Startups Venture

Codefresh Picks Up $8M, Led By Microsoft’s M12 Venture Shop

This morning Codefresh, a company that helps developers quickly deploy code in a containerized environment, announced that it raised an $8 million Series B. The firm raised a similarly-sized $7 million Series A in 2016.

The capital event was led by M12, the artist formerly known as Microsoft Ventures. Viola Ventures, which led the firm’s Series A, also took part in the new round, along with CEIF.

Codefresh specializes in rapid and automated app deployment to Kubernetes. The firm’s release claims it can execute in “as little as 10 minutes.” Kubernetes is an open-source tool that helps manage containerized apps. Containerization is a growing development method that allows developers to “deploy and run distributed applications without launching an entire virtual machine,” according to TechTarget.

An $8 million Series B is small, but I wanted to highlight this round for two quick reasons. First, to note that Microsoft’s bet on open source is ongoing. Or more simply, that the firm’s about-face from its historical anti-open source stance continues.

And, second, to remind ourselves what M12 actually is. Microsoft’s venture activity has a long and oddly tortured history. Let’s remind ourselves of some of the highlights: Back in the day, there was the Bing Fund, which was later killed off. But not for long! Microsoft Ventures came back, sorta, when Microsoft got back into the investing game, pushing it accelerator work under a new name so that its VC work could be called, you guessed it, Microsoft Ventures. But then later the firm decided that it was all a bit confusing, renaming Microsoft Ventures as M12.

Got all that? The backstory isn’t too important other than to show that it took Microsoft a long time to figure out what it wanted to do in the venture space. I was told back in the more confusing days, for example, that the company didn’t want to get into VC as VC-level returns didn’t matter to a company as wealthy as Microsoft. So why bother!

Well, a bunch of reasons of course, but that’s immaterial. The Codefresh round is a reminder that Microsoft remains an active investor into at least tech that may help fuel its Azure cloud platform.

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