I’ve settled on a new, bold, contrarian investment thesis for 2014: Invest in founders named Paul!
Jokes aside, today, I am proud to announce that I’ve led an investment, on behalf of DFJ, into CircleCI. The “CI” in the company name refers to “continuous integration,” which is a modern software development technique that results in better software products that are delivered to customers faster. Everyone in the chain wins with a tool like CircleCI. If you’re a software developer and/or curious about the space, learn more about the company and its market-leading products here.
I’m lucky to be involved with CircleCI. Here’s how the story unfolded…
When I first met the CEO, Paul Biggar, I did not expect to invest. I’m Bubba, the “mobile guy,” right? Luckily, Jesse Robbins, a close friend and (conveniently) an EIR at DFJ at the time, had the instinct that CircleCI was a special company that I might get excited about. For those of you who don’t know Jesse yet or haven’t heard of him, you should — I believe he’s one of the brightest devops thinkers in the world based on his experience founding Chef, starting Velocity conference, and mastering disaster at Amazon.
What Jesse gleaned from my background is that my experience at Facebook could translate over to deep appreciation for CircleCI’s product. He was right. While I was at Facebook, I witnessed the power of a totally different way to develop software versus how I’d been taught to write code and worked in industry for 10 years. I got to learn how it worked from the legendary Chuck Rossi (chuckr to his friends) first hand in bootcamp. I thought Facebook had invented these new development techniques as part of the value of “move fast and break things.” In fact, some ex-Facebook engineers even mentioned to me that they wish they had “Chuckr as a service” for their new startups.
It turns out that many of the the techniques Facebook used emerged from a variety of sources and were really put front and center by Eric Reis while he evangelized “the lean startup.” All of sudden, build-and-release engineering was being valued as a strategic advantage by companies. A variety of open-source tools and cloud services emerged to enable startups of all sizes to use continuous integration and deployment development processes. However, curiously, no cloud-based company emerged to become a dominate player like GitHub did for source control or New Relic did for performance monitoring.
As I thought about the challenges facing mobile developers today, it became clear that velocity and quality of development in a complex heterogeneous environment of server and client components was going to become an ever increasing problem. As my conviction grew regarding the size of this opportunity, I also concluded that CircleCI had the best product & team in the market. CircleCI also built a fast-growing business having grown revenue over 25x since they raised their seed round with over 1000 paying customers.
Great team. Outstanding product. Huge market. Great trends. Killer traction. No brainer, I’m in, and delighted to get the chance to be along for the ride. I’m excited to join the Paul and Allen on the board of CircleCI, and to help them build a large developer-focused company with the help of Steve Anderson & Michael Dearing – co-investors I deeply admire.
And yes, CircleCI is using the funding to hire so if you are looking for you next challenge check out their open jobs!