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We Raised A Bunch Of Cash · Fly

We Raised A Bunch Of Cash · Fly

2023-06-28 09:18:12

This previous July, we raised $25MM from A16Z and our present buyers, together with Intel Capital and Dell. Lately, we raised a further $70MM led by EQT Ventures.

Why do startups write bulletins like these? We went backwards and forwards on it. There are many causes, most of them dumb.

Our first cause is clear, and mercenary. It’s the identical cause we write something: to woo prospects. We’re all adults right here, we are able to discuss these items, proper? There are prospects who’re snug partaking with tiny, and others who’re snug partaking with the that raised a further $70MM led by EQT ventures. Alcoa: ring us up!

Extra compellingly, it is a possibility to gaze deeply into our personal navels. We’ve been talking to users, fans, and detractors about what we’ve been doing, for years. We advanced, and received faith a couple of specific imaginative and prescient of what we’re constructing. We shared that with buyers, they usually purchased it (suckers). Now we’ll share with you.

The Two Hour Problem

Here’s what we believed in 2020: apps work better when they run closer to their users. Some kinds of apps, like video or real-time presence, can’t be done without physical locality. So, that’s what we expected to talk about on our HN launch thread: WebRTC, edge caching, sport servers.

What individuals truly wished to speak about, although? Databases.

Right here’s what we missed: we thought there was a selected type of “edgy” app that demanded world deployment. However it seems, most apps wish to be edgy… if it is simple.

What is going on on right here? Why is edge deployment desk stakes for a sport server and an untenable science mission for a web-based bookstore? We predict it is as a result of sport servers need to be edgy, and on-line bookstores do not. The sport server crew will bang on edge deployment till it is solved. The bookstore crew will strive for about two hours, not discover a clear path ahead, after which surrender and transfer on to different issues.

The results of that is an Web the place the entire world’s CRUD apps are hosted in Loudoun County, VA (motto: “the place custom meets innovation”), at Amazon’s us-east-1 in Ashburn, a metropolis with so many Rails apps that one in every of them was elected to the county Board of Supervisors.

We predict everyone understands that it would be higher to run near customers moderately than within the Web’s least worst knowledge middle. However with abnormal tooling, getting an app operating in a couple of metropolis on the identical time is not a two-hour downside: in two hours, you may study that it is doable to run concurrently in Sydney, Frankfurt, and Dallas, however not the right way to do it, or how lengthy it will take.

So our wager is straightforward: with the appropriate platform and toolchain, individuals constructing bookstores, sandwich ranking apps, music recommenders, mailing checklist managers for church buildings, and each different type of app will construct apps that run quick globally. Not simply strolling distance from Carolina Brothers BBQ in Ashburn, however in Chicago, or Sydney, or Singapore, or São Paulo. As a result of being quick in a couple of metropolis on the identical time is a brilliant precious function!

We predict this sample holds for lots of issues. We will observe these issues down and construct them.

For instance: sandboxing, code editors and REPLs, and CI/CD purposes all have to determine the right way to run untrusted buyer code. All of them determine the right way to spin up locked down containers on demand. However with the ability to spin up a VM on the fly is a brilliant precious function for every kind of apps (as anybody who’s ever debugged a caught job queue can attest). Why does not everyone do it? As a result of it is not clear after two hours of investigation the right way to do it. So we built Fly Machines, which makes spinning up a VM as simple as calling a operate.

We have extra issues like this coming. Actual-time options and consumer presence are two-hour options. So is encryption and secret storage. And clustered databases. And hardware-accelerated inferencing.

There are different corporations trying to resolve “two hour window” issues for builders: distributed databases, knowledge locality, storage, AI, app frameworks. If we get proper, we’ll give these platforms new primitives to construct on high of, get new concepts in entrance of customers quicker, and ratchet up the standard of each utility wherever.

Feels like an funding pitch? Properly, yeah, it was.

Why We Raised A Bunch Of Money

Here’s what we think it takes to build this kind of platform:

  • A hardware fleet. has always run on its own hardware. There are fun, technical, “control your own destiny” reasons to rack hardware instead of layering on top of commodity clouds. But it’s really just economics. If you want to get people to build apps on your platform, you need a shot at being around 10 years from now. Hardware is what makes the margins work.
  • All the regions. This is subtle! We launched with 19 regions, which, if you’re just serving individual application developers, is plenty. But alongside individual apps, we want other platforms running on us — managed databases, developer tools. And those companies need all the regions. We’re up to 33 regions now, and we’re getting much faster at lighting new ones up.
  • Support and reliability. We’re under no illusions about the platform reliability task we’re facing, or about our ability to clever our way through it (we’re not that clever to begin with).

Those things are all capital intensive, and alongside them we’d like to place more bets: on advanced storage, on security capabilities, on new kinds of hardware. So you see where the money goes.

See Also

Here’s What’s Not Changing

???? There are two kinds of platform companies ???? : the kind where you can sign up online and be playing with them in 5 minutes, and the kind where you can sign up online and get a salesperson to call and quote you a price and arrange a demo.

???? There are two kinds of platform companies ???? : the kind you can figure out without reading the manual, and the kind where publishers have competing books on how to use them, the kind where you can get professionally certified in actually being able to boot up an app on them.

???? There are two kinds of platform companies ???? : the kind where you can get your Python or Rust or Julia code running nicely, and the kind where you find a way to recompile it to Javascript.

The kind of platform company we want to be hasn’t changed since 2020. Our features are all generally a command or two in flyctl, and they work for any app that can packaged in a container.

You can take our word for that, but if you’ve already got a working Docker container for your app, you can put us to the test. From a standing start, you should be able to get it running on in single digit minutes, and on every continent in just a minute or two more.

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