Highlight launches full-stack application monitoring platform, raises M

San Francisco-based Highlight, a startup looking to streamline web application observability for enterprises, today announced the public launch of its flagship product: An open-source monitoring platform that provides teams with a comprehensive look into the entire application stack and the problems associated with it in one place. The company also said it has raised $8 million in seed funding.

The investment has been led by Afore Capital and Craft Ventures, with participation from Y Combinator (W23), Neo, Day One Ventures, Worklife Ventures, Fuel Capital and prominent angels including Siqi Chen, Scott Banister, Sahil Bloom, Jordan Segall and Calvin French. 

Highlight will invest this capital to build out its product’s functionality and compatibility and to drive community engagement initiatives.

“Our open-source community allows us to unite full-stack development with full-stack observability, empowering engineers to deliver top-notch user experiences with unmatched efficiency,” Jay Khatri, company cofounder and CEO, said in a statement.

Highlight’s front-end and back-end monitoring

With the rise of digital-savvy consumers, businesses have become bullish on streamlining their development efforts. However, in today’s dynamic environment, just building a high-quality application is not enough — you also have to maintain and improve it from time to time. This is where the idea of monitoring comes in.

In the last few years, a number of monitoring platforms like New Relic and Datadog have come to the fore. Yet, most of these continue to be limited in scope, focusing on either user-side issues or back-end errors. This forces engineers to manually piece together front-end and back-end data to identify root causes and slows down the entire process of resolution.

Khatri, who previously worked at Google DeepMind, and Vadim Korolik, who was a technical staff member at Pure Storage, witnessed these challenges firsthand in their professional careers and decided to fix the problem by starting Highlight in 2022.

The company provides enterprises with a unified platform that gives a comprehensive view of the entire application stack, covering both front-end and back-end issues (if any). It does this by stitching together three key capabilities: full-stack error monitoring, front-end session replay and logging.

Highlight Session Replay

Error monitoring issues real-time alerts about glitches before they escalate, session replay gives developers insight into why the bugs are occurring in their web applications, while logging allows for error search and tracking across the stack. When all three come together, developers can quickly identify and resolve issues — without going through the tiring step of manual collation of data.

“Highlight is built on the OpenTelemetry (OTel) observability framework, making it incredibly easy to integrate,” Khatri told VentureBeat. “Enterprises can either opt for using Highlight’s off-the-shelf SDKs or choose to send OTel directly to Highlight. The adaptability ensures that regardless of their existing systems, integrating Highlight is smooth and hassle-free.”

Before the public launch, the company open-sourced the codebase for the platform and saw significant traction, with more than 5,000 GitHub stars and more than 5,000 developers. Early customers of the company included large enterprises and high-growth startups Beeper, Aurora, Focal, WeRecover, FlowClub, Influexer, Puzzle, Cabal, HotPlate, CommandBar, Potion and Levro.

“Our customers save endless hours reproducing issues by being able to visualize their observability data in Highlight and we’ve already had several open-source contributors build out full SDKs for our product,” Khatri added.

Road ahead

Following the latest round of funding, Khatri and team plan to build out Highlight by expanding its functionality and compatibility across different areas.

“First, we aim to expand our support for more environments and languages across our SDKs,” he said. “Secondly, we have several products on the horizon, including a tracing and metrics product. And lastly, we’re investing in community engagement, ensuring our open-source roots remain robust and thriving.”

According to MarketsAndMarkets, the market for observability tools and platforms is expected to grow from $2.4 billion in 2023 to $4.1 billion by 2028, with a CAGR of nearly 12%.

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