Seattle startup Esper raises $30M to grow DevOps platform for IoT device fleets

Members of the Esper team, including CEO Yadhu Gopalan (center, in vest). (Esper Photo)

New funding: Seattle startup Esper landed a $30 million investment to fuel its fast-growing technology that helps companies manage their cloud-based IoT devices.

The software: Founded in 2018, Esper is a DevOps platform for customers that manage fleets of company-owned Android devices. The 100-person startup helps companies with development, deployment, and maintenance of devices such as point-of-sale tablets, connected-fitness devices, and ticketing kiosks. The idea is to beef up traditional mobile device management (MDM) software with modern DevOps capabilities.

Traction: Esper had a big 2020 as its revenue spiked 70X, customer count grew 8X, and the number of devices running Esper grew 15X. Spending on IoT technology is expected to grow from $749 billion in 2020 to $1.1 trillion in 2023, according to Statista, which noted that spending dropped due to the pandemic. However, Esper CEO Yadhu Gopalan said the pandemic accelerated the adoption of intelligent edge devices for certain industries.

Leadership: Gopalan is a 19-year Microsoft vet who led development of Windows CE and Windows Phone. Gopalan left Microsoft in 2013 for Amazon, where he built back-end technology for Amazon Go, FireOS, and AWS before launching Esper.

Esper co-founder Shiv Sundar also worked at Microsoft on Windows Phone and left in 2012. Sundar then spent time at Quixey, Cyanogen, and Huawei, where he led global Android strategy.

Investors: Scale Venture Partners led the Series B round, with participation from Madrona Venture Group, Root Ventures, Ubiquity Ventures, and Haystack. Total funding to date is $40.6 million.

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