Manifold wants to tackle the growing complexity of service management for development teams by providing a combination of management platform and marketplace for application services commonly used by developers.
Fresh from a $15 million Series A funding round from OMERS Ventures, Boldstart Ventures, Version One Ventures and Amplify Partners, Manifold sees a future where developers use multiple services from all over the Internet—everything from logging, to redis, to email—but without having to manage a large set of one-to-one relationships. Instead, Manifold wants to be the service aggregation point—the marketplace—where developers can discover the services they need, buy them, and use them without locking themselves into a specific cloud vendor’s ecosystem.
“As developers build their applications today, more and more they’re adding these third party services,” said Jevon MacDonald, CEO and co-founder of Manifold, “Whether it’s sending an email with Mailgun or using a logging or application performance monitoring tool.”
While it’s possible to sign up exclusively with a single large cloud provider and use only services available on that platform, developers like the flexibility of being able to choose what they see as the best tool for the job at hand. If you’re trying to work out at the edge of the new, limiting your options only to something significant enough to be anointed by a large market player can often feel too restrictive. That’s why third party services are so popular, and it’s good for the ecosystem overall as third parties push the big players to keep improving their offering.
Manifold’s approach is similar in intent to marketplaces offered by distributors and managed service providers in other areas, such as Equinix Marketplace, and Azure Marketplace; it’s a well trodden path. That helps Manifold by being easy for potential users to understand where the value of such a platform should be, and what to look for in Manifold’s offer.
“Operationally, developer’s lives are becoming easier because we’re not getting a pager notice at two in the morning when our SMTP server is down,” said MacDonald, “But we’ve created this cloud infrastructure management nightmare.” Not everyone is feeling the pain just yet, because while there is now broad market acceptance of cloud as a thing, widespread adoption of apps built as a composition of services is still pretty leading edge. That said, there are enough people doing it at enough volume that I believe Manifold probably isn’t too early to market.