Mesosphere recently announced a Series D round of funding. It’s an exciting moment for the entire team, their customers and us at Fuel as one of the earliest investors. The company raised $125m from T. Rowe Price, Koch Disruptive Technologies, ZWC Ventures, Qatar Investment Authority and Disruptive Tech Advisers (DTA) and Fuel. We've been partners with Flo and the team since the beginning (being the first check and participating in every round since) and we wanted to share some of our history to celebrate this huge moment.
We were introduced by Brian Pokorny at SVAngel, who met the team after his prior company, Dailybooth (which we invested in while at Ignition), was acquired by Airbnb where Flo and Tobi worked. In May of 2013, Brad and I met the team in the lobby of the Palace Hotel. At the time, Fuel Capital wasn't closed yet; we had about half of the first fund committed, we hadn't done our first capital call, and I was still commuting four days a week from the Seattle area.
When we met the team, our one hour meeting turned into three, and they walked us through a new paradigm in computing and a very clear playbook to bring that to life. Flo and Tobi, along with their co-founder Ben, developed Mesos while working at Twitter and Airbnb to help those companies scale. In our meeting, they shared their vision for a future of infrastructure computing that would fundamentally change the way businesses build software and how they could eventually evolve into a next-gen datacenter for data driven applications. They had a small founding team and were raising a seed round to get the product to general availability. Immediately after hearing their pitch (literally on the spot), we committed to invest in the company and partner with the team.
We didn't need much convincing. Over the previous five years at Ignition, we'd seen what successful infrastructure investing looks like. I'd witnessed the firm's successful investments in Splunk, XenSource, Docusign, Cloudera, Heroku and Parse and spent years learning about virtualization and the ecosystem around VMWare. We had come across BORG, the technology Google developed to manage their infrastructure, and knew that if other organizations could make use of similar technology, there would be a valuable 5-10 year investment cycle around this ecosystem. So as I watched google.com/trends to see container-based software development take off in 2013, I knew an entire ecosystem of products and tooling would emerge.
But back in 2013, none of this was a given. As with all investments, it took a leap of faith. At the seed stage, there is no crystal ball, and it's hard to tell if the founder's vision is going to pan out; a lot has to go right. Could the team develop the technology, market and sell their vision to customers, recruit the technical and management team, build partnerships, raise the capital, and win despite increasing competition? What we saw in Flo, Tobi and Ben gave us confidence; they had the passion, the domain experience, and the determination and perseverance to make it real.
At Fuel, we take tremendous pride in helping founders realize their visions. We love to be the sounding board, cheerleader and sparring partner to the founding teams. To help them manage through the complexity of building their business. To celebrate the wins and learn from and push through the losses. And to be willing to talk about these moments in a trusted way. On Friday before the funding announcement, as the round closed, Flo sent me a text message: "Hey, thanks for not making me tell you 'we are crushing it' every time we talk and not totally giving up on us even through the rough patches".
To Flo and the team... Thank you for letting us be a part of the journey and congrats on building a foundational company! We are so excited for what's ahead.