Veteran programmer Mark Imbriaco has assembled a team to tackle “unexpected” problems stemming from new applications, and a Silicon Valley venture capital firm sees so much potential that it has invested in the stealthy venture. In all, six investors are backing the new company,, with $2.7 million.

In a blog post, True Ventures (which has a portfolio of more than 80 companies and whose team has led 14 startups) spelled out its reasoning for making the investment

“The problem Mark and his Co-Founder, Kevin Smith, are solving with Operable is a real pain point for anyone in devops: development processes have accelerated and apps are being produced at a faster rate than ever before, but production operational practices haven’t kept up. It’s hard to even know what apps are running, much less the dependencies between them and what happens when they break. Incident response is a chore rather than an important input for system quality. And finally, firefighting and pager fatigue make it impossible to make progress on projects.

“Operable is tackling this problem of incident management, helping companies get notified and collaborate to resolve production problems. Operable remembers everything you did, helping you get a head start when similar problems arise in the future, and helps you track the problems you’re seeing so you know where to focus your energy to improve your infrastructure. It’s a next-generation incident response system that manages the entire process to a degree we have not seen yet.”

The startup’s objectives

In launching the new venture, Imbriaco spelled out the objectives:

“Over the past decade our industry has seen a fundamental shift in the rate at which applications are developed and deployed. We’re still sorting out the ramifications but one thing is clear: software engineering and operations teams are bearing the brunt of the change. The processes and tools that we use to handle problems with those applications haven’t evolved at the same rate.

“Every system, no matter how well it is designed, is going to have unexpected problems. At Operable we’re distilling our accumulated experience building and operating some of today’s most popular applications and infrastructure services into tools to better equip teams to handle the challenges of modern production environments.

“It’s no longer enough to wake engineers up in the middle of the night when something breaks. They need tools which work with them and support their problem solving efforts. This is our mission. We want to arm you with tools to help your team collaborate to resolve problems, remember what you did, and apply what you learned back into your development process.

“Production is a hard taskmaster. We’re here to help.”

Why make the deal?

True Ventures also noted that the fact Operable is based in North Carolina made no difference,

“[W]e do care about our Founders and their ability to solve the biggest problems facing technology and the world, regardless of geography,” wrote Truve Ventures partner Pruneet Agarwal. “Operable is based in Raleigh, North Carolina, with an incredibly talented distributed team working all over the country.”

Agarwal praised both co-founders and said the two had come highly recommended from within true Ventures.

He called Imbriaco “the domain expert in incident management, having run ops at Digital Ocean, and before that at Heroku, LivingSocial and GitHub.

Smith, he noted, “previously worked with Heroku, as well as Basho Technologies, Chef and Planet Labs.

In sum: “This team has lived and breathed the problems they are solving with Operable, and they have the strength and vision to build a company around their area of expertise.”

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