Genuine VC: 

David Beisel’s Perspective on Digital Change

Timber! Out of the Woods: Why We Invested in a Startup With a New Approach to Logging

David Beisel
September 18, 2017 · 2  min.

For me, the most exciting time to become involved in a startup is the very earliest of stages, when there is a vision and promise of what could be. Pre-product-market fit. Pre-product, even. That’s exactly when I met Zach Sherman and Ben Johnson of what would become Timber.

When we first talked, they didn’t have a prototype developed yet. They didn’t have an official name. They hadn’t even incorporated the company. In fact, they hadn’t even quit their previous jobs.

However, the two of them shared a vision of a cloud-based logging platform designed to help software developers get more done. One that offered developers context to their logs, centralizing and intelligently parsing to offer them the ability to click, filter, and search in real time. This system, enabled by the new capabilities of tools like Amazon Kinesis and Athena, would empower developers to quickly find whatever they needed, address it, and get back to the more important work of building. Log files and dealing with them are a pain, where developers can get lost in the woods of data overload, and it didn’t have to be that way. Engineering leaders in our portfolio loved the idea, and so did we.

Soon thereafter, Ben and Zach officially resigned their previous roles and we, along with our friends at Notation Capital and Ludlow Ventures, funded them with a pre-seed round very next day. And since then, the Timber team has labored to make that product vision a reality. I am excited that today Timber is officially launching their product to the public. You can read more details about it on Product Hunt.

In the past couple months, they’ve had beta customers using the service, and engagement from users has been off the charts. Timber’s rich data context and navigation empower dozens of interesting use-cases, such as investigating the source of a data leak, finding out who modified a specific resource, locating other suspicious accounts when one was identified as fraudulent, and viewing third-party integration logs in one central place. The list goes on and on, and Zach and Ben keep hearing about new and unique use-cases from users all of the time.

As an investor, I’m excited because logs are essentially catalogs of events — and Timber is capturing all of them. In essence, they’ve created a fault-tolerant channel for application data, and the product possibilities from here are exciting. Our experience with portfolio companies like Code Climate and now Timber has opened our eyes to the venture-scale opportunities for developer-focused startups.

Today, I’d like to congratulate the Timber team on what they’ve done so far. Developers can see the difference for themselves with Timber’s nearly effortless one-command installers. A variety of languages are supported, and it really shines with Ruby, Elixir, and Node. I’ve encouraged our portfolio companies to try and experience it firsthand, as we at NextView are proud have been a part of the story since literally day one.

David Beisel
I am a cofounder and Partner at NextView Ventures, a seed-stage venture capital firm championing founders who redesign the Everyday Economy.