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DevOps Upstart CircleCI Closes Hefty $100 Million E Round

The prominent DevOps startup is looking to build out its product footprint and international operations as it ramps sales in a red-hot market for CI/CD solutions.

CircleCI said Tuesday it closed a $100 million Series E round, a massive investment that will help the startup pour fuel on an emerging portfolio in one of the hottest enterprise technology sectors.

A prominent player in the DevOps landscape with its CI/CD toolkit, the San Francisco-based company is now positioned to scale the business further in international markets while rounding out capabilities counted on by many Internet giants, CEO Jim Rose told CRN.

But sales are skyrocketing not only among web-scale CircleCI customers like Facebook and Spotify, but more traditional ones like Ford and Unilever, he said

[Related: The 10 Coolest DevOps Startups Of 2019 (So Far)]

The DevOps market as a whole is growing rapidly, Rose said, particularly around CI/CD. CircleCI has “seen a phase change” over the last six to eight quarters, he said.

“Continuous delivery has gone from being a glimmer in a startup’s eye to an aspirational North Star,” Rose said.

The latest round, led by IVP and Sapphire Ventures, brings total funding to $215 million.

With that investment, CircleCI wants to add product capabilities, especially around change validation, which customers are increasingly demanding to enable rapid and effective code updates.

“Being able to map and model and take care of all those sources of change is important,” he said. “We’re helping customers deal with the complexity of these new modern cloud architectures.”

Founded in 2011, CircleCI has always had a “bottoms-up sales model” with developers around the world signing up to use the product.

The trend of late has been more-established enterprises adopting the technology—traditional companies that are suddenly realizing they’re actually in the software business.

Over the last two years, CircleCI has built out a framework to formalize support for them, especially in global markets. More than a year ago, it opened an office in Tokyo for APAC customers, and five months ago one in London.

“We’ve been trying to drive growth with our existing customers and new customers, ranging in all sizes and types,” Rose said.

CircleCI usually comes in on the third phase of a big digital transformation project, Rose said.

Typically, a systems integrator goes in, establishes a relationship, and executes the first phase of cloud adoption. Then the second phase involves consolidation of source code.

“As developers pick up the pace, they realize they then need to replace tooling that sits between the code source and the data center,” Rose said, “and that’s where we get involved.”

CircleCI delivers CI/CD technology mostly in a Software-as-a-Service format, allowing developers to focus on building their core products and not managing their DevOps tooling.

Three years after its founding, in 2014, CircleCI acquired Distiller, a startup building continuous integration and delivery technology for mobile applications.

Rose, at the time CEO of Distiller, and his team walked across a street in San Francisco to meet with CircleCI leadership, and soon after decided to join forces, realizing the emerging DevOps market would come to demand a comprehensive solution.

Last July, CircleCI raised $56 million in a D Round.

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