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Mark Alexander 2018-05-14
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Jyoti Bansal sold his app-analytics company AppDynamics to Cisco for $3.7 billion last year.

Now he's building another company and paying close attention to what his potential customers have to say as he builds it.

Bansal emphasizes that entrepreneurs should spend time getting to know their customers in order to build a successful company.

Jyoti Bansal is a serial entrepreneur and the founder of app-analytics company AppDynamics, which he sold last year to Cisco for $3.7 billion.

Now, Bansal is building a software-automation company, Harness.io, and he's carefully considering his earlier success in informing the structuring of his newest venture.

In an interview with Business Insider, Bansal revealed his key piece of advice to entrepreneurs who are set on building billion-dollar businesses.

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0
Daniel Murdock 2017-10-24
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You couldn’t blame AppDynamics co-founder Jyoti Bansal if he took some time off after selling his company to Cisco for a cool $3.7 billion in January.

For starters, Bansal teamed up Rishi Singh, former DevOps platform architect at Apple.

Together they are launching a company out of stealth today called Harness, which aims to do no less than automate continuous code deployment.

Bansal saw a problem as all good founders do, in this case, a new way of delivering applications.

Unlike the old days where you would create a program, test and deploy it, then work for months or years on the follow up, today’s programs are being updated regularly, sometimes daily.

Writing scripts for launching the new code has become a cottage industry, Bansal explained, and much of this work is in his view could be automated by the correct tool.

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0
Ralph Philbrick 2019-04-23
img

Former AppDynamics CEO and founder Jyoti Bansal announced that his latest startup Harness raised $60 million in Series B funding Tuesday.

IVP and GV co-led the round, which valued the company at $500 million.

Harness is an automated software deployment platform that allows engineering teams to automatically roll back changes that adversely affect site performance.

Bansal said in a conversation with Business Insider that the stakes are higher now that every company is a technology company and engineers are expected to detect and act on issues with code changes.

Cisco acquired AppDynamics for $3.7 billion in 2016 as Bansal prepared to take the company public.

Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

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Richard Lee 2018-08-03

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

This week TechCrunch’s Matthew Lynley and Crunchbase News’s Alex Wilhelm were joined by Jyoti Bansal, the founder of AppDynamics and a partner at Unusual Ventures, among other startup work.

This episode was effectively a news grab-bag.

There’s a little of everything: public company drama, big rounds, acquisitions, and more.

Up top: Apple’s broaching of the $1 trillion barrier, which some people called early and some people called late.

But the venerable consumer electronics giant did indeed manage to hoist its market cap over the trillion dollar mark, making it the first American company to do so.

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0
Peter Merchant 2017-12-18
img

I wrote about the U.S.-based service nearly two years ago when it was just starting out and it had gobbled up a $1.7 million seed round.

It has ‘graduated’ over 7,000 students, who have gone on to companies like Amazon, Boeing, Saatchi & Saatchi, Visa and more, CEO and co-founder Gautam Tambay told TechCrunch in an interview.

“This is education designed to fit your life instead of the other way around.”

The round was led by Costanoa Ventures, with Learn Capital and Jyoti Bansal, the founder of Appdynamics, participating.

Existing backers Blue Fog Capital, Rocketship.vc, and Moneta Ventures returned to invest again.

The idea is that anyone seeking a new career or a break can manage the training around their existing life, without needing to uproot and move city to attend a university.

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0
Sandra Wilson 2017-10-24
img

If you sell your startup to one of the world’s biggest technology companies for nearly $4 billion, you could be forgiven for putting your feet up and whiling away the rest of your days in the sun.

But that isn’t the way for many entrepreneurs — they’re addicted to fixing problems, and they often return to startup life either as a founder or an investor.

In the case of Jyoti Bansal, who sold app performance management company AppDynamics to Cisco for a chunky $3.7 billion back in January — one day before the startup was due to go public — he is actually coming back as both: a founder and an investor.

Bansal is today lifting the lid on a startup studio called BIG Labs (BIG is an acronym for Bansal Innovation Group), with a focus on helping entrepreneurs transform the seeds of a great idea into a long-lasting company.

BIG Labs isn’t being billed as just another accelerator, however.

Instead, it’s aiming to solve “extraordinarily difficult technology problems” by experimenting with new technologies and to find “viable products that can ultimately sustain new businesses,” according to a statement issued by the company.

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0
Juan Hackwell 2018-05-19
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AppDynamics' founder Jyoti Bansal, who sold his private company to Cisco for $3.7 billion last year.

Last year was a seller's market when it came to mergers and acquisitions of private companies.

When private companies were acquired last year, they were generally able to get better terms than in previous years, according to a new report from SRS Acquiom.

Buyers were more likely to pay for private companies solely with cash, rather than partially with stock, and sellers were set to see the full purchase price sooner than in prior years, according to the report.

With a strong economy, generally ready access to venture capital and other sources of investment cash, and an improving market for initial public offerings, private companies were in a better position to negotiate terms when they sold to other companies, said Sara Wilcox, a senior director at SRS Acquiom, which tracks sales of private firms.

Its latest report looks at 925 different deals that took place between 2014 and 2017, representing some $165 billion collective purchases.

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David Reilly 2019-10-03
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Jyoti Bansal, CEO and co-founder at Harness, has always been frustrated by the lack of tools to measure software development team performance.

Harness is a tool that provides Continuous Delivery as a Service, and its latest offering, Continuous Insights, lets managers know exactly how their teams are performing.

Bansal says a traditional management maxim says that if you can’t measure a process, you can’t fix it, and Continuous Insights is designed to provide a way to measure engineering effectiveness.

“People want to understand how good their software delivery processes are, and where they are tracking right now, and that’s what this product, Continuous Insights, is about,” Bansal explained.

He says that it is the first product in the market to provide this view of performance without pulling weeks or months of data.

“How do you get data around what your current performance is like, and how fast you deliver software, or where the bottlenecks are, and that’s where there are currently a lot of visibility gaps,” he said.

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Carol England 2020-12-17
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It plans to use the new funds for global expansions, continued product innovation, and talent acquisition.
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0
William Mulcahy 2018-05-15

Jyoti Bansal, the founder of AppDynamics, which he sold for $3.7 billion just as it was about to go public, and John Vrionis, a former venture partner at Lightspeed, where he invested in companies like MuleSoft, Nimble Storage and Bansal’s AppDynamics, today announced the launch of Unusual Ventures, a new $160 million seed fund.

Vrionis will take board seats and handle the day-to-day activities of the fund while Bansal will focus on mentoring the startups (and his own startups).

According to Bansal and Vrionis, early-stage investing is at an interesting stage.

They argue that many of the larger funds have moved to larger investments and many of the seed-stage investors aren’t necessarily in a position to really help fledgling entrepreneurs through the hardest few years of building their companies.

“If you look at the mega-funds today, the model has really changed over the last years,” Vrionis told me.

“How to lead people, how to inspire people, how to define product/market fit, packaging, pricing.”

collect
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Ramon Delo 2018-08-15

Andy Rachleff, who cofounded the venture firm Benchmark back in 1995 and has more recently been leading the wealth management firm Wealthfront and teaching at Stanford, is widely sought out for his startup advice.

Most notably, Rachleff has had to dial back his work at Stanford toone course during one quarter of the year — a class that we can only guess is heavily oversubscribed by students.

Right now, he’s helping two longtime friends, AppDynamics cofounder Jyoti Bansal and VC John Vrionis, with a new kind of accelerator program they are launching today (more on that here).

In a quick call to discuss that program earlier this week, he also fielded a few questions from us about the current state of early-stage startup investing and how founders can best navigate it.

We asked him, for example, about how a glut of seed-stage investment has impacted the way that startups are raising money — often in pre-seed, then seed, then post-seed rounds, before raising Series A funding.

We wondered if, nomenclature aside, he felt things had changed fundamentally.

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Frank Wilkerson 2018-08-15

With so much money being stuffed into Silicon Valley companies these days, it’s hard to stand out as an investor, but John Vrionis and Jyoti Bansal have what they think is a winning approach — one that’s a win for startup founders, too.

Back in May, Bansal who sold his company AppDynamics to Cisco for $3.7 billion last year, announced that he was teaming up with Vrionis, who’d spent the previous 12 years with Lightspeed Venture Partner.

It launched publicly with a $160 million debut fund and a mission of also creating a startup education program.

In return, they receive a convertible note that can range from $250,000 to $1 million, depending on the stage of the company.

Called Unusual Academy, the idea is to help these teams reach so-called product-market fit faster than they could otherwise.

It also aims to prevent them from taking on too much seed funding, which can scare off Series A investors who sometimes see a glut of seed funding as a sign that a startup can’t figure out what it’s doing.

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Frank Wilkerson 2019-04-23
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Harness, a San Francisco startup developing a continuous app delivery and release platform for engineering and DevOps teams, today announced that it’s raised $60 million in an oversubscribed series B round co-led by Institutional Venture Partners, GV (formerly Google Ventures), and ServiceNow Ventures, with participation from incubator Big Labs, Menlo Ventures, and Unusual Ventures.

It previously raised $20 million in series A financing.

The fresh capital, which brings Harness’ total raised to around $80 million and values the company at $500 million, will be put toward R and hiring, said CEO Jyoti Bansal — particularly on the development, sales, and customer success side of the business.

“We were not actively seeking new investment at this point, but our strong market traction created heavy investor interest in Harness, resulting in a fast-moving and heavily oversubscribed series B round,” Bansal said.

“We are thrilled to partner with world’s leading investment and technology firms … as we continue to build Harness into the next major software platform company.”

Bansal — the founder of app monitoring company AppDynamics, which Cisco acquired for $3.7 billion in 2017 — cofounded Harness about a year and a half ago with Rishi Singh, a former DevOps platform architect at Apple.

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Scott Morell 2017-01-29
img

But in the news coverage this weekend, I also saw snippets of an immigration issue that I have been worrying about for some time, and one I think we re going to be hearing more about — the fate of foreign-born skilled workers, like engineers and tech entrepreneurs, under Washington s new America First philosophy.

Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin, who came to the U.S. as a Russian refugee, even joined protests at San Francisco International Airport.

But with the new administration reportedly considering further restrictions on H-1B visas for skilled foreign workers, and possibly other programs, I worry that promising technologists who might start the next Google or Netflix may have trouble getting into, or staying in, the U.S. in the future.

This has been on my mind partly because one foreign-born entrepreneur I invested in, Jyoti Bansal, was in the news for a huge achievement last week.

The company he founded — IT-monitoring software outfit AppDynamics — agreed to be bought by Cisco for $3.7 billion, making it the largest-ever acquisition of a private software company, according to investment bank Qatalyst.

AppDynamics, which has more than 1,000 employees, was actually scheduled to go public, but Cisco swooped in at the 11th hour and bought the company instead.

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Charles Houston 2018-05-13
img

Jyoti Bansal's company AppDynamics was set to IPO when he received an offer to sell his company for $3.7 billion.

On a cold winter night in New York last January, the founding members of app analytics company AppDynamics were in a celebratory mood.

In 26 hours, the San Francisco-based company that many of them had helped grow from a struggling startup to a multi-billion dollar business, was set to IPO on the New York Stock Exchange.

Many of the executives were laying out their suits, tailor-made for the occasion, to ring the bell on opening day.

Bansal hadn't slept in four days.

Unbeknownst to AppDynamic's jubilant staff, for the past 96 hours, their company's chief executive had been running back and forth to 14-hour board meetings, visiting his lawyer's offices, and worriedly pacing around his dining room floor in between video conference calls.

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Adam Amie 2020-07-14
img

  • Jyoti Bansal founded AppDynamics during the 2008 recession — and sold it a decade later for $3.7 billion.
  • He says the recession was good for AppDynamics, and give the startup focus during a tough economic period. 
  • Now Bansal is launching a new cybersecurity startup, Traceable, which searches applications' computer code for security issues.
  • Bansal says persisting while rivals fade, bringing a product quickly to market, and improving the product with customers' is a winning formula.  
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Jyoti Bansal founded AppDynamics during the economic downturn of 2008. He thrived in the hard times, and got an offer many would have jumped at in a recession – to sell the company for $350. He turned the acquisition offer down, and in 2017 sold the company to Cisco for $3.7 billion (on the eve of AppDynamics' pending IPO, no less)

Now he's launching a new startup – once again in the middle of a pandemic-besieged economy – with strategy for success in hard times that worked wonders before. 

This week Bansal is launching Traceable, a cybersecurity startup that focuses on apps and the code they use to connect with computer systems via application programming interfaces (APIs). The startup came out of stealth mode Tuesday with a $20 million Series A funding round from Unusual Ventures and BIG Labs, Bansal's own startup incubator. Bansal is joined by Sanjay Nagaraj, a former AppDynamics vice president, as chief technical officer and co-founder.

Why would a wealthy tech success story want to launch another startup during a challenging time? Because he says a recession can be the best thing for a startup — a lesson he learned in 2008.    

"We were a small startup with ten employees, zero revenue, and zero paying customers when  Lehman Brothers collapsed," he says of the failure of the investment banking giant, thought by many to have set off the 2008-2009 recession. The venture capital market froze and some of our competitors started running out of cash and shut down."

But that economic downturn helped his startup, Bansal says. "I actually feel that the recession was a great thing to happen to AppDynamics. It shaped who we were as a company."

Bansal's formula for launching a company at a tough time is to persist as competitors fade during hard times, focus on bringing a simple and effective product to market quickly, and work with customers to make sure the company is effective. Startups in downturns need to be "product-focused, scrappy, super-competitive and customer-obsessed," he says. 

Keep the company focused on a few things

"The primary lesson I have learned is to keep the organization focused on a few key things that matter. We are going to bring the same focused approach here at Traceable, recession or not."

He says his new company uses artificial intelligence to study how computer code is supposed to work in apps and APIs, where they connect to other programs. When a hacker tries to break into a system, Traceable notes the disruption in the code and alerts the company, suggesting a solution. 

"If you're on an online banking website, you don't care about the bank's computer network. You  care about that application that you're using, and whether it's secure," Bansal says. "That depends on the computer code, and it's a huge problem." 

The new startup counts Google's former head of security, Gerhard Eschelbeck, as an advisor. "The broad use of APIs in cloud-native applications has greatly expanded" security vulnerabilities, Eschelbeck says, and "until now, there hasn't been a solution."

What if Traceable blows up the way AppDynamics did? Will he finally take it easy? 

"Hey, I tried to retire," he says of the 2017 sale of AppDynamics. "My wife and I had a list of all the places we wanted to go. For six months we traveled. I got tired of beaches and started itching for a new challenge."  

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: A cleaning expert reveals her 3-step method for cleaning your entire home quickly

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Mark Alexander 2018-05-14
img

Jyoti Bansal sold his app-analytics company AppDynamics to Cisco for $3.7 billion last year.

Now he's building another company and paying close attention to what his potential customers have to say as he builds it.

Bansal emphasizes that entrepreneurs should spend time getting to know their customers in order to build a successful company.

Jyoti Bansal is a serial entrepreneur and the founder of app-analytics company AppDynamics, which he sold last year to Cisco for $3.7 billion.

Now, Bansal is building a software-automation company, Harness.io, and he's carefully considering his earlier success in informing the structuring of his newest venture.

In an interview with Business Insider, Bansal revealed his key piece of advice to entrepreneurs who are set on building billion-dollar businesses.

Ralph Philbrick 2019-04-23
img

Former AppDynamics CEO and founder Jyoti Bansal announced that his latest startup Harness raised $60 million in Series B funding Tuesday.

IVP and GV co-led the round, which valued the company at $500 million.

Harness is an automated software deployment platform that allows engineering teams to automatically roll back changes that adversely affect site performance.

Bansal said in a conversation with Business Insider that the stakes are higher now that every company is a technology company and engineers are expected to detect and act on issues with code changes.

Cisco acquired AppDynamics for $3.7 billion in 2016 as Bansal prepared to take the company public.

Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Peter Merchant 2017-12-18
img

I wrote about the U.S.-based service nearly two years ago when it was just starting out and it had gobbled up a $1.7 million seed round.

It has ‘graduated’ over 7,000 students, who have gone on to companies like Amazon, Boeing, Saatchi & Saatchi, Visa and more, CEO and co-founder Gautam Tambay told TechCrunch in an interview.

“This is education designed to fit your life instead of the other way around.”

The round was led by Costanoa Ventures, with Learn Capital and Jyoti Bansal, the founder of Appdynamics, participating.

Existing backers Blue Fog Capital, Rocketship.vc, and Moneta Ventures returned to invest again.

The idea is that anyone seeking a new career or a break can manage the training around their existing life, without needing to uproot and move city to attend a university.

Juan Hackwell 2018-05-19
img

AppDynamics' founder Jyoti Bansal, who sold his private company to Cisco for $3.7 billion last year.

Last year was a seller's market when it came to mergers and acquisitions of private companies.

When private companies were acquired last year, they were generally able to get better terms than in previous years, according to a new report from SRS Acquiom.

Buyers were more likely to pay for private companies solely with cash, rather than partially with stock, and sellers were set to see the full purchase price sooner than in prior years, according to the report.

With a strong economy, generally ready access to venture capital and other sources of investment cash, and an improving market for initial public offerings, private companies were in a better position to negotiate terms when they sold to other companies, said Sara Wilcox, a senior director at SRS Acquiom, which tracks sales of private firms.

Its latest report looks at 925 different deals that took place between 2014 and 2017, representing some $165 billion collective purchases.

Carol England 2020-12-17
img
It plans to use the new funds for global expansions, continued product innovation, and talent acquisition.
Ramon Delo 2018-08-15

Andy Rachleff, who cofounded the venture firm Benchmark back in 1995 and has more recently been leading the wealth management firm Wealthfront and teaching at Stanford, is widely sought out for his startup advice.

Most notably, Rachleff has had to dial back his work at Stanford toone course during one quarter of the year — a class that we can only guess is heavily oversubscribed by students.

Right now, he’s helping two longtime friends, AppDynamics cofounder Jyoti Bansal and VC John Vrionis, with a new kind of accelerator program they are launching today (more on that here).

In a quick call to discuss that program earlier this week, he also fielded a few questions from us about the current state of early-stage startup investing and how founders can best navigate it.

We asked him, for example, about how a glut of seed-stage investment has impacted the way that startups are raising money — often in pre-seed, then seed, then post-seed rounds, before raising Series A funding.

We wondered if, nomenclature aside, he felt things had changed fundamentally.

Frank Wilkerson 2019-04-23
img

Harness, a San Francisco startup developing a continuous app delivery and release platform for engineering and DevOps teams, today announced that it’s raised $60 million in an oversubscribed series B round co-led by Institutional Venture Partners, GV (formerly Google Ventures), and ServiceNow Ventures, with participation from incubator Big Labs, Menlo Ventures, and Unusual Ventures.

It previously raised $20 million in series A financing.

The fresh capital, which brings Harness’ total raised to around $80 million and values the company at $500 million, will be put toward R and hiring, said CEO Jyoti Bansal — particularly on the development, sales, and customer success side of the business.

“We were not actively seeking new investment at this point, but our strong market traction created heavy investor interest in Harness, resulting in a fast-moving and heavily oversubscribed series B round,” Bansal said.

“We are thrilled to partner with world’s leading investment and technology firms … as we continue to build Harness into the next major software platform company.”

Bansal — the founder of app monitoring company AppDynamics, which Cisco acquired for $3.7 billion in 2017 — cofounded Harness about a year and a half ago with Rishi Singh, a former DevOps platform architect at Apple.

Charles Houston 2018-05-13
img

Jyoti Bansal's company AppDynamics was set to IPO when he received an offer to sell his company for $3.7 billion.

On a cold winter night in New York last January, the founding members of app analytics company AppDynamics were in a celebratory mood.

In 26 hours, the San Francisco-based company that many of them had helped grow from a struggling startup to a multi-billion dollar business, was set to IPO on the New York Stock Exchange.

Many of the executives were laying out their suits, tailor-made for the occasion, to ring the bell on opening day.

Bansal hadn't slept in four days.

Unbeknownst to AppDynamic's jubilant staff, for the past 96 hours, their company's chief executive had been running back and forth to 14-hour board meetings, visiting his lawyer's offices, and worriedly pacing around his dining room floor in between video conference calls.

Daniel Murdock 2017-10-24
img

You couldn’t blame AppDynamics co-founder Jyoti Bansal if he took some time off after selling his company to Cisco for a cool $3.7 billion in January.

For starters, Bansal teamed up Rishi Singh, former DevOps platform architect at Apple.

Together they are launching a company out of stealth today called Harness, which aims to do no less than automate continuous code deployment.

Bansal saw a problem as all good founders do, in this case, a new way of delivering applications.

Unlike the old days where you would create a program, test and deploy it, then work for months or years on the follow up, today’s programs are being updated regularly, sometimes daily.

Writing scripts for launching the new code has become a cottage industry, Bansal explained, and much of this work is in his view could be automated by the correct tool.

Richard Lee 2018-08-03

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

This week TechCrunch’s Matthew Lynley and Crunchbase News’s Alex Wilhelm were joined by Jyoti Bansal, the founder of AppDynamics and a partner at Unusual Ventures, among other startup work.

This episode was effectively a news grab-bag.

There’s a little of everything: public company drama, big rounds, acquisitions, and more.

Up top: Apple’s broaching of the $1 trillion barrier, which some people called early and some people called late.

But the venerable consumer electronics giant did indeed manage to hoist its market cap over the trillion dollar mark, making it the first American company to do so.

Sandra Wilson 2017-10-24
img

If you sell your startup to one of the world’s biggest technology companies for nearly $4 billion, you could be forgiven for putting your feet up and whiling away the rest of your days in the sun.

But that isn’t the way for many entrepreneurs — they’re addicted to fixing problems, and they often return to startup life either as a founder or an investor.

In the case of Jyoti Bansal, who sold app performance management company AppDynamics to Cisco for a chunky $3.7 billion back in January — one day before the startup was due to go public — he is actually coming back as both: a founder and an investor.

Bansal is today lifting the lid on a startup studio called BIG Labs (BIG is an acronym for Bansal Innovation Group), with a focus on helping entrepreneurs transform the seeds of a great idea into a long-lasting company.

BIG Labs isn’t being billed as just another accelerator, however.

Instead, it’s aiming to solve “extraordinarily difficult technology problems” by experimenting with new technologies and to find “viable products that can ultimately sustain new businesses,” according to a statement issued by the company.

David Reilly 2019-10-03
img

Jyoti Bansal, CEO and co-founder at Harness, has always been frustrated by the lack of tools to measure software development team performance.

Harness is a tool that provides Continuous Delivery as a Service, and its latest offering, Continuous Insights, lets managers know exactly how their teams are performing.

Bansal says a traditional management maxim says that if you can’t measure a process, you can’t fix it, and Continuous Insights is designed to provide a way to measure engineering effectiveness.

“People want to understand how good their software delivery processes are, and where they are tracking right now, and that’s what this product, Continuous Insights, is about,” Bansal explained.

He says that it is the first product in the market to provide this view of performance without pulling weeks or months of data.

“How do you get data around what your current performance is like, and how fast you deliver software, or where the bottlenecks are, and that’s where there are currently a lot of visibility gaps,” he said.

William Mulcahy 2018-05-15

Jyoti Bansal, the founder of AppDynamics, which he sold for $3.7 billion just as it was about to go public, and John Vrionis, a former venture partner at Lightspeed, where he invested in companies like MuleSoft, Nimble Storage and Bansal’s AppDynamics, today announced the launch of Unusual Ventures, a new $160 million seed fund.

Vrionis will take board seats and handle the day-to-day activities of the fund while Bansal will focus on mentoring the startups (and his own startups).

According to Bansal and Vrionis, early-stage investing is at an interesting stage.

They argue that many of the larger funds have moved to larger investments and many of the seed-stage investors aren’t necessarily in a position to really help fledgling entrepreneurs through the hardest few years of building their companies.

“If you look at the mega-funds today, the model has really changed over the last years,” Vrionis told me.

“How to lead people, how to inspire people, how to define product/market fit, packaging, pricing.”

Frank Wilkerson 2018-08-15

With so much money being stuffed into Silicon Valley companies these days, it’s hard to stand out as an investor, but John Vrionis and Jyoti Bansal have what they think is a winning approach — one that’s a win for startup founders, too.

Back in May, Bansal who sold his company AppDynamics to Cisco for $3.7 billion last year, announced that he was teaming up with Vrionis, who’d spent the previous 12 years with Lightspeed Venture Partner.

It launched publicly with a $160 million debut fund and a mission of also creating a startup education program.

In return, they receive a convertible note that can range from $250,000 to $1 million, depending on the stage of the company.

Called Unusual Academy, the idea is to help these teams reach so-called product-market fit faster than they could otherwise.

It also aims to prevent them from taking on too much seed funding, which can scare off Series A investors who sometimes see a glut of seed funding as a sign that a startup can’t figure out what it’s doing.

Scott Morell 2017-01-29
img

But in the news coverage this weekend, I also saw snippets of an immigration issue that I have been worrying about for some time, and one I think we re going to be hearing more about — the fate of foreign-born skilled workers, like engineers and tech entrepreneurs, under Washington s new America First philosophy.

Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin, who came to the U.S. as a Russian refugee, even joined protests at San Francisco International Airport.

But with the new administration reportedly considering further restrictions on H-1B visas for skilled foreign workers, and possibly other programs, I worry that promising technologists who might start the next Google or Netflix may have trouble getting into, or staying in, the U.S. in the future.

This has been on my mind partly because one foreign-born entrepreneur I invested in, Jyoti Bansal, was in the news for a huge achievement last week.

The company he founded — IT-monitoring software outfit AppDynamics — agreed to be bought by Cisco for $3.7 billion, making it the largest-ever acquisition of a private software company, according to investment bank Qatalyst.

AppDynamics, which has more than 1,000 employees, was actually scheduled to go public, but Cisco swooped in at the 11th hour and bought the company instead.

Adam Amie 2020-07-14
img

  • Jyoti Bansal founded AppDynamics during the 2008 recession — and sold it a decade later for $3.7 billion.
  • He says the recession was good for AppDynamics, and give the startup focus during a tough economic period. 
  • Now Bansal is launching a new cybersecurity startup, Traceable, which searches applications' computer code for security issues.
  • Bansal says persisting while rivals fade, bringing a product quickly to market, and improving the product with customers' is a winning formula.  
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Jyoti Bansal founded AppDynamics during the economic downturn of 2008. He thrived in the hard times, and got an offer many would have jumped at in a recession – to sell the company for $350. He turned the acquisition offer down, and in 2017 sold the company to Cisco for $3.7 billion (on the eve of AppDynamics' pending IPO, no less)

Now he's launching a new startup – once again in the middle of a pandemic-besieged economy – with strategy for success in hard times that worked wonders before. 

This week Bansal is launching Traceable, a cybersecurity startup that focuses on apps and the code they use to connect with computer systems via application programming interfaces (APIs). The startup came out of stealth mode Tuesday with a $20 million Series A funding round from Unusual Ventures and BIG Labs, Bansal's own startup incubator. Bansal is joined by Sanjay Nagaraj, a former AppDynamics vice president, as chief technical officer and co-founder.

Why would a wealthy tech success story want to launch another startup during a challenging time? Because he says a recession can be the best thing for a startup — a lesson he learned in 2008.    

"We were a small startup with ten employees, zero revenue, and zero paying customers when  Lehman Brothers collapsed," he says of the failure of the investment banking giant, thought by many to have set off the 2008-2009 recession. The venture capital market froze and some of our competitors started running out of cash and shut down."

But that economic downturn helped his startup, Bansal says. "I actually feel that the recession was a great thing to happen to AppDynamics. It shaped who we were as a company."

Bansal's formula for launching a company at a tough time is to persist as competitors fade during hard times, focus on bringing a simple and effective product to market quickly, and work with customers to make sure the company is effective. Startups in downturns need to be "product-focused, scrappy, super-competitive and customer-obsessed," he says. 

Keep the company focused on a few things

"The primary lesson I have learned is to keep the organization focused on a few key things that matter. We are going to bring the same focused approach here at Traceable, recession or not."

He says his new company uses artificial intelligence to study how computer code is supposed to work in apps and APIs, where they connect to other programs. When a hacker tries to break into a system, Traceable notes the disruption in the code and alerts the company, suggesting a solution. 

"If you're on an online banking website, you don't care about the bank's computer network. You  care about that application that you're using, and whether it's secure," Bansal says. "That depends on the computer code, and it's a huge problem." 

The new startup counts Google's former head of security, Gerhard Eschelbeck, as an advisor. "The broad use of APIs in cloud-native applications has greatly expanded" security vulnerabilities, Eschelbeck says, and "until now, there hasn't been a solution."

What if Traceable blows up the way AppDynamics did? Will he finally take it easy? 

"Hey, I tried to retire," he says of the 2017 sale of AppDynamics. "My wife and I had a list of all the places we wanted to go. For six months we traveled. I got tired of beaches and started itching for a new challenge."  

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