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Chef CEO Barry Crist addresses the crowd at the company's open house on Thursday.
Chef CEO Barry Crist addresses the crowd at the company’s headquarters in Seattle.

Demand for Chef’s technology is increasing exponentially, and now the Seattle company is raising its largest funding round yet to help support the growth.

Barry Crist
Chef CEO Barry Crist.

The IT automation provider today announced a $40 million Series E round led by DFJ Growth, with participation from Millennium Technology Value Partners and existing investors like Battery Ventures, Citi Ventures, DFJ, Ignition Partners, and ScaleVP. Hewlett Packard Ventures also made a strategic investment in this round, which pushes total funding for the 7-year-old company to $103 million.

GeekWire previously reported on the Series E round in April.

Chef will use the fresh cash to expand globally, helping companies around the world automate their DevOps workflow. The 230-person company already has north of 750 customers, with more than half of the Fortune 50 using Chef’s products. Facebook, GE, Nordstrom, IBM, and Target are among its clients.

“The sky is the limit,” said Chef CEO Barry Crist. “We want to go all the way.”

In an interview with GeekWire, Crist explained why today marks an “inflection point” for the company. He noted that Chef’s first wave of customers were early tech innovators, like Facebook, Yahoo, and Disney Online. The second wave came in the form of brick-and-mortar retailers like Nordstrom and Best Buy who were facing pressure to innovate from online-only competitors.

ChefNow, Chef is helping everyone else become a software-driven company, providing the bridge between traditional, back-office infrastructure-based IT to the new, front-facing cloud-based IT.

“That third wave has been the explosion of transformation inside mainstream enterprises that are trying to drive innovation velocity through application development and a set of practices around that,” Crist explained. “Chef is part of that pattern and we find ourselves at the center of the DevOps universe.”

Formerly known as OpsCode, in its early days the company was a configuration management platform — a “box of legos that you could do a lot of different things with,” Crist noted. But Chef has since morphed into a broader automation platform that helps its customers speed up how quickly they can develop software applications.

Crist added that DevOps is the “most exciting place in the entire IT market” with almost every company utilizing software to some degree. He said that 2015 is a record year for Chef as far as revenue, customers, and partnerships — and its growth rate is accelerating, too.

“As we help our customers be successful, they help our business become successful,” Crist said.

Inside Chef’s HQ in Seattle.

Chef VP of Marketing Jay Wampold compared his company’s impact on enterprise IT to what Ford did with automobile assembly in the 20th century.

“We are providing automated workflow for how software is built, tested, and delivered,” Wampold said. “That is what is so exciting about what’s going on.”

Chef, which moved into a new 36,000 square-foot office late last year, previously raised capital in December 2013 when it scored $32 million. It’s worth noting that this most recent round includes participation from DFJ Growth, a sister company of DFJ Ventures. Those firms have only invested in a handful of companies together, like Tesla, SpaceX, Box, and now Chef, too.

“We are long-term advocates of Chef since DFJ first funded the company’s Series A round in 2009,” Sam Fort, Principal at DFJ Growth, said in a statement. “Chef is at the center of a fundamental shift in IT as enterprises race to change how they build and deploy software to become high velocity organizations. Chef has become the leading platform for enabling this transition, and we are thrilled to lead this investment to help accelerate Chef’s growth in the market.”

Crist noted that Chef still has a majority of its Series D round in the bank.

“The best time to raise money is when you don’t need it,” he said. “This is us being a little opportunistic and thinking about additional investments we can make.”

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