CircleCI announced today that it has raised a $31 million series C round for its software that automatically builds and tests code. The cash will be used to create advanced features that help development teams figure out why a code build isn’t working as expected.
Top Tier Capital Partners led the round, which included participation from Scale Venture Partners, Harrison Metal Ventures, DFJ Ventures, Baseline Ventures, Heavybit, and Industry Ventures. Prior to this round, CircleCI had raised a total of $28 million.
“Primarily, it gives us money and time to really think through what the future of automation in software delivery looks like,” CircleCI CEO Jim Rose said in an interview with VentureBeat. “It’s been a quickly evolving space, and one that’s only getting more complicated over time. And so our ability to bring a little intelligence to that, we think is going to make a real difference.”
In Rose’s view, a key differentiator for CircleCI is that it can use anonymized information from its base of 300,000 developer users to provide guidance about what might be causing problems with a build. More companies are building their products on a shared substrate of open source code, which means upstream changes to those projects could cause problems with builds further downstream.
Over the past few quarters, the company has been working to refine its data infrastructure, and this raise will help give it the resources to make that all work. Rose’s vision is to take aggregate data from its customers and determine whether there’s a common error they could work around or avoid so that everyone using CircleCI is more productive when it comes to creating software.
That approach also stands to help CircleCI in the market, since the data and benchmarking create a network effect that makes the product stronger the more people use it. Using network effects in that way can help the startup’s business defend itself in the competitive developer tooling space.
Because the data used will only focus on shared components between projects, Rose is confident it won’t run afoul of notoriously private enterprises. If there’s an issue with proprietary code, it won’t get shared, since nobody else has that code in their applications.
CircleCI plans to massively increase its headcount following the raise. Rose said that the company will likely expand its 120-person team by 70-75 percent in the coming year, with a particular focus on building out additional engineering talent and fueling expansion into international markets.
The company already has a number of high-profile customers lined up, including Facebook, Coinbase, GoPro, Instacart, Udacity, Shopify, and Code for America. It is headquartered in San Francisco.
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