Continuous software integration/delivery platform CircleCI nabs $100M

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CircleCI, a continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) platform for developer teams, today announced it has raised $100 million at a $1.7 billion valuation.

Alongside its funding, CircleCI also announced that it has acquired Vamp, a cloud-native release orchestration platform that automates facets of the software release and rollback process.

Continuous integration is concerned with allowing multiple developers to frequently push out small changes to a shared code repository and test it for product-readiness. Then there is what is known as continuous deployment, which is all about automatically releasing the quality-checked code to the final product in small batches. Companies can adhere to a continuous integration ethos but not continuous deployment if they prefer a manual approach to shipping final code changes, which falls into a category known as continuous delivery.

That, essentially, is what CircleCI is all about — it integrates with various tools and platforms such as GitHub, Bitbucket, and Slack to enable developers to automate many of their software engineering processes, monitor the quality of their code, and enable swift rollbacks if flaws are found. It helps developers move fast without breaking anything major.

“We build for the builders of the digital age — developers,” CircleCI CEO Jim Rose told VentureBeat. “Our goal is to help developers deliver high-quality code quickly.”

Above: CircleCI

CircleCI’s latest raise comes at a time of heightened activity across the devope space, particularly in the CI/CD sphere. Indeed, Jfrog went public on the NASDAQ in September, while CircleCI rival Harness raised $115 million at a $1.7 billion valuation (the same as CircleCI) back in January.

Other notable players in the space includes CloudBees, which has created a commercial, enterprise-focused product built on top of the open source Jenkins project.

Insights

Founded in 2011, San Francisco-based CircleCI claims a number of notable customers including Facebook, Spotify, and GoPro. The company had previously raised $215 million, and with another $100 million in the bank the company said that it’s going to double down on its existing product, and grow specifically across three key areas including “managing software complexity, continuous validation, and data and insights.”

This builds on other new features that CircleCI has recently introduced, including an insights dashboard that gives its cloud-based customers more data to help track the status of their projects and see which jobs are failing most, which workflows take the longest, and more.

Above: CircleCI insights dashboard

Ecosystem

CircleCI launched an ecosystem product called Orbs back in 2018, allowing developers to share reusable snippets of code that automate repeatable software development processes — it’s basically an open-source approach to sharing solutions to common problems, freeing businesses to dedicate more resources to solving more unique business-critical problems. In February, CircleCI launched private orbs, which allows developers to privately share configuration code internally across projects — this might be particularly useful in industries with high privacy or compliance standards such as finance or healthcare.

In the future, Rose laid out a vision whereby CircleCI further capitalizes on its “network effect and shared ecosystem of builders” to generate insights and data for developers. And that, partly, is what its Vamp acquisition will enable.

“The way we build today is more interconnected than ever,” Rose said. “Sources of change no longer exist solely in a repository, making it impossible for a single developer to understand the entire process. The acquisition of Vamp will allow us to go farther into production and bring feedback and data from users into the CI/CD feedback cycle.”

CircleCI does in fact already release research based on its vast banks of data via its annual State of Software Delivery report, which establishes benchmarks for engineering team performances. This gives some indication into some of the areas that CircleCI may venture in the future. One example Rose provided is a situation where a business sets key performance indicators (KPIs) around software tweaks and changes — “does this change decrease shopping cart abandonment rates?” — and then it can automatically rollback these changes if they don’t meet the KPIs’ stipulations.

“Over time, we aim to capitalize on our knowledge of how the best teams build so that we can proactively help teams manage complexity and avoid pitfalls other teams have seen,” Rose said.

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