CAMBRIDGE CATALYST Issue 05

PITCH PERFECT

Sadiq Jaffer, CEO at Opsian, gives the lowdown on his start-up's service, which monitors and rapidly diagnoses performance issues for software

What’s your pitch? Opsian provides a service for

call “murder mystery” graphs. Pretty visualisations that don’t really convey useful information until there’s an actual issue and then each one is interrogated in turn to see if they’re causing the problem. We’re driven by our experience of actually building high-performance systems and believe in simple, actionable reports that are useful for proactive performance optimisation. The kind we had to painstakingly build by hand before Opsian existed. Developers and operations teams aren’t used to being able to get this level of performance data from their server environment so there’s been quite a bit of user education required. That’s involved a lot of articles, digital books and conference talks over the last couple of years around the idea of “continuous profiling”. It’s been great to see the effect of all this work in the term becoming established and potential customers approaching us for a continuous profiling solution. It’s led us to paying customers like Cisco, TransferWise and News Corp. Biggest challenges? Whilst being our biggest achievement, educating people about what’s possible when it comes to profiling is challenging. It’s taken a significant amount of What has been your biggest achievement so far?

attention and resources, and it’s still the biggest barrier to sales.

performance monitoring of software. It is very low overhead and profiler- driven, which means it can rapidly find performance issues that are invisible to existing tools. Developers and operations teams can use Opsian’s performance data to address current issues or proactively optimise performance which increases system reliability, reduces costs and improves user satisfaction. Opsian also helps organisations efficiently migrate their systems to the cloud where compute and memory resources are cost metered. How did the company start? We began the business in early 2018. I had come from a background of technology for online advertising, which involves large volumes of data and required high-performance systems to meet business requirements, while my co-founder Richard had experience doing software performance work. We both came to the conclusion that better tooling could have made a significant difference in our previous roles. What’s your role and background? My role as CEO at Opsian involves a bit of everything, as is inevitable in start-up life. Strategy, product, sales, marketing, hiring and general admin. Our CTO Richard covers the technical side of the business. My career actually started with a PhD in autonomous robotics, well before self-driving cars were cool. From there I’ve worked in a range of technology areas: machine learning, computer vision, compilers and computer games. Working for a couple of start-ups has also given me experience in product, sales and marketing roles. What makes the company unique? There’s a trend in the performance monitoring space of something we

Which individuals or companies are your biggest inspirations? Someone who has always been an inspiration is Isambard Kingdom Brunel. He took on deep-dive technical challenges in his career, overcame them and benefited people’s lives as a result. He revolutionised naval engineering and designed much of the Great Western Railway. The impact of software on the world at large today can be viewed as a new industrial revolution, and if we make a fraction of the impact that Brunel achieved in his life, then we’ll consider that a success. Where do you want the business to be in five years? I see a few big trends at play here. Software systems are only going to get more complex and, due to cloud costs and increasing availability of data, performance is going to be ever more important. Collecting performance data will eventually be commoditised but technology that can cut through that complexity and make it easier for teams to do performance work is where we see ourselves. In terms of the commercials, we would like to continue our present growth trajectory and build relationships with more companies. Find out more about Opsian at opsian.com

ABOVE Sadiq Jaffer set

up Opsian in 2018 with co-founder Richard Warburton

Collecting performance data will eventually be commoditised"

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ISSUE 05

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