GitLab announced it had raised a $100 million Series D funding after being backed by one of its chief financial investors Alphabet Inc., who believe the code sharing and collaboration platform has what it takes to surpass GitHub. GitHub is currently the world’s most popular platform for distributed version control and source code management.
Alphabet’s involvement in GitLab began after it lost out to Microsoft in the acquisition of GitHub for $7.5 billion back in June. They were quick to respond with an investment in GitLab’s $20 million funding round held in October 2017 through their GV, their capital venture arm.
It is also worth remembering that GitLab, whose primary customers include major companies such as Intel, NASDAQ and Alibaba, saw an uptick in their user-base as thousands of developers shifted their codebase from GitHub to GitLab, citing uncertainty over the way Microsoft has historically treated open source projects.
GitLab CEO Sid Sijbrandij was not too keen to conduct the next round of fundraising, but said Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub accelerated the process. “We weren’t planning on fundraising actually. Our plan is to IPO in November of 2020 and we anticipated one more fundraise. I think in the current climate, people are seeing that there’s one independent company, one startup left basically in this space. And we saw an opportunity to become best in class in a lot of categories.”
According to Sijbrandij, while many people still see GitLab as a competitor to GitHub and BitBucket, GitLab wants to be much more than that. With a 200% faster DevOps cycle, Sijbrandij envisions GitLab will rival the likes of Jira, Jenkins, BlackDuck and Puppet. “The biggest misunderstanding we’re seeing is that GitLab is an alternative to GitHub and we’ve grown beyond that,” he said. “We now offer services in nine categories all the way from planning to monitoring.”
Alphabet’s investment in GitLab is an indication of their belief that GitLab can become a bigger and much better platform than GitHub, with the former having plans in place to integrate newer features such as tracing and log aggregation as well.
While GitLab has already signaled that it plans to stay independent, Sijbrandij admitted that “there’s always a price”, if a major player wanted to come along and acquire GitLab. Alphabet Inc. without a doubt will be a front-runner if that’s the case.