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“The most valuable commodity I know of is information.” – Gordon Gekko, “Wall Street”

The character that won Michael Douglas an Oscar spoke the truth: The organized, efficient delivery of accurate and timely information is the lifeblood of any successful business. And for just about every major business function – sales, marketing, HR, finance – there are centralized, SaaS-based platforms that provide it. Except, paradoxically, for engineering.

Until now, engineers have been forced to rely on one of two frustrating options for organizing and synthesizing information: manually updating (immediately outdated) spreadsheets, or building on top of an open-source framework – called Backstage – staffing an entire product engineering team (frontend and backend) and putting up with hosting headaches like tedious, ad-hoc maintenance and security patches. Not a way to run a streamlined engineering team. Creating consistency across engineering resources, services, owners and projects gets harder by the day, yet engineering leaders have been left to grudgingly fend for themselves.

This is the giant, unwieldy ball of pain that Cortex alleviates and the reason IVP is leading a $35 million Series B investment in the company and its founders Anish Dhar, Ganesh Datta and Nikhil Unni. Cortex knows that engineering teams are focused on developer productivity, achieved by driving consistency and collaboration. Organizations want visibility into the ownership and quality of their services and infrastructure in order to drive adoption of engineering best practices.

Organizational culture doesn't change overnight. Recognizing that their buyers and champions have an Internal Developer Portal in mind, Anish, Ganesh and Nikhil have broken down the steps to get there: for example, auto-populate the service catalog before driving best practices through scorecards, then layer on workflows and actions in tandem with using plug-ins to the broader ecosystem.

Cortex – we love the name, btw – makes teams better by providing a lower TCO, faster setup time and higher overall ease-of-use than is possible with Backstage. We consistently hear this kind of high praise for Cortex from IVP portfolio companies. The director of engineering at one of them told us, “Cortex started as a service catalog and now it’s a full developer portal. The ultimate state is for teams to use it on a day-to-day basis to, for example, simplify launching a new service or quickly check ownership for another application component.”

Customer-obsessed founders with engineering vision & leadership

Anish, Ganesh and Nikhil are young, skilled, scrappy, highly motivated and attuned to and consumed by the customer pain. Each of them has experience solving big engineering problems, at Uber, LendUp and Twilio, respectively. Together, they’ve created a powerful, differentiated vision for reducing the toil and the mental load of building and running engineering services so that developers and teams are free to focus on the rewarding work – the building.

IVP is in the business of supercharging growth, and we look forward to helping Cortex build and grow the next major evolution in engineering tooling.