GitLab lands $1.5M to be the open-sourced GitHub

Bambi Francisco Roizen · July 9, 2015 · Short URL:

Founder says the startup is riding the popularity of Git and open-sourced software in the enterprise

When you first hear the name "GitLab", you might think it's a variation of GitHub. And in fact, you'd be correct. But rather, it's a better version, at least according to GitLab founders. 

And it's received $1.5 million in new financing to prove it. The financing comes from Khosla Ventures, 500 Startups, Crunchfund, Sound Ventures and Liquid 2 Ventures. The new funds will be used to partly expand the company's sales team.

GitLab essentially offers access to Git repositories, much like GitHub, but there is a difference. "It's similar in a sense that both let you manage your code," said Sytse “Sid” Sijbrandij, Founder and CEO of GitLab. "What makes us different is that this is an open-source software so anyone can contribute."

Since GitLab started in 2011 as Dmitriy Zaporozhets' hobby, the company has grown to count 800 contributors adding features frequently. Zaporozhets, who is CTO, started working on GitLab full time in January 2013. Today, the company has more than 100,000 users. A portion of those users work for large companies that pay GitLab $49 per user per year.

Sijbrandij wouldn't say how many paying customers GitLab has, but he noted that a lot of companies are switching from GitHub to GitLab and migrating away from SVN (subversion) repositories to GitLab. SVN repositories are a challenge for many developers because they may not be easily accessible. 

So why is a product like GitLab in demand today? "We're riding two trends – SVN to Git – because it allows you to make a proposal so it’s much easier for people outside the team to make a proposal into the system. That wasn’t the case with SVN... The second wave is the advancement of open-source software in the enterprise. With open-source software, there's less risk of vendor-source lock in and people can collaborate [more effectively].

(Image source: git)

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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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