Fleet, a startup that offers a service that helps track and manage enterprise devices like laptops, announced today that it has raised $20 million in a Series A round led by CRV with the participation of angel investors, including GitLab CEO, Sid Sikhbrandij. Fleet CEO Mike McNeil says the new capital, which values the company at $100 million after the money, will go toward scaling the Fleet team and building a “more comprehensive” device management feature set.
Managing employee devices was already difficult for IT teams, but the pandemic made the job even more difficult. In a recent survey commissioned by device management platform Kandji, 95% of IT professionals cited remote troubleshooting, onboarding, and various forms of security as impediments to success. Perhaps that’s why, according to a separate Deloitte survey, the vast majority (84%) of organizations believe they lack a “truly effective” device management system.
Fleet aims to address common pain points with a “visibility platform” that manages not only laptops, but also computing infrastructure such as Internet of Things (IoT) devices and servers. The company’s product acts as a source of truth for device data, allowing teams to see the battery status of a laptop, for example, or if a file changed unexpectedly on a production server.
“The fleet enables teams: security engineering, incident response, IT, help desk, compliance, vulnerability management [and more] — ask questions about their devices and get answers,” McNeil said. “Some organizations have built their own Fleet-like solution from scratch to avoid vendor lock-in and allow them to modify the product as needed. But then they are stuck with maintenance. Fleet enables teams to build their own IT and security solutions to get the best of both worlds.”
open source origins
Fleet grew out of an open source project called Osquery that was created by CTO Zach Wasserman along with Moonfire Ventures partner Mike Arpaia. Wasserman was a software engineer on the security team at Meta (formerly Facebook) and co-founded two companies, Kolide and Dactiv, before settling on Fleet. Arpaia previously led software development teams at Etsy before joining Meta and helping Wasserman co-found Kolide.
Arpaia and Wasserman developed Osquery while at Meta to improve analysis of the social network’s internal operating system. The two, along with Jason Meller, CEO of Kolide, brought Kollide on board as the launchpad for Fleet, a version of Osquery tailored for enterprise environments. But Kollide management’s attention eventually turned from Fleet to its separate, user-focused software-as-a-service offering.
After leaving Kolide, Wasserman continued as Fleet Senior Maintainer and partnered with McNeil to market the project under a new corporate banner: Fleet Device Management, Inc.
With Fleet, users can push snapshots of device data to existing platforms like Snowflake, Splunk, Elastic, and SumoLogic. Fleet, which does not store customer data, according to McNeil, can monitor a variety of changes in the environment, including when an unlicensed app or extension is installed on a laptop.
Fleet is inspectable and modifiable, and all source code for the service is publicly available on GitHub, including paid features on Fleet’s fully managed plan.
“If a team needs a change, they can request a feature or they can just make the change themselves and test it, then submit a pull request to share the code with other users,” McNeil said. “Out of the box, all of Fleet’s features are programmable and available through a REST API and webhooks, which are useful for custom automation with in-house tools or platforms like Jira, Zendesk, and Tines.”
Growing user base
Fleet has competitors in Balena, the beleaguered Particle, and Sternum, which specialize in enterprise-scale IoT device management. The company also competes with security-focused device management platforms like Axonius, which recently raised $100 million at a $1 billion valuation. Tech giants like Google and Apple offer their own solutions, too, though they are limited to their respective operating systems and hardware.
Markets and Markets estimates that the mobile device management market will grow from $5.5 billion in 20221 to $20.4 billion by 2026. The expansion has been driven in part by an uptick in the broader open source services market, which Markets and Markets predicts that it will expand to $50 billion by the same year.
McNeil points to the size of Fleet’s user base as proof of the company’s success against its rivals. Currently, more than 1.65 million devices are managed, some from clients such as Dropbox and Gusto.
“Fleet’s feature set is unique, but it works well to fill the gaps in mobile device management solutions like Jamf and security tools like Rapid7, Crowdstrike or CarbonBlack,” added McNeil. “Floet bridges the gap of blind faith. The platform is a developer-friendly, authoritative, single trusted source for all device data, from servers to laptops, on any operating system.”
To date, the 16-employee Fleet has raised $25 million. The company expects to nearly double the headcount to 40 by 2023 with an emphasis on software engineering roles.