TechnologyVC/PE

Sift Raises $17.5M Series A To Fuel its Telemetry Stack

Sift's telemetry software sucking in data. Image: Sift
Sift’s telemetry software sucking in data. Image: Sift

The new hardware being built in Silicon Valley from spacecraft to flying cars is about what you can’t see.

“Look at the bill of materials for a modern machine—50% of its software,” Sift CEO Karthik Gollapudi told Payload. 

He and co-founder CTO Austin Spiegel, both former software engineers at SpaceX, are developing tools like those they used at the world-leading space company to help other hardware firms work more efficiently. 

Today, Google Ventures led the firm’s Series A investment round, adding $17.5M in new capital to develop the product, including more support for machine learning. The company has raised $25M since 2022.

Firehose: Cutting their teeth at SpaceX, the two got used to the custom tools the company used to manage the data flowing from hardware on the test stand, in production, or in flight.

After a Boeing Starliner test flight went awry in 2019 due to incomplete ground testing, Gollapudi was surprised—”I assumed everyone built machines the way we do at SpaceX,” he said.

Entrepreneurs have built major companies such as Datadog for ingesting, organizing and presenting software analytics. But, per Spiegel, there isn’t a ready-made solution to handle the unique data generated by the wide variety of hardware sensors. 

And with many companies reliant on custom solutions, engineers responsible for things like propulsion systems find themselves waiting on software engineers to generate the info they need.   

“With Sift, what we’re really trying to do is put the tools back in the hands of the hardware engineer,” Gollapudi said. 

Early returns: Companies like Parallel Systems, K2 Space, True Anomaly, Astranis, MACH, and Astrolab are already using the software, which gives them tools to ingest new data, store it, visualize it, and create reports. 

Will Coffield, a partner at Riot Ventures, joined this round after leading the investments in Sift in 2022. The partners at his firm, which invests in hardware companies, “understood how much of a pain in the ass telemetry data management was and hadn’t seen anybody thinking about it.”

And as the company has grown, it has found new ways to add value: Sift can compress companies’ cloud storage bills “dramatically,” Coffield says.

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