GitLab's $20M VC Haul Signals the Rise of Team-Centric Dev Tools

GitLab announced the receipt of $20 million in venture capital funding for its collaboration platform, signaling a rise in team-centric development.

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GitLab's recent $20 million venture capital haul signals a resurgence in the use of application development tools aimed at supporting teams of developers.

Earlier this week, GitLab, which provides a collaboration platform that enables developers to develop, test and deploy software together, announced it received $20 million in a funding round led by a new investor, August Capital, with participation from existing investors Y Combinator and Khosla Ventures, bringing total funding to date to $25.6 million.

Sid Sijbrandij, CEO and co-founder of GitLab, said the new financing will be used to accelerate the development of GitLab's tools and help increase adoption of the platform. The GitLab platform helps enterprises and startups alike scale projects across functional groups, as developers collaborate in real time to manage workflows and version control.

Mik Kersten, CEO of Tasktop Technologies, which provides application lifecycle management (ALM) integration and developer productivity solutions, said he believes the latest round of funding for GitLab is a great indicator of the way that team-centric development tools are taking over the industry.

"Where Agile planning tools used to be mandated top-down, the new breed of Atlassian, GitHub, GitLab, and open source is causing much faster bottom-up transformations of how enterprise software is built," Kersten said. "This may even bring about the tipping point where software execs are forced to learn the difference between Git and GitHub."

Sijbrandij echoed Silicon Valley venture capitalist Marc Andreessen's famous comment that software is eating the world. He noted that software is transforming all industries and developers are central to this transformation, as to compete effectively, every company must now become a software company. In the process, the open-source movement has taken over and the estimated 18 million developers worldwide are embracing it. That's where Git, the open-source version control system, comes in.

GitLab officials estimate that around 30 percent of all developers use Git. GitLab provides Git repository management, code reviews, issue tracking, activity feeds and wikis. More than 100,000 organizations worldwide now use GitLab, and the company has hosted over 1 million projects in since 2014. The new financing will accelerate the development of GitLab to continue to help teams scale projects, Sijbrandij said. Large GitLab customers include IBM, Macy's, ING, NASA and VMware.

"We are seeing a shift in the landscape as the disparate tools that were designed to enable collaboration and speed up development are actually slowing down the enterprise development process," Sijbrandij said in a blog post on the funding. "Developers are looking at Git and open source for solutions to deliver higher quality software, faster."

Moreover, Sijbrandij said as modern developer roles shift from assembly line to managing the full process, there is a greater need to track the full path of development.

"While many tools exist to serve each stage of the development lifecycle, we believe an integrated set of open source tools is the best way to deliver Conversational Development," he said. Sijbrandij described Conversational Development as a natural evolution of software development that carries a conversation across functional groups throughout the development process, enabling developers to track the full path of development in a cohesive and intuitive way. "ConvDev accelerates the development lifecycle by fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing from idea to production," he noted.

"GitLab is providing developers with a new way to view the development process as a seamless, iterative conversation that maps to how developers work today," said Villi Iltchev, partner at August Capital, in a statement. "This 'conversational development' is a natural evolution for software engineers that covers the entire lifecycle from idea to production with agility and collaboration. Born in the enterprise and founded by an exceptional team of developers, GitLab has reimagined the software development process with an open core and flexible deployment solution that is ideal for companies of all sizes."

The GitLab code collaboration platform unifies planning and feedback, issues, code review, continuous integration and continuous delivery into a single user interface.

GitLab has taken on the ambitious vision of creating a single super product that spans the software delivery pipeline, from business ideas to deployment, Kersten said. Atlassian has been doing the same, and GitHub recently announced new Agile planning and code review tools.

"So we have multiple vendors all competing for being your software delivery tool of choice," Kirsten told eWEEK. "That's great news as it increases options and competition. But it will continue to wreck havoc with enterprise lifecycle tool chains, which are still recovering from previous vendors' attempts to create the single repository of choice. In addition, more and more developer conversations are switching to other channels like Slack, which is why it is good to see GitLab differentiating with a more conversational approach to development."

However, the biggest challenge will be the integration of all of these new approaches with entrenched enterprise systems. That is where Tasktop could come in with its integration platform, Kersten noted. Tasktop provides tools that enable developers to integrate their entire software development lifecycle and supports the new breed of developer-centric tools.