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Building Two Open-Source Startups in a Row: Sysdig CEO Loris Degioanni (Part 6)

Posted on Sunday, Jul 14th 2019

Sramana Mitra: The $2.5 million of seed capital that you raised, what was the next milestone? How long did it take you from there to deliver your first product?

Loris Degioanni: Based on my background and experience with open source, I decided that I wanted to approach this second adventure with an open source philosophy. This was very important. That was our strategy and vision early on.

In particular, we were working on the core instrumentation component of our product, which is the unique secret sauce. I was working on ways to essentially releasing in an open source form that would be relevant, useful, and appealing to the broader community.

What I was trying to solve was a chicken-and-egg problem. You need to have something for people to come to you, but you need people to come to you to be able to prove that you have something. The very important goal, initially, was releasing something as open source. Not only that but also capturing the interest of our target audience and start nurturing a community around that. That’s what we did.

We did it by launching Sysdig in 2014. A little story. The company was not called Sysdig originally. It was called Draius, which is a noun from the dialect of where I grew up in Italy. It means footprint. Sysdig was the name of this open tool that we released.

When we launched Sysdig in the spring of 2014, it became so popular that our company started becoming recognized for Sysdig. I decided to just change the name and call the company Sysdig. It was spring of 2014. The launch of Sysdig and the community interest and the industry interest around the tool was really what allowed us to raise our A round.

When we raised our A round, we were still pre-monetization. We operate in a very technical industry where it typically takes years to be able to launch a product. Our first commercial product was launched in July of 2015. This was still one year before Sysdig started making money.

Everybody could see what we had done. Everybody was talking about this. At that point, investors starting coming to us instead of us going to them. This is when we raised our A round.

Sramana Mitra: What year was that?

Loris Degioanni: That was 2014.

Sramana Mitra: After Series A, how long did it take you to start monetizing?

Loris Degioanni: In six months, we started monetizing. The Series A was at the end of 2014. We started monetizing in the summer of 2015.

Sramana Mitra: The monetization model was the traditional open-source of training and premium product?

Loris Degioanni: Not really. I never liked that model. It’s more like we created a platform based on the capture functionality that I was describing. On top of it, we’ve built a platform of products that helped enterprises run software like cloud and micro-services.

This platform includes a monitoring tool called Sysdig Monitor, a security tool called Sysdig Secure, run-time protection for your application, and forensics to investigate when someone breaches your software. We offer troubleshooting as well. We offer many kinds of functionalities. We have other open source projects.

These projects are part of this platform. Sysdig gives you a bunch of free open source tools that you can use to make sure that your modern cloud-based micro-service application runs properly. You can stitch together and then build a bunch of glue around them.

Or you can buy a nice platform where the platform includes much more. It’s almost like the open source tools are components of a bigger platform that can be extracted and used independently.

This segment is part 6 in the series : Building Two Open-Source Startups in a Row: Sysdig CEO Loris Degioanni
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