Solo.io Momentum Update
If we had to describe Solo.io’s 2021 in one word, it would be “impactful.” And “significant.” Also, “major growth.” Well, those are more than one word, but they sum up a momentous 2021.
Throughout the year, Solo.io continued to advance application networking while demonstrating its leadership within the Istio service mesh and Envoy open source communities. Solo.io has attracted large enterprise customers, grown its management team, and announced several industry “first and only” product offerings that enable companies to connect application services, service meshes, clusters, and clouds. As we sprint into 2022, we wanted to pause and reflect on Solo.io’s 2021 milestones.
Company and Customer Growth
2021 was an amazing year of growth. We started the year with strong customer momentum and continued the growth through the year. In addition, we continued to grow the team with new hires in engineering, customer experience, sales, marketing and business operations. This growth came through in our business operations and some of the metrics include:
- 390%+ Y/Y bookings growth rate
- 490+% Q/Q bookings growth rate
- ~95% gross retention rate
- ~120% increase in new customers
- 100%+ year-over-year growth in employee count
We also ended the fiscal year with 12 Fortune 500/Global 500 customers, including two of the top five telecom companies, one of the top five software companies, and one of the top 10 companies in financial services, autos, and health insurance.
In October 2021, we announced our Series C funding of $135 million, boosting the company’s valuation to $1 billion and unicorn status. This funding is helping us scale our worldwide go-to-market strategy and continue to innovate in the application networking space.
We expanded our leadership team, adding the best and brightest from the industry including Brian Gracely (VP of Product Strategy), Lin Sun (Director of Open Source), Neeraj Poddar (Director of Engineering), Barry Lieberman (VP Sales), Erik Frieberg (CMO), and many more across the company, growing our team by 100% over the last year.
We expanded our presence in Asia Pacific with new office locations in Australia and India. We also expanded our presence in Europe and continue to hire around the globe. If you are interested in joining Solo.io, please visit our careers page to see open positions.
Engineering was also incredibly productive with over 100 GA, beta, and patch releases including thousands of enhancements across Gloo Mesh, Gloo Edge, and Gloo Portal product offerings, including many “first and only” updates.
Key 2021 highlights include:
- Gloo Mesh Enterprise was released (1.0 GA) in February 2021 and immediately became the industry’s most secure, most reliable, and easiest way to adopt and manage Istio service meshes with tons of improvements over open source Istio. In the second half of the year, we launched Gloo Mesh Enterprise 1.1, 1.2 and with even more functionality, including the new Gloo Mesh Gateway.
- Gloo Edge Enterprise solidified its leadership position with many advancements compared to open source Envoy Proxy in 1.7, 1.8, and 1.9, including FIPS-readiness, SOAP transforms, Flagger and GitOps, Amazon EKS Anywhere, and so much more.
- Gloo Portal came into its own as an Istio-native developer portal with the 1.0 GA and is now a full API management suite. Gloo Portal is CRD-driven and works flawlessly with existing GitOps processes, helping customers document and share APIs.
- GraphQL support on Gloo Mesh and Gloo Edge was announced at Kubecon in October. Embedding a GraphQL server natively into Gloo Mesh and Gloo Edge enables federated GraphQL queries of customer APIs using their service mesh and API gateways with no additional GraphQL servers required.
- A new open-source project, BumbleBee, was announced in January to simplify the developer experience for building, packaging, and distributing eBPF tools. BumbleBee automatically generates boilerplate user-space code for developing eBPF tools and brings a Docker-like experience to packaging an eBPF program, allowing it to plug into other OCI-image workflows for publishing and distribution.
Industry Accolades, Education, and Events
We were recognized for our industry leadership and product innovation with award wins including the Boston Business Journal’s BostInno The Fire Awards, which honors companies setting the local innovation economy ablaze.
Commitment to Community and Education
In addition, Solo.io continued to support the service mesh community worldwide and prioritized community education. In 2021 we hosted 75+ training events, including hands-on workshops covering Istio education and certification, Kubernetes API gateways, and developer collaboration — all with more than 8,000 students. Overall these trainings were incredibly well received by the community as demonstrated by earning a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 75 out of 100, further demonstrating our dedication to ensuring customer satisfaction and building customer loyalty.
In August 2021, we were recognized by GigaOm as an Outperformer and Leader in the GigaOM Radar Report for Service Mesh for not only providing extended Istio support, but also an enhanced, production-ready version of open source Istio and Envoy, with additional innovation in Gloo Edge, Gloo Cloud, and WebAssembly Hub.
In October 2021, we participated at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America 2021, the most influential event in the service mesh industry. As the Diamond Sponsor at ServiceMeshCon North America, co-located within KubeCon, I delivered a keynote address and the Solo.io team presented 7 sessions during the event.
Finally, I want to thank our customers and community for being part of this journey. We look forward to continuing to deliver incredible innovation building a strong community in 2022.
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