Tech trio out to fix glitches from afar

BOULDER — A trio of local high-tech veterans has co-founded VictorOps Inc., a company that intends to provide a way for operations teams to manage and solve problems related to software system alerts and outages from outside the office.

Todd Vernon, Bryce Ambraziunas and Dan Jones brought the Boulder-based company out of stealth mode after announcing a $1.58 million round of seed funding Dec. 27.

VictorOps will use the seed funding to build a web and mobile platform that will enable the teams at companies charged with keeping websites and servers running 24/7 to collaborate using smartphones, computers and tablets to manage and fix problems.

“What people don’t realize is that their favorite website, be it or EBay, has a team of software engineers constantly fixing problems behind the scenes, and these teams are not apparent to customers,” Vernon said. “Problems just seem to happen a night, and these ops teams are very proud, they want to be able to fix a problem quickly. Our product will allow them to get that job done.”

When an Internet-centric business’ website goes down, it loses revenue. Most software-as-a-service companies, Vernon said, agree they lose approximately 1 percent of yearly revenue to service interruptions.

The best engineered infrastructures, with all the appropriate levels of redundancy, require constant remediation to deliver 24/7 service to customers, he said. It is typical within a one-week period for these teams to get hundreds of automated alerts requiring attention. Several alerts a week will escalate to events requiring multiple team members to work together to solve the problem

Vernon said customers have enormous expectations that businesses, now moving to the cloud, are always on, always available and always functioning. To meet this need, businesses have adopted complex and large-scale architectures, procedures and practices, often prone to glitches.

Until recently, mobile devices did not provide enough functionality to enable team members to collaborate and contribute on solving problems. Now, the same device can effectively be the alerting channel, the view into situational information flow and the point of interaction to allow participation, Vernon explained.

Ryan McIntyre from Boulder-based Foundry Group led the investment with participation from Chris Marks at Boulder-based Tango Investments and VictorOps’ co-founders, Vernon, Ambraziunas and Jones, who invested 30 percent of the round.

“The funding should keep us up and running throughout 2013 when we expect to start generating revenue, said Vernon, who is serving as chief executive. VictorOps is Vernon’s third startup, having founded Boulder-based Raindance Communications Inc., a web-conferencing company that was sold to West Corp. in 2006 for more than $170 million. He was also founder and chief executive of Boulder-based Lijit Networks Inc., an online advertising company that was sold to Federated Media Publishing in October for “just under $100 million” in stock, according to Fortune magazine.

“I have the most fun at this stage company,” Vernon said. “The bigger, the less fun.”

“We want to hire software developers and are seeking businesses to be alpha customers,” Vernon said. Interested companies can sign up at VictorOps will operate with about eight employees for the first six to nine months, Vernon said. It is subleasing about 2,000 square feet of space from Trada Inc. in the former Daily Camera building in downtown Boulder.

Ambraziunas, who will serve as chief operating officer, has spent more than 17 years developing and operating real-time communications services where “downtime just isn’t an option.” Ambraziunas most recently was founder and COO at Affinity VideoNet, a 24/7 videoconferencing company working with some of the most demanding customers on the planet.

Jones, who will serve as chief technical officer, has 25 years of experience in the software industry, the last 15 years as architect and builder of scalable Internet services designed to be “always on.” He served as chief architect and vice president of engineering at Raindance and Lijit Networks.

Jim Lejeal, chief financial officer at Boulder-based Rally Software Development Corp., will join VictorOps’ board as an independent director.

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