Business Startups Venture

Austin-Based Coder Raises $30M For Cloud-Based Software Development

Coder, an Austin startup that is building a cloud-based development suite, has raised $30 million in Series B funding led by GGV Capital.

Existing backers Uncork Capital and Redpoint Ventures also participated in the financing, along with In-Q-Tel Inc. The investment comes 11 months after Coder raised an $8.4 million Series A round led by Redpoint Ventures, and brings the company’s total funding to $43 million since its 2017 inception. According to Forbes, the money was raised at a $200 million valuation.

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I have a special place in my heart for this company because I was the first to interview its co-founders in November 2018, when they had just raised $4.5 million in seed funding at the age of 20.

John A. Entwistle, Kyle Carberry and Ammar Bandukwala had worked together for seven years prior to forming Coder with the initial goal of helping developers write more code. They raised their seed money by “cold emailing” potential funders. Founders Fund and Austin-based Capital Factory contributed to that seed round.

What it does

Coder released its open source project in March of 2019, and quickly pivoted to working on its enterprise product, which it started delivering in December, according to Entwistle.

Coder provides open source tools and an enterprise platform with the goal of making it easier for organizations to configure, secure and scale their development environments. The end goal, naturally, is to “dramatically increase productivity.”

Simply put, “Coder’s mission is to make software developers happier,” Carberry said.

“We do this by automating away the configuration and maintenance of development environments, letting developers focus on their code,” noted Bandukwala.

Specifically, Coder Enterprise orchestrates full-featured development environments, which can be deployed on either public or private clouds. All development actions and source code are centralized on an organization’s internal infrastructure, giving engineers access to cloud resources and enterprises the ability to remove risks coming from insecure endpoints, the company claims.

In a statement, the company adds: “Each environment on Coder is created from a pre-configured image, ensuring security, consistency and reproducibility. Engineering resources can be shifted quickly between teams to meet objectives without having to spend time re-configuring development environments.” Engineers, it says, can work on sensitive source code and data sets without intellectual property having to leave the organization’s protected network.

Coder says its offering is used “by many of the world’s largest organizations,” including the U.S. Air Force and other government entities, according to Forbes.

“Two years ago we had just launched our consumer platform, now our tools are in the hands of millions of engineers,” Entwistle said. “We’re focused on creating an unbelievable cloud-based development experience, and there’s still a lot to be discovered.”

Investor POV

As part of the financing, GGV Capital Managing Partner Glenn Solomon will join the Coder board of directors.

“The Coder founders are rare talents–they built a platform embraced by both developers and enterprises,” Solomon said. “The platform showcases the value of centrally managed remote development environments, meaning security and productivity aren’t mutually exclusive. We are thrilled to be working with this team and help them grow.”

The new capital will go toward supporting an “aggressive” hiring plan and toward product innovation and increased global growth. Coder currently has about 30 employees working out of its office in Austin.

“We have plans to scale quite a bit from this round,” Entwistle said.

Background

Entwistle first met his co-founders when he was 13 and running a small game server company out of his parents’ home in New York.  At one point, he decided he needed to hire an engineer and connected with Carberry, who lived in Saskatoon, Canada, and also happened to be 13. The two teens clicked and began working together.

“We had more users, and after about three to four months, we were generating $10,000 a month in revenue and, as kids, we got extremely excited about everything,” Entwistle told Crunchbase News. “As things continued to grow, we realized we needed a system architect to manage all the servers.”

A few Skype conversations later, and the young pair hired 12-year-old Bandukwala out of Alabama to join their efforts.

“Over the next several years we evolved from building game servers to building DDOS mitigation platforms, 1 million-plus monthly visitor websites and peer-to-peer file sharing companies,” Entwistle recalls. “We were spending 12 hours a day on skype calls trying to build something great. That’s how we spent our childhood. That was our lives.”

In the process of creating the companies, websites and platforms, the trio began to ask themselves why they were writing code on their local computers when all their spec sheets, repositories and products lived in the cloud.

“The idea of ‘Google Docs’ for code wasn’t a new one, but we knew that if we didn’t want to use existing solutions, there must be a better way,” Entwistle said.

So immediately upon graduating from high school in 2016, the three set out to build Coder.

As I noted when I last covered the company, it’s not every day you see such young people making headlines for starting tech companies and raising millions in funding. Pretty impressive!

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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