DevOps for device fleets: Esper raises $60M to manage devices used in retail, healthcare, schools

Esper co-founders Yadhu Gopalan (left) and Shiv Sundar. (Esper Photos)

Seattle-area startup Esper just raised a second round of investment in less than six months to support growth of its software that helps companies manage fleets of tablets and smartphones.

Insight Partners led the $60 million Series C round, which comes shortly after the company raised a $30 million Series B round in May.

Founded in 2018 by MIcrosoft vets, Esper is a DevOps platform for customers that manage fleets of company-owned Android devices. The 150-person startup helps companies with development, deployment, and maintenance of devices used across industries such as healthcare, education, retail, restaurants, and more. The idea is to beef up traditional mobile device management (MDM) software with modern DevOps capabilities.

Customers include Ordermark, which helps restaurants manage online orders; Spire Health, a remote patient monitoring startup; and Teach for India, which enables students to learn using tablets in rural India.

Esper said it now has more than 200 customers and expects revenue to quadruple in 2021. The startup is not profitable.

Esper CEO Yadhu Gopalan said Insight Partners reached out proactively about investing more cash in the company.

“There are already billions of IoT devices and the growth in the edge device space is continuing to accelerate,” he said.

The Esper team.

Spending on IoT cloud/infrastructure services grew 34.7% in 2020, according to IoT Analytics. Gopalan previously said the pandemic accelerated the adoption of intelligent edge devices for certain industries.

Gopalan is a 19-year Microsoft vet who led development of Windows CE and Windows Phone. Gopalan left Microsoft in 2013 for Amazon, where he built back-end technology for Amazon Go, FireOS, and AWS before launching Esper.

Esper co-founder Shiv Sundar also worked at Microsoft on Windows Phone and left in 2012. Sundar then spent time at Quixey, Cyanogen, and Huawei, where he led global Android strategy.

The Series C round included participation from Scale Ventures, Madrona Venture Group, and Root Ventures. Total funding to date is $100 million. Philine Huizing at Insight Partners has joined the board.

“For years now, we’ve seen these massive projections about IoT devices of all kinds. But on the ground, enterprises and SMBs are struggling with the reality that large-scale deployments of devices are hard and expensive when you go it alone,” Huizing said in a statement. “Esper has emerged as the only platform that provides modern DevOps capabilities in a package purpose built for intelligent edge devices.”