It didn’t take long for the ex-Microsoft engineers behind Pulumi to prove their software development platform for multicloud computing was worthy of additional investment.
Madrona Venture Group and Tola Capital have agreed to invest $15 million in a Series A round led by Madrona, bringing the total amount of money raised by the Seattle startup to $20 million following its initial seed round in June. Pulumi, run by former Microsoft engineers Joe Duffy and Eric Rudder, is also ready to open up its software-as-a-service application deployment platform to teams that want to build multicloud applications using the development languages they know and love.
“We didn’t plan on raising so quickly,” said Duffy in an interview with GeekWire, which is what CEOs of fast-growing startups usually say. “We’ve seen continued interest from teams and organizations that want to operationalize Pulumi, and that requires a different level of scale for us to really maximize the opportunity we see ahead of us,” he said.
Pulumi is both an open-source project and a commercial service that targets Kubernetes as a layer for multicloud application deployment. This is something software development teams can do on their own right now with Kubernetes, but it requires a lot of coding in a scripting language called YAML that even the most enthusiastic Kubernetes backers admit is not a lot of fun.
The idea behind Pulumi is that developers should be able to build their applications with multiple clouds in mind — including hybrid clouds working across on-premises servers — using their preferred languages. Pulumi has received a lot of interest from companies large and small who are interested in this idea, Duffy said, and the new Series A round will allow the startup to invest in the sales, marketing, and customer service teams needed to handle large enterprise customers who are interested in the SaaS product.
Pulumi plans to double its current headcount to employ between 25 to 30 people over the next 18 months, Duffy said. While the first iteration of the company was focused almost exclusively on engineering, once the product is solid, sales people who can explain the benefits of the product to enterprise customers and help them get up and running become crucial.
“Not having a mature approach there means that we can’t take on as much of the customer inbound, and it pains me to turn away large enterprise deals,” Duffy said.
Pulumi is launching the teams version of its SaaS product Monday, but it is also working on an enterprise version that comes with additional security features for customers that have more stringent requirements around multicloud security. It expects to roll that product out sometime after the middle of next year, Duffy said.
“Eric and Joe are probably two of th best people in the world to work on developer tools, the pedigree and the expertise and the knowledge of the developer space,” said S. “Soma” Somasegar, partner at Madrona Venture Group and member of Pulumi’s board of directors. As part of this Series A Round, Shelia Gulati of Tola Capital — last seen leading a very interesting discussion on the cloud world at the 2018 GeekWire Cloud Tech Summit — will also join the board.
After years of listening to cloud vendors insist that the “all-in” approach to cloud computing was the best way to approach this new world, customers have increasingly realized that they can play cloud vendors off each other using a common layer like Kubernetes to take advantage of their investments in containerized applications. To their credit, cloud vendors have also realized that the world has changed, and have bent over backward to support deployment strategies that utilize multiple operating environments across different cloud providers and on-premises servers.
But you have to have a relatively forward-thinking and skilled tech team to deploy this kind of strategy in 2018, which is part of Pulumi’s promise: That software development teams used to deploying applications the usual way will be able to target multiple clouds without a lot of painstaking work involving operations specialists.