'The enterprise software market needs a kick in the pants'

New Relic, the application monitoring service provider, raises $80 million and issues a 'nerd economy' call to arms.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor

New Relic, the web application management provider for the cloud and datacenter, announced this morning that it raised an eye-popping $80 million for what it likes to call "a developer's best friend."

Roll your eyes, but this is a company that doesn't mince words. In a blog post, marketing vice president Patrick Moran explained why the startup -- which serves some 35,000 customers and promises to improve web apps' performance and scalability -- raised so much cash.

In short: it wants to be mentioned in the same breath as VMware and Salesforce. (I.P.O., anyone?)

"The enterprise software market needs a kick in the pants," Moran writes. "Every corner of the market is being disrupted. And that's how it should be. We've found our corner of it and it's huge: $20 billion huge! As we focus on delivering the best product we can and making our end users happy, we are now ready to displace the legacy providers and help reshape how enterprises consume technology."

As they say: them's fightin' words. Moran goes on to write that the company -- which has raised a total of $115 million from investors such as Benchmark Capital, Trinity Ventures, Insight Venture Partners, Passport Capital and Tenaya Capital -- believes that developers are key to the modern "nerd economy," yet few are focused on helping them out, especially if they're mobile developers. New Relic wants to change that.

"We are at a unique point in time where we can focus on our own unique model and build a multi-billion dollar, standalone-company that is just as important as VMware or Salesforce in today's market," Moran writes. "Our vision expands beyond 'just' APM (Application Performance Management) and this funding gives us a stepping stone for realizing our grand(er) plans."

The company's pitch is thus: their platform can be fully implemented in five minutes, and provides 24x7 real user monitoring and code-level diagnostics for web apps deployed on dedicated infrastructures, the cloud, or hybrid environments.

The platform supports Ruby, Python, PHP, Java, and .NET; the company also partners with several cloud management, platform, and hosting vendors including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Windows Azure, Rackspace and Joyent.

In short, New Relic's reach is huge, collecting 85 billion measurements from a million app instances via customers such as Walmart, Nike, Verizon, Macy's, AT&T and Johnson & Johnson. Its business is largely split between the U.S. (44 percent) and Europe (35 percent), but it has footholds in South America (9 percent), Asia (6 percent) and EMEA (6 percent).

Can New Relic rule the world? It certainly thinks so. And with a war chest like that, it just might.

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