At Accel we truly believe that great start-ups can emerge from anywhere, and no company has proven that point more than Instana, whose acquisition by IBM was announced today. We’ve only been shareholders for a bit more than 3 years and in many ways our journey was just getting started, but in the end the team got an offer they couldn’t refuse. We’re thrilled for co-founders Mirko, Fabian, Pavlo, and Pete.

In the list of unusual locations for tech, its original headquarters in Solingen may come near the top: a small city best known as the home to several of Germany’s world-famous kitchen knife manufacturers. In a place more associated with steel than silicon, you don’t find co-working hubs or artisanal coffee shops around every corner.

But one person has worked for years to put Solingen on the map for tech, and that’s Mirko. When we met him in 2017, he was already well-known in the city, as a tech entrepreneur through his previous consultancy business Codecentric. Walking around town with him, you could guarantee that he would be stopped a dozen times by people wanting to greet him and have a conversation. It’s been a privilege to work with someone who is not only a great entrepreneur, but a genuine leader in his community.

Instana is much more than a Solingen success story. It’s become a global leader in Application Performance Management, modernizing a large software category and democratizing adoption of what used to be a highly specialized IT infrastructure solution. Many of its global customers have hundreds of employees using the product, and in some cases the number of users has topped a thousand. The fast-growing company has more than earned its recognition as a leader inits field from analysts including Gartner and G2.

Investors will always say they can remember the genesis of each deal, but in this case it’s really true – because we agreed it over dinner on Valentine’s Day 2017. It was a memorable beginning to what has been a great and enjoyable partnership.  

Thank you Instana for letting us be part of your unique story. We can’t wait to see where it goes next.