After Hamas Killing of Co-Founder, Cloud Startup Firefly Raises $23 Million

A startup called Firefly that addresses the thorny and growing issue of cloud asset management with an “infrastructure as code” solution has raised $23 million in funding following strong demand for its technology and a four-fold increase in revenue. revenue in 2023.

The company’s latest success comes on the heels of a tragedy, as co-founder CTO Joseph “Sefi” Genis was among hundreds killed by Hamas in October 2023 at the now infamous Nova music festival.

The company finds itself for the second time at the intersection of technology and major world events: Firefly was born in 2021 after the outbreak of Covid-19 and a huge explosion of “digital transformation”. Suddenly faced with remote workforces, organizations turned heavily to the cloud to manage those workers and launch new services.

Organizations that migrated to the cloud took advantage of a great opportunity to work more flexibly and efficiently, but their transition also comes with risks. As companies spread their work across multiple containers, clouds, applications and devices, operations teams are struggling to track their digital assets, whether live or dormant. This can have significant implications for costs, safety and operations.

“How do you handle so much complexity?” asks Firefly CEO Ido Neeman (seated center in the image above). “You can not. The proliferation of tools is too overwhelming.”

Firefly services address this, with technology that can scan assets in clouds from major providers, including Google, Microsoft’s Azure, and Amazon Web Services, along with private clouds, containers, applications, and more.

Using artificial intelligence technology, the company creates a snapshot of the situation and immediately begins to highlight what might appear to conflict with something else, along with suggestions on how to remedy the problems.

Firefly solutions are delivered in the form of “infrastructure as code,” which uses DevOps and related teams as a way to provision and manage cloud resources, using code instead of physical or interactive tools.

“We do this by automatically and instantly discovering your entire cloud footprint across all clouds, all technologies, all infrastructure code,” Neeman explained. “We discovered everything in your cloud footprint. We then scan it to detect which part of your cloud is properly controlled and qualified. You control it, you own it, it is well governed versus unmanaged, poorly configured or inefficient. “Once we find such chaos, we will give you automatic solutions to solve it.”

(The company had previously released an AI that suggested and could automatically execute code, but disabled that feature after complaints from large customers due to concerns about hallucinations and simply doing things wrong. We still have a ways to go before everyone signs up for everything IA, all the time).

Still, just as HubSpot could be used for marketing assets or ServiceNow for infrastructure resources, Firefly wants to be “the source of truth, the cloud control panel” for the cloud, he said. The company’s solution comes in the form of suggestions that ultimately it’s up to the DevOps people to decide whether to implement it or not.

Vertex, a previous sponsor, led this Series A with participation from two other returning investors, Hanaco and SoftBank, as well as new strategic sponsor InMotion Ventures (the investment arm of Jaguar Land Rover) and Redseed, a fund created by former partners of DST. and founders. Firefly had previously raised $6.5 million and does not disclose its valuation.

Human chaos

Raising money as a successful startup today can seem like a big victory in itself. But it’s an even greater achievement when the funding comes after a hard blow.

The startup is based in Foster City in the Bay Area and most of its customers are in the US, but it was founded and maintains significant operations in Israel, putting it on the front lines of the tragedy when Genis was killed. (He is on the right side in the photo above).

Genis’ death came after a prolonged attempt to evade the attackers, an effort he shared via text messages with his wife. In the end, Genis and a friend hid. Cornered, they could see that there was no way to escape from one particular armed Hamas attacker. With no option to flee further, the couple tried to catch up with him. They both died. But the effort had a heroic end: the distraction they provided saved the lives of others who had been hiding with Genis and his friend.

“Because they attacked the terrorist, they prevented him from entering the shelter and seeing that there were other people there,” said one of the survivors in a television interview.

The attack on the Nova festival and surrounding villages began a long and controversial war in Gaza, resulting in tens of thousands more casualties amid the destruction of an entire territory.

Firefly represents the contradictions and complexities of the situation for people and businesses in Israel and Gaza, many of whom are inherently involved in a conflict larger than themselves, whether they want it or not. Despite this, some will try to find a way to a brighter place.

Neeman, who co-founded Firefly with Genis and CPO Eran Bibi (pictured far left), said the startup had been planning to raise money before this happened, a plan that was halted immediately afterward.

“We needed to handle this terrible situation,” Neeman explained. “He was not just the CTO, not just the co-founder of Firefly. He was a very close friend to me, Eran and the whole team. Sefi was such a beautiful soul, just smiling, happy and honestly a genius. So it was difficult.”

They delayed funding for months, but also thought about how to move forward (without becoming soldiers in the literal sense).

“I think the whole team became stronger because of this,” he said. “We are now all committed to making his vision a reality. Sefi wanted to solve the complexity of the cloud, so, for us, her legacy lives on in making Firefly a large and successful company.”

Growth began to accelerate: the company quadrupled in 2023 and doubled sales and the number of customers in the last six months.

“We signed some of the biggest Fortune 500 logos and created some incredible new capabilities to make cloud operations much simpler. We have added some great members to the team. We know we will always remember our good friend, but we are optimistic. “We are looking at the future.”

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