ventures partner Mike Arpaia. Wasserman was a software engineer on the security team at Meta (formerly Facebook) and co-founded two companies, Kolide and Dactiv, before settling on Fleet. Arpaia previously led software development teams at Etsy before joining Meta and helping Wasserman found Kolide.
Arpaia and Wasserman developed Osquery while at Meta to improve the analytics of the social network’s internal operating system. The two along with Jason Meller, CEO of Kolide, have combined Kollide as a launching pad for Fleet, a version of Osquery adapted for enterprise settings. But Kollide’s management eventually turned away from Fleet and toward offering software as a discrete user-centric service.
After leaving Kolide, Wasserman continued as Fleet’s principal supervisor and partnered with McNeil to market the project under a new corporate banner: Fleet Device Management, Inc.
With Fleet, users can send snapshots of device data to existing platforms such as Snowflake, Splunk, Elastic, and SumoLogic. The fleet — which does not store customer data, according to McNeil — can monitor a range of environmental changes, including when an unlicensed app or extension is installed on a laptop.
Fleet is inspectable and modifiable, and all service source code is publicly available on GitHub, including paid features on the fully managed Fleet plan.
“If the team needs a change, they can request a feature or they can just make the change themselves and try it out, and then submit a pull request to share the code with other users,” McNeil said. “Out of the box, every feature in Fleet is programmable and available via the REST API and webhooks, useful for custom automation with in-house tools or platforms like Jira, Zendesk, and Tines.”
Growing user base
Fleet has competitors in Balena, Particle and Sternum, who specialize in managing enterprise-grade IoT devices. The company also competes with security-focused device management platforms such as Axonius, which recently raised $100 million at a $1 billion valuation. Tech giants like Google and Apple offer their own solutions, and it’s also worth noting, albeit limited to their own operating systems and hardware.
Markets and Markets estimates that the mobile device management market will grow from a size of $5.5 billion in 20221 to $20.4 billion by 2026. The expansion has been spurred in part by the rise in the broader open source services market, which Markets and Markets expect to expand to $50 billion in the same year. .
McNeil points to the size of Fleet’s user base as evidence of the company’s success against competitors. There are currently more than 1.65 million devices under management, some from clients including Dropbox and Gusto.
“Fleet’s feature set is unique, but works well to fill in gaps in mobile device management solutions like Jamf, and in security tools like Rapid7, Crowdstrike or CarbonBlack,” McNeil added. “Fleet bridges the blind belief gap. The platform is one trusted, easy-to-developer source of truth for all device data, from servers to laptops, on any operating system.”
To date, the fleet of 16 employees has raised $25 million. The company hopes to nearly double the number of employees to 40 by 2023 with a focus on software engineering roles.