Microservices orchestration platform Temporal raises $75M and remains a unicorn

Temporal, an open source microservices orchestration platform used by companies including Netflix, Snap, and Comcast, has raised $75 million from a slew of high-profile investors including Sequoia Capital and Greenoaks.

The startup has also maintained its coveted unicorn status with a valuation of “just over” $1.5 billion, despite some reports to the contrary a few months back suggesting that its valuation had dipped below $900 million.

Founded in 2019, Temporal simplifies the development of distributed systems, which includes microservices, a software architecture built around integrations between smaller, function-specific components that are easier to maintain and scale compared to the monolithic software of yore. Such distributed systems rely on “queues” — a type of asynchronous cross-service communication — and databases to synchronize data across the board, which isn’t always reliable and is difficult to manage at scale.


Temporal calls itself a “durable execution system” that allows companies to manage an application’s state and monitor the execution of logic, all the while enabling them to push out software updates without disruption. Ultimately, it’s all about helping developers and engineers spend time on building differentiated products rather than creating reliability code to ensure that their microservices don’t break.

The Seattle-based startup is the handiwork of Maxim Fateev and Samar Abbas, who while working at Uber developed an open source orchestration engine called Cadence, designed to route requests and mediate interactions between different microservices to ensure they work in harmony.

The duo left Uber four years ago to launch Temporal, an open source project based on a fork of Cadence.

“Temporal simplifies the development process by shifting complex, error-checking code, retry processes, and state management to a central platform, so developers don’t have to manage these complexities,” Temporal CEO Maxim Fateev said in a statement. “My co-founder Samar and I have been building a durable execution framework for the better part of 15 years, and much of that work is foundational to Temporal.”

As with many similar open source projects, Temporal is building a hosted cloud incarnation replete with service level agreements (SLAs) for enterprise clients. Many of its original open source users have transitioned to paying cloud customers, including Netflix, Comcast, Snap, Box, Qualtrics and Postman, though it also claims other high-profile users that yet to make the leap, such as Datadog, Instacart and Coinbase.

Temporal had previously raised around $129 million, including a chunky $103 million Series B round valuing the company at $1.5 billion last year. In the intervening months, the economic climate has decimated valuations of some of the world’s biggest public and private companies, and reports surfaced late last year that Temporal was facing a similar fate — valuation tracking service Prime Unicorn Index noted in December that Temporal was in the midst of raising fresh cash at a valuation or around $880 million. However, Temporal says its valuation is more or less the same as it was a year ago — so while this isn’t a down round, it’s not exactly an up round either.

Temporal’s latest cash injection incorporated repeat investments from its Series A and Series B backers including Sequoia Capital, Index Ventures, Amplify Partners, Madrona Venture Group and Addition Ventures, with participation from new investor Greenoaks.

Microservices orchestration platform Temporal raises $75M and remains a unicorn by Paul Sawers originally published on TechCrunch

Seattle-based Madrona raises $320M for its eighth fund

Madrona Venture Group has been a mainstay of the Seattle and northwest United States startup ecosystem for years now, and it looks like it is going to continue that legacy going forward.

In a filing with the SEC, the firm announced its eighth venture capital fund, raising $320 million. That’s up slightly from the firm’s past two funds, both of which were $300 million vehicles. The filing comes roughly a year and a half after the firm’s last fundraise for its seventh fund. That slight increase in size is a different choice from many other VC firms these days, which have ballooned their fund sizes in pursuit of larger and later-stage deals.

Madrona in recent years has been on a hiring spree. It picked up Steve Singh, the former CEO of enterprise startup Docker, as a managing director earlier this year, and also promoted Hope Cochran as its first female managing director in 2019. She had joined the firm in 2016 as a venture partner, and was formerly the CFO of mobile gaming giant King Digital and telecom services provider Clearwire. The firm has also hired several experienced enterprise hands to round its portfolio services, including Katie Drucker and Mark Britton.

The firm is perhaps best known for its enterprise bets, and the firm has been on a tear this year writing checks. Among the companies it has invested in are Sila, which offers programmable banking infrastructure and Madrona led a $7.7 million seed; Temporal, where Madrona joined a Sequoia-led $18.75 million Series A round; and Stratify, an automated budgeting startup where the firm led a $4.9 million seed.

Last year, the firm raised a $100 million Acceleration Fund that was designed to take minority stakes in growth rounds at the Series B and Series C stages. No word on where that growth fund sits, or whether the firm will double down more on that strategy in the future.

Lee Fixel burnishes his reputation, raising his second massive fund in 2020

On Friday, former Tiger Global Management investor Lee Fixel registered plans for the second fund of his new investment firm, Addition, just four months after closing the first. But investors who were shut out of that $1.3 billion debut fund and who might have hoped to write a check this time around are already too late.

According to the Financial Times, that ship has sailed. Fixel has already secured a fresh $1.4 billion in capital commitments for the second fund, which Addition reportedly doesn’t plan to begin investing until next year.

It’s obviously a lot of money to raise in a very short amount of time, even in today’s go-go market, and will surely help cement Fixel’s reputation as a prized dealmaker, one whose reluctance to talk on the record with media outlets seems only to add to his mystique.

Forbes published a lengthy piece about Fixel this summer, in which Fixel seems to have provided just one public statement, confirming the close of Addition’s first fund and adding little else. “We are excited to partner with visionary entrepreneurs, and with our 15-year fund duration, we have the patience to support our portfolio companies on their journey to build impactful and enduring businesses,” it read.

According to Forbes, that first fund — which Fixel is actively putting to work right now — intends to invest one-third of its capital in early-stage startups and two-thirds in growth-stage opportunities.

Whether that includes some of the special purpose acquisition vehicles, or SPACs, that are coming together right and left, isn’t yet known, though one imagines these might appeal to Fixel, who has longed seemed to be at the forefront of new trends impacting growth-stage companies in particular. (A growing number of SPACs is right now looking to transform some of the many hundreds of richly valued private companies in the world into public companies.)

Clearer is that Addition is wasting little time in writing some big checks. Among its announced deals is Inshorts, a seven-year-old, New Delhi, India-based popular news aggregation app that last week unveiled $35 million new funding led by Fixel.

The deal represents Addition’s first India-based bet, even while Fixel knows both the country and the startup well. He previously invested in Inshorts on behalf of Tiger; he’s also credited for snatching up a big stake in Flipkart on behalf of Tiger, a move that reportedly produced $3.5 billion in profits when Flipkart sold to Walmart.

Addition also led a $200 million round last month in Snyk, a five-year-old, London-based startup that helps companies securely use open-source code. The round valued the company at $2.6 billion — more than twice the valuation it was assigned when it raised its previous round ten months ago.

And in August, Addition led a $110 million Series D round for Lyra Health, a five-year-old, Burlingame, Ca.-based provider of mental health care benefits for employers that was founded by former Facebook CFO David Ebersman.

A smaller check went to Temporal, a year-old, Seattle-based startup that is building an open-source, stateful microservices orchestration platform. Last week, the company announced $18.75 million in Series A funding led by Sequoia Capital, but Addition also joined the round, having been an earlier investor in the company.

According to Pitchbook data, Addition has made at least 17 investments altogether.

Fixel — whose bets while at Tiger include Peloton and Spotify — isn’t running Addition single-handedly, though according to Forbes, he is the single “key man” around which the firm revolves, as well as the biggest investor in Addition’s first fund.

He has also brought aboard least three investment principals from Wall Street and a head of data science who worked formerly for Uber (per Forbes). Ward Breeze, a longtime attorney who worked formerly in the emerging companies practice of Gunderson Dettmer, is also working with Fixel at Addition.

(Correction: An earlier version of this story reported that Fixel’s newest fund was already raised, per the FT.)