While it’s only a year-and-a-half old, Docker appears poised for big things in the world of distributed applications, and the company just scored $40 million in new funding to prove it. The San Francisco-based startup raised the series C funding with the help of Sequoia Capital, just nine months after it closed $15 million in funding led by Greylock Partners.
Since launching in March 2013, Docker has seen adoption of its platform expand rapidly. Docker’s open-source, containerized platform allows developers to build, test and deploy applications in a virtual, distributed environment. This approach enables developers to run multiple applications independently of one another on a single Linux operating system, which reduces server workloads and speeds up deployments.
In addition to investing in Docker, Sequoia is also bringing an industry veteran, Bill Coughran, to Docker’s board.
“Big businesses are being built by making accessible to all the transformative technologies championed by Web-scale companies, and Docker is one of the most promising leaders of this movement,” said Coughran, who was a senior vice president of engineering at Google before joining Sequoia. “The velocity at which the Docker team has innovated on product and grown its community is staggering — in 18 months they’ve accomplished what many leading companies take years to build.”
We reached out to David Messina, Docker’s vice president of marketing, to learn more about the company’s meteoric growth.
“One of our core principals of value is how (the Docker platform) dramatically accelerates the code-build-test cycle,” Messina said. “That’s a tremendous boon to productivity. We have already seen it spread like wildfire.”
Web-focused companies like online retailer Gilt, software analytics company New Relic and Russian search provider Yandex have been among the first wave of users to adopt Docker’s platform to accelerate their development of new applications.
“They can effect change in real time,” Messina said. “This gives them a huge competitive advantage.”
Increasingly, more traditional enterprise organizations — including financial institutions and government agencies — are also discovering the benefits of Docker’s container engine for app development and innovation. And the latest round of funding will enable Docker to extend its support and training capabilities to those other user bases, Messina said.
Partners include Amazon, Google, IBM
While acknowledging that Docker’s growth has been “stunningly fast,” it’s unclear what the monetization strategy is going to be, Al Gillen, an analyst with IDC, told us. He said he wouldn’t be surprised to eventually see the company bought out by a larger player in the cloud-based applications space.
Messina said that Docker’s business model calls for its platform to remain open source, with company revenues coming from the support and training it provides on top of that.
Another source of revenue comes from Docker Hub, its repository of management tools for those using the platform. Since it was launched in June, the hub has grown to offer more than 35,000 “Dockerized” applications for users.
“The reason the velocity happened is we’ve solved such a hard problem for the developer,” Messina said.
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