French startup Zenaton raised $2.35 million from Accel and Point Nine Capital, with the Slack Fund, Kima Ventures, Julien Lemoine and Francis Nappez also participating. The company wants to take care of the most tedious part of your application — asynchronous jobs and background tasks.
While it has never been easier to develop a simple web-based service with a database, building and scaling workflows that handle tasks based on different events still sucks.
Sometimes your background task fails and it’s going to take you days before you notice that your workflow stopped working. Some workflows might require so much resources that you’ll end up paying a huge server bill to get more RAM to handle those daily cron jobs and performance spikes.
And yet, many small companies would greatly benefit from adding asynchronous jobs. For instance, you could improve your retention rate by sending email reminders. You could try to upsell your customers with accessories if you’re running an e-commerce website. You could ask for reviews a few hours after a user found a restaurant through your app.
“We work hard to make it super easy – as a developer, you just have to install the Zenaton agent on your worker servers. That’s all. Specifically, you’ll no longer have to maintain a queuing system for your background jobs, there’s no more cron, no more database migrations to store transient states,” co-founder and CEO Gilles Barbier told me. Barbier previously worked at The Family and Zenaton is part of The Family’s portfolio.
Zenaton is already working with a big client and handles millions of workflow instances for them. You can try Zenaton for free if you execute less than 250,000 tasks per month. After that, plans start at $49 per month and you’ll pay more depending on how much RAM you consume with your workflows.
For now, you can integrate Zenaton with a PHP and a Node application, but the company is working on more languages, starting with Python, Ruby and Java. It’s clear that the product is still young.
But it sounds like a promising start. If you have a small development team, it could make sense to use Zenaton and a workflow-as-a-service approach.