When you work in a startup, it’s easy to get so focussed on the day to day tasks and it can feel like nothing is really changing. It’s only when you take a step back that you can see the bigger picture and realize just how far you’ve come and what you have accomplished.
When I look back over the last 12 months I can see how far we’ve come and know we have a lot of things to celebrate at Kosli. Take a step back with me as I take you through our year in 10+1 moments:
1. From Merkely to Kosli: The rename and rebrand
If you think you have deja vu, you’re not mistaken! Do you remember last year when we renamed from Compliance DB to Merkely? Well, we did it again! This year we renamed from Merkely to Kosli and turned the whole brand upside down.
When circumstances mean that change is the only choice it can lead to beautiful things. Over the past 6 months we’ve presented Kosli to the public at various events and we’ve received the most encouraging feedback and compliments. We just hope we won’t have to do it again 😄
2. Discovered a ton of new use cases
Back in March, during the company retreat, we were hanging out in the atrium in Startup Lab when a collective Eureka moment happened.
Until early this year our focus has been on solving change management and compliance for regulated DevOps teams. But that day in StartUp Lab we suddenly realized that Kosli could be useful in all sorts of other ways for engineers working on daily tasks.
With all of the change history for environments and pipelines recorded in Kosli, we realized it would be incredibly useful to query that database.
We started to shout out all the things we could search - the last 10 deploys, the diff between staging and production, all the running artifacts for any given day…on and on it went late into the night.
And, just like that, we realized we had a new, free tier, go to market strategy to work on.
3. We attended 7 DevOpsDays events
This year we attended 7 DevOpsDays events! We first presented Kosli to the public in June at DevOpsDays Amsterdam and we were taken by surprise by the positive feedback on both the brand and the product.
These events give us the opportunity to speak to technologists across dev and ops and hear how they are dealing with the huge amount of changes in their pipelines and runtime environments.
Not long after we came back from Amsterdam, we decided that it would be a good idea for Kosli to make a first appearance in the US. And indeed it was! Attending three DevOpsDays events in Boston, Washington D.C. and Chicago opened up a whole new world of opportunities. We really started to see the full scale of Kosli’s potential.
We loved our DevOpsDays tour of the US - the interaction with all of the various technologists we met was so valuable for us.
4. Kosli as DCA at DOES22 in Las Vegas
Following the US DevOpsDays events, where we made a lot of new friends, our co-founders Mike and James jumped on a plane to Las Vegas to attend the DevOps Enterprise Summit 2022.
Without a booth, or any level of sponsorship up their sleeves, the question was “How can we stand out in a sea of DevOps enthusiasts?” Say no more 😎 That’s when the DevOps Compliance Agency was invented. Mike and James attended the event as agents for compliance and audits. They went around the booths and talked about the processes companies follow when it comes to proving evidence of changes.
We cannot share any more details because as they say “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”, but we can confidently say that it was a great idea. We also saw someone in a Kosli t-shirt walking around the conference, so we had to grab a quick photo.
5. Company retreats & working remotely
Our team consists of folks working from three different countries: Norway, England and Sweden. Being a remote-first start-up allows for flexibility and gives everyone the freedom to work from anywhere. We stay in touch and ensure communication and information sharing through dedicated virtual office spaces (aka Google Hangouts) and ensemble work. We often talk about the practices we follow when we do ensemble work in the tech team and also list out the reasons why we do ensemble programming.
However, nothing compares to meeting the team in real life and working together in person. From discussing and building the company culture to developing the product, we came to realize the importance of these meetings. And this year we were fortunate enough to have had three company retreats where we gathered the team in Oslo.
For every gathering we try to keep a good balance between work and fun. We spend time discussing critical topics together, but also ensure we have free time to hang out with our colleagues and get to know the people we work with beyond work tasks.
6. Arti was the main character
This year our mascot Arti accompanied the team around the world on a tour of DevOps Days! We went to Amsterdam, London, Washington DC, Boston, Chicago and our home town Oslo. At each event we attempted to bring Arti into the culture of each town (emphasis on the attempted!) Oslo’s variation raised a few eyebrows. But those who know, know. Arti even got his inner Mulder and Scully on for the DOES event in Vegas where the team went as DevOps Compliance Officers. Note to self: maybe costumes were too realistic.
7. Kosli free tier launch (party)
Wednesday November 2nd, 2022 was a really happy day for us at Kosli as we made our technology free for everyone. We launched our free tier and had the honor to celebrate this moment with really good friends at DevOpsDays Oslo.
This was an important moment for us because we can now finally show everyone what we have been working on and the product is more accessible for developers.
Whether you want to diff your running environments, or follow your changes from commit through to production, with Kosli you can Record, Connect and Search all of your DevOps. Want to give it a try? Start for free here.
8. Seed funding and Innovation Norge grant
Following the free tier launch we had at DevOpsDays Oslo, we also announced two important milestones in Kosli’s journey: our seed funding round, led by Heavybit, Fortino Capital and Skyfall Ventures and the Innovation Norway grant we were awarded.
The seed funding of $3.1m has allowed us to grow the team and further develop the Kosli platform. We’re building new features for our enterprise customers and making the product more and more accessible for developers.
The Innovation Norway grant was awarded to us to pursue a R&D project with DNB and Firi to solve the problem of slow lead times for compliance in regulated organizations.
Our objectives for this project are:
- to create better developer tooling
- to facilitate highly secure processes and audits and
- to build performance insights into our technology to measure developer velocity
Our colleague Bruce wrote a few things about the Innovation Partnership with DNB and Firi that covers all the details: What’s the problem and how are we going to solve it?
9. Hosted our own DevOps event for technology leaders in financial organizations
Now this was a first for us! 🙈 We organized our very first DevOps event for technology leaders in regulated organizations.
We brought together technologists from the top financial organizations in the Nordics and talked about modern governance, audit processes, and the challenges these organizations are facing when they look to adopt DevSecOps.
John Willis opened the talks with a presentation of his latest book “Investments Unlimited” and a presentation of the three lines of defense when it comes to security and auditing.
We heard from Modulr about their journey with Kosli in the most creative way, and from Stacc about their journey to ISO certification. Diptesh from Shoal shared with us key strategies behind successful DevSecOps implementations, and Lamishi from DNB joined the panel discussion on how tech can bridge the gap on compliance, audit, risk and security.
Luckily for you, we recorded all the talks and you can watch them here 😎
10. John Willis joins Kosli
Remember when we said that we attended a few DevOpsDays events? Well, in one of them, Mike had a unique interaction with a very important person (VIP!) in the DevOps movement. A few polite arguments later, this person came to our booth because the possibilities of Kosli sounded too good to be true and he wanted to know more about it. But I’ll leave this story to Mike to share it with you at some point.
Fast forward to December, and we are really happy to have John Willis joining Kosli as our first US colleague. John is a renowned personality in the DevOps scene, has helped grow and develop multiple startups, and has rich knowledge on the state of DevOps in regulated organizations.
You can read from John himself about why he joined Kosli and how he sees the future of DevOps and the increasing importance of DevOps Automated Governance in the coming decade.
11. We graduated! 🎊
Last, but definitely not least, the long awaited graduation 👨🎓 Our colleague Arstan successfully defended his thesis earlier this month with the title “Continuous Compliance: DevOps Approach to Compliance And Change Management” and we couldn’t be more proud of him! 🥂
Oof! This year has been a roller coaster, but you know like the fun ones in Disneyland. If we could put this year into words it would look something like this 👇
So, we will continue the ride, and enjoy every second of it. If you’ve been following our journey for some time, thank you. If you discovered us recently, we hope you’ll stick around - seems like it will be a fun ride 🎢