Every so often, we meet founders with unusually strong conviction about solving systems problems. They’ve often lived through the pain of bad software, diagnosed the cause of their suffering, and made it their mission to convince the world they have the right solution. Starting a company can be the best vehicle to do that.
Tom Hacohen is one of those founders. Working on an open source encryption project, he discovered how difficult it was to create a reliable, feature-complete webhook implementation. Webhooks are the inverse of standard APIs, enabling servers to send data to clients based on specified triggers (“events”). They are used widely by companies like Stripe, Github, and Slack. And while they are easy to implement at a basic level, they can be difficult to deliver at scale. Large webhook senders need to manage delivery of millions of messages, in near-real time, to thousands of unreliable endpoints, over unreliable networks.
Where others saw webhooks as a niche technology, Tom recognized this as an important problem. Most applications rely increasingly on external services for billing, authentication, content hosting, and other core systems. Software is moving from monolithic designs, to microservices, to a collection of services not under the developer’s control. These services need a reliable way to interoperate. The most elegant way to do that is via an event-driven architecture — and with webhooks.
After going incredibly deep on this problem, Tom concluded that the issue was a lack of standard tooling or best practices. And he developed conviction that the problem could be solved only by doing the hard thing — in this case, convincing smart (and skeptical) backend engineers to outsource their webhook infrastructure. The willingness to take the hard path, because it’s the better long-term solution, is one of the traits we see in the most determined founders.
Tom started Svix to make his vision for better webhooks a reality. In a short amount of time, and with a small team, the company deployed over 100 organizations into production, including a number of large enterprises and fast-growing startups. They also proved the product could scale, adding advanced functionality like retries, logging, verification, alerting on failures, and consumer endpoints. What really stood out, other than Tom’s conviction and his team’s strong performance, was the success they found with smart engineers and the rave reviews they gave for the Svix platform.
We’re excited to announce today that we are leading a new round of funding in Svix. We believe webhooks will only become more important as applications continue to move toward event-driven architectures and users demand more responsive, low-latency experiences. And we believe Svix is in a fantastic position to solve the infrastructure piece of this problem.