CircleCI announces $100M Series F funding, $1.7B valuation

The CI/CD platform also announced plans to acquire Vamp, a release orchestration platform

CircleCI, which provides a continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) platform, has raised $100 million in Series F funding, the company announced Tuesday, giving it a $1.7 billion valuation. The company also announced its plans to acquire Vamp, a company based in the Netherlands that provides a release orchestration platform. 

At nearly 10 years old, CircleCI already has a user base of more than 1 million developers and serves thousands of businesses in more than 128 countries. With its Series F, the company has raised a total of $315 million. 

The CI/CD market has been growing at a rapid clip, but the past four months have been especially fast-paced, CEO Jim Rose said to ZDNet. The Covid-19 pandemic, he said, has laid to bare the value of delivering good software. 

Business decision makers "are realizing that most of their relationships with customers are being mediated by a screen, which is powered by software," Rose said. "Banks that have been successful over the last 18 months aren't the ones with a great corner branch -- it's the one with a great application."

CircleCI's new funding round is led by Greenspring Associates, with participation from Eleven Prime, IVP, Sapphire Ventures, Top Tier Capital Partners, Baseline Ventures, Threshold, Scale, Owl Rock and Next Equity Partners.

With the new capital, the company plans to invest in its platform from an R&D perspective, Rose said. Some specific areas it plans to tackle include continuous validation, data and insights, and managing software complexity. 

When it comes to managing software complexity, Rose explains that "software is a supply chain problem." With the adoption of open source, cloud-native services, and third-party providers (such as Stripe for payment processing), companies "don't actually control their application anymore" -- or at least not all of it. 

Applications amount to "this aggregation of all these different layers and services you package together and put in the hands of the customer," Rose said. "These layers are constantly shifting, sometimes in a bad way. Everyone is waking up to the fact that the supply chain itself is a security issue, but it also has a stability issue. We've been busy investing in the stability piece."

As for continuous validation, that's where the investment in the 8 year-old Vamp comes in. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. 

The testing and validation process, Rose said, increasingly involves shipping releases and slowly exposing traffic to it, rolling back anything with problems. While this is a "pretty nascent industry and process," the Vamp team "has been thinking about this for several years," he said.

Vamp's release orchestration capabilities will be integrated into CircleCI's CI/CD platform. In the coming months, Vamp will continue to support their product and customers like Parkius, Mimecast, and WeGroup.

The merger will be CircleCI's second M&A following Distiller in 2014. 

Meanwhile, CircleCI is also announcing that Stacey Epstein, CMO of Freshworks, will be joining its board of directors. 

The company, Rose said, is beginning to add "independent voices" to its board. Epstein is "a pro's pro," he said, who has taken multiple companies through this maturation phase of gaining access to the Street and enterprise buyers.