GitLab was founded back in 2014 with the intention of offering a self-hosted Git repository management tool. Essentially GitLab is a tool to unlock organizational agility by creating a seamless code source management process – code review, test/release automation and application monitoring. And it seems to have worked, GitLab claims 100,000 organizations use its product including some big names such as Ticketmaster, ING, NASDAQ, and Sony.

But that level of success isn’t enough and GitLab needs to secure even more cool-factor and so in an announcement today (which, in fairness talks about a lot of things) it suggests that it has become “the application for software development in Kubernetes.” I always scratch my head at the sort of thing. Kubernetes, the container orchestration, and management initiative first delivered to the world by Google and now pretty much supported by every vendor under the sun, is really cool. But Kubernetes’ coolness and GitLab’s success are somewhat orthogonal, and I find it jarring to see the company casually make claims like this.

Anyway, that aside, there is some substantive news from the company today as it announced a $20 million Series C funding round led by Google Ventures (hence the Kubernetes tie-in, perhaps) at a reported valuation which is twice that of last years Series B round.

Alongside the cash, GitLab has also secured the services of WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg, a much-loved open source proponent and seeming facilitator of exponential growth and community passion.

Anyway, back to GitLab. In a somewhat tongue-twisting example of inside-baseball, GitLab articulates significant market differentiation thusly:

Where other products are focused on the intersection of Dev and Ops, GitLab will be the first single product to offer the union of Dev and Ops. GitLab will add new functionality for packaging, releasing, configuring, and monitoring software.

Um, whatever. GitLab is awesome, but this seems like gilding the lily somewhat and creating a sliver of whitespace where none exists. In a statement that could easily be taken as a Kumbaya moment, but in reality does indicate Mullenweg’s personal ethos, the new board member comments on the parallels between his original gig and this one:

GitLab’s powerful momentum and scaling have a lot of parallels to Automattic and WordPress in their early days. WordPress had to battle a lot of competitors, and ultimately came out on top as a successful company on an open source business model. I hope to help GitLab achieve the same triumph. Fundamentally, I want to help create the kind of internet that I want to live in and I want my children to live in, one that reaches a global audience and one that is able to make a difference.

Kumbaya. But a nice kind of Kumbaya


GitLab is cool, delivers real value to enterprises and has obviously gained some very real momentum. They are not, however, a cure for cancer or the deliverer of global peace. The funding is good, Mullenweg will add very real value and they have a foundation on which to build. SO no real need to gild the lily, my friends.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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