GitLab announced last week that it had filed a registration statement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for the proposed initial public offering of its Class A common stock. The company release has not revealed the terms of its offering.
The hugely popular coding platform and the leading competitor of GitHub is backed by the likes of ICONIQ Capital and Khosla Ventures. The company was last valued at $6 billion after a secondary share sale earlier this year.
GitLab co-founder and CEO Sid Sijbrandij is the company’s largest stakeholder, with 18.9% ownership of Class B shares, according to the filing, followed by Khosla Ventures, which owns 14%.
The GitLab Story
GitLab offers a platform for coders and developers to collaborate by creating online tools that reduce the software development cycle. GitLab brings together development, operations, IT, business, and security teams to deliver desired results. Bringing together such diverse teams on a single application highly improves the way organisations plan, build, secure, and deliver software. The teams can reduce their development cycle from weeks to just minutes. It removes the need for point tools and delivers enhanced efficiency by removing manual work and building a culture of innovation.
Some of its high-profile clients include Siemens AG, NVIDIA, and Goldman Sachs, among others.
GitLab was founded in 2011 by Dmitriy Zaporozhets, who is currently the CTO and co-founder of the company, who created GitLab from his house in Ukraine. The company was created out of the dire necessity to have development tools so that Dmitriy and his team could concentrate on more enjoyable parts of the project. The company blog says, “It was a house without running water, but Dmitriy perceived not having a great collaboration tool as a bigger problem than his daily trip to the communal well.”
Dmitriy and Valery Sizov started to build GitLab, and the first commit was released on October 8, 2011. Sid Sijbrandij saw GitLab first in 2012. In 2013, the product was split into Community Edition GitLab CE and Enterprise Edition GitLab EE; both were free and open-source software distributed under MIT License. A year later, GitLab announced the adoption of an open-core business model.
In its tenth year currently, GitLab has a workforce of 1,350 members working from across 65 countries. The DevOps platform has grown to more than a million active users. The company also declared in 2020 that it had transformed itself into the world’s largest company to go completely remote with no central headquarters or company-owned offices.
Over the years, GitLab’s valuation has increased several times. The company has raised capital firm investors like Altimeter Capital, TVC, Coatue Management, Franklin Templeton; GitLab has managed to raise over $400 million in external financing.
As per the filing, GitLab generated a revenue of $108.1 million for the six months that ended July 31. This is a 69 per cent year-on-year increase. It also incurred a net loss of $69 million in the same period, compared to $43.6 million the previous year.
GitLab has experienced a 50 times growth in four years, recording an annual recurring revenue (ARR) of $100 million. The company founders want to take this number to $1 billion. As per Crunchbase, the company has undergone 11 rounds of funding till now and has raised $414.9 million. To date, GitLab has acquired six companies — UnReview (2021), Peach Tech (2020), Fuzzit (2020), Gemnasium (2019), Gitter (2017), and Gitorious (2015).
GitLab’s growth is accelerated by the general upward trend among DevOps platforms, which currently records a market opportunity of about $40 billion. As per Gartner numbers, the total addressable market for Global Infrastructure Software will be $328 billion by the end of 2021, increasing to $458 billion by the end of 2024. In its filing, GitLab says that it would be able to serve $43 billion of the market by 2021 and $55 billion by 2024.
Interestingly, in its team handbook document on its website, GitLab had outlined its plan to go public by November 2020. After the pandemic hit last year, the company scrapped the timing for its debut while maintaining that the public listing was still on the roadmap.
GitLab vs Competitors
GitLab finds its biggest competitor in GitHub. Both are web-based repositories for code management and local file sharing. Git development to track changes in source code requires both GitLab and GitHub. Both the platforms are version control systems (VCS).
The main difference between the two is that while GitHub is a collaboration platform for remote reviewing and managing code, GitLab focuses mainly on DevOps and CI/CD. While GitHub is more popular among the developers due to the millions of repositories it holds, GitLab has been gaining mileage due to its competitiveness and user-friendliness. Another difference is that GitHub has higher availability and is more invested in infrastructure performance, while GitLab offers a more features-based system with a centralised and integrated platform for web developers.