Investing in Vantage

Over the last decade, the move to cloud has undoubtedly accelerated technological innovation for companies large and small. This move has translated to over $100B of cloud spend in 2021 alone. The dynamic of ballooning spend and a “blank check” mentality toward cloud has become a hot button issue for both engineering and finance leaders. However, actually understanding how to measure and anticipate cloud costs remains opaque due to the complexity around cloud billing. 

The lack of visibility around resource consumption paired with cloud providers’ clunky pricing and billing systems has left many companies in a lurch when it comes to managing their cloud costs and resulted in margin erosion (as explored recently in this post). Cloud costs can account for 70-80% of total COGS for fast scaling companies. Even then, most companies are still tracking their cloud spend manually via spreadsheets, if at all, without truly understanding how to prioritize and improve the bottom line. 

The first step for anyone looking to optimize this enormous bucket of spend starts with visibility, and this is where Vantage comes in. 

Vantage is building a cloud cost transparency platform that helps everyone – from developers to enterprises – analyze, report, and collaborate on and optimize their cloud infrastructure costs. With a single click, developers and financial operations teams can connect an AWS account and see spending broken down by resource type and trends over time. It also offers machine learning-powered reporting on forecasted resource consumption and projected spend by service or by custom tags. Most importantly, Vantage provides the transparency all teams need to control and optimize their cloud spend. 

This is not the first time a company has set out to unravel the lengthy cloud bill. Incumbents in the space have kept the buyers away with long implementation cycles and shockingly high prices. New demands in the cloud-native era have ushered in the need for a next generation solution.

First, managing cloud spend is a multi-disciplinary problem, involving participation from cloud engineers, leadership, and finops teams. Even though the latter two roles are served with existing solutions, engineers are often left out of the conversation. We’re seeing more and more cloud engineering and devops teams taking on managing cloud spending, and demanding well-integrated solutions to their existing infrastructure. At its core, Vantage is built for developers but also serves the broader team.

Second, companies have historically only paid attention to their cloud spend after it exceeds tens of millions of dollars or in advance of a major financial event, like an IPO. Thus the existing solutions in the market are tailored for large companies with dedicated teams. However, cloud spend is not a one-time nor an at-scale problem. It is an operational problem that requires ongoing monitoring and improvements that enable early corrective action. Vantage is designed to be operational – with the upcoming notification and alerting capabilities, teams can take their minds off of constantly watching the dashboards.

Additionally, simplicity is an underrated trait especially for complex dev tools. The number of AWS services are daunting and often have complex, hierarchical nesting several layers deep. Parsing and presenting them in a clear and consumable way requires deep understanding of each cloud vendor’s subtle nuances. Many engineering teams have tried to address this problem on their own, but it can be time-consuming and expensive, especially as services change and evolve over time. Vantage provides a sleek, easy-to-use UI where important questions can be answered at-a-glance.

When I first met Vantage founders Brooke and Ben, I realized they were the perfect duo to solve these problems. Brooke was one of the first engineering hires at DigitalOcean – another a16z portfolio company that embodies developer ethos and has product design + simplicity as its core. Ben also came from DigitalOcean and worked on the core compute Droplet product before joining AWS Container Services where he developed the core thesis underlying Vantage. The pair have been living and breathing the cloud for the last seven years and are deeply familiar with the challenges in managing complex services and resources. They are also the most humble, thoughtful, mission-driven humans I’ve met. We’re very excited to continue working with portfolio alumni and wrestle the cloud “bill-east”!

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