Startup Buoyant, Owner of Linkerd Project, Banks $10.5 million in VC

Former Twitter execs invest in Buoyant, which builds open source software for cloud-native applications using containers and microservices.


Buoyant, the year-old startup behind the popular open source Linkerd project and creator of the new service mesh category of cloud infrastructure software, has banked $10.5 million in Series A funding.

The round, announced July 11, was led by Benchmark Capital, with additional participation from #Angels, a female-led investment group of current and former Twitter executives.

Also joining the round were previous investors A Capital Ventures, Data Collective, Fuel Capital, SV Angel, and the Webb Investment Network. The round brings Buoyant’s total funding to date to $14 million and adds Peter Fenton to the Buoyant board of directors, only weeks after stepping down from the Twitter board.

Buoyant builds open source software for cloud-native applications. Founded in 2015 by senior Twitter infrastructure engineers William Morgan and Oliver Gould, the company’s mission is to make cloud-native software faster, more scalable, more reliable and more secure.

“As the entire software industry moves to cloud computing, the way that applications are built and operated is changing dramatically,” said Fenton, a General Partner at Benchmark Capital and member of the board of Docker, New Relic and Yelp. “Buoyant’s introduction of the service mesh has the potential to be as fundamental a component of microservices and cloud native software as TCP/IP was to network programming, and Linkerd’s open source adoption over the past year is evidence of how immediate of a need that is for companies.”

The open source Linkerd service mesh provides reliability and safety to cloud applications by managing the communication between the “services” in an application. In applications designed for the cloud, this internal service-to-service communication forms a critical part of runtime behavior, but is often hidden and unmanaged, leading to unpredictable and potentially catastrophic cascading failures.

By managing runtime communication and decoupling it from the application, Linkerd not only increases end-to-end system reliability, it allows companies to migrate their application between infrastructure implementations, data centers and cloud providers, reducing risk of adoption and of provider lock-in.

“A service mesh like Linkerd can be one of the easiest ways for organizations to incrementally introduce something like Kubernetes into their existing tech stack,” said Joe Beda, Kubernetes co-creator and co-founder of Heptio.

“By abstracting service identity and discovery, Linkerd decouples application code from the infrastructure it runs on, allowing companies to migrate business logic from legacy systems to Kubernetes incrementally and to have a uniform layer of visibility and control across their entire stack, regardless of the underlying infrastructure.”

Since its launch in 2016, Linkerd has seen widespread adoption across industries and verticals, ranging from startups like RocketLawyer, Zooz and Monzo Bank to established enterprises like PayPal, Oath and Credit Karma.

Earlier this year, Linkerd became the fifth hosted project with the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), the open source group that also hosts the Kubernetes container orchestration project. In May, the service mesh category received further validation with the launch of Istio, a service mesh collaboration between Google, IBM and Lyft.

Buoyant’s recent announcement of Linkerd and Istio integration ties these projects together, allowing Linkerd and Istio to be used together as a unified service mesh. For more on the Istio integration, please read the blog here.

Linkerd’s user base, which currently numbers in the thousands of engineers and billions of production requests per day, is comprised of DevOps practitioners, Site Reliability Engineers (SREs), platform engineers and anyone responsible for reliability of web-scale operations across distributed systems.

Buoyant is based in San Francisco.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...