Yesterday, GitLab, a San Francisco based start-up, raised $268 million in a Series E funding round valuing the company at $2.75 billion, more than double of its last valuation. In the Series D round funding of $100 million the company was valued at $1.1 billion; and with today’s announcement, the valuation has more than doubled in less than a year.
GitLab provides a DevOps platform for developing and collaborating on code and offers a single application for companies to draft, develop and release code. The product is used by companies like Delta Air Lines Inc., Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc etc.
The Series E funding round was led by investors including Adage Capital Management, Alkeon Capital, Altimeter Capital, Capital Group, Coatue Management, D1 Capital Partners, Franklin Templeton, Light Street Capital, Tiger Management Corp. and Two Sigma Investments.
GitLab plans to go public in November 2020
According to Forbes, GitLab has already set November 18, 2020 as the date for going public. The company seems to be primed and ready for the eventual IPO.
As for the $268 million, it gives the company considerable time ahead of the planned event and also gives the flexibility to choose how to take the company public. “One other consideration is that there are two options to go public. You can do an IPO or direct listing. We wanted to preserve the optionality of doing a direct listing next year. So if we do a direct listing, we’re not going to raise any additional money, and we wanted to make sure that this is enough in that case,” Sid Sijbrandij, Gitlab co-founder and CEO explained in an interview for TechCrunch.
He further adds, that the new funds will be used to add monitoring and security to GitLab’s offering, and to increase the company’s staff to more than 1,000 employees this year from 400 employee strength currently. GitLab is able to add workers at a rapid rate, since it has an all-remote workforce.
GitLab wants to be independent and chooses transparency for community
Sijbrandij says that the company made a deliberate decision to be transparent early on. Being based on an open-source project, it’s sometimes tricky to make the transition to a commercial company, and sometimes that has a negative impact on the community and the number of contributions. Transparency was a way to combat that, and it seems to be working.
He reports that the community contributes 200 improvements to the GitLab open-source products every month, and that’s double the amount of just a year ago, so the community is still highly active.
He did not ignore the fact that Microsoft acquired GitHub last year for $7.5 billion. And GitLab is a similar kind of company that helps developers manage and distribute code in a DevOps environment. He claims in spite of that eye-popping number, his goal is to remain an independent company and take this through to the next phase.
“Our ambition is to stay an independent company. And that’s why we put out the ambition early to become a listed company. That’s not totally in our control as the majority of the company is owned by investors, but as long as we’re more positive about the future than the people around us, I think we can we have a shot at not getting acquired,” he said.
Community is happy with GitLab’s products and services
Overall the community is happy with this news and GitLab’s products and services. One of the comments on Hacker News reads, “Congrats, GitLab team. Way to build an impressive business. When anybody tells you there are rules to venture capital — like it’s impossible to take on massive incumbents that have network effects — ignore them. The GitLab team is doing something phenomenal here. Enjoy your success! You’ve earned it.”
Another user comments, “We’ve been using Gitlab for 4 years now. What got us initially was the free private repos before github had that. We are now a paying customer. Their integrated CICD is amazing. It works perfectly for all our needs and integrates really easily with AWS and GCP.
Also their customer service is really damn good. If I ever have an issue, it’s dealt with so fast and with so much detail. Honestly one of the best customer service I’ve experienced. Their product is feature rich, priced right and is easy. I’m amazed at how the operate. Kudos to the team”