GitLab began with a self-hosted market. The team saw that many companies started using an open source version of GitLab, installing it on their servers. Therefore, GitLab decided that they can sell consulting services, provide assistance in the area of adjustment and customization. The companies-clients often requested to add a couple of functions. This gave birth to the idea of corporate edition "open source version plus a few popular tricks" (something like LDAP authorization protocol). Thus, in summer of 2013 they announced GitLab Enterprise Edition. Since the launch of the corporate version the team has realized that it is highly-demanded and this product (and not the consulting and support) became the core business of the company. At the same time, GitLab lost their first client. The reason lies in marketing.
That client was the company, which used GitLab's service, but further their TOP management decided to transfer the entire company to a single software. As far as no one knew about GitLab at that moment, the decision was made for the benefit of another service, which was more widely known. According to Dmytro, GitLab always grew in the companies "from the bottom": a developer installed it on the company's server, attracted other developers of the department and, in such a manner, a number of users within a company organically increased from the bottom to top. When this number became noticeable, someone from the engineering department or bookkeeping contacted GitLab and they bought the Enterprise-version, but not this time.
Dmytro states, "It had a strong influence on us. We understood: no matter how good GitLab was, it's all in vain if nobody knows about our existence. If in future the companies move to single platforms for code hosting and review, we will continue losing clients and will not be able to grow."
If there is any place where they could manage to teach the team to grow rapidly and capture the market, it is Silicon Valley.
rapidly and capture the market, it is Silicon Valley.
In 2014, Sid and Dmitry applied for a well-known accelerator program in California - Y Combinator. They lived for a while in the US while it lasted. It was the American accelerator that helped the team attract the first investments.
After participating in Y Combinator, the startup raises investments every fall around the same time. This has been happening for five years now.
In September 2019, GitLab raised $268 million in a Series E round. The company was valued at $2.7 billion. Investors are Goldman Sachs, Iconiq Capital, Y Combinator venture fund
In September 2018, GitLab raised $100 million and the startup became a unicorn. It was valued at $1.1 billion
In October 2017, GitLab raised $20M in a Series C round. GV (Google VENTURES) was the lead investor.
In September 2016, the startup received a $20 million Series B investment from August Capital, Khosla Ventures and Y Combinator.
In September 2015, Khosla Ventures funded a round A investment of about $4 million.
In July 2015, the project attracted $1.5 million in seed investment. The round was attended by 500 Startups, Crunchfund, Ashton Kutcher's Sound Ventures, Liquid 2 Ventures and Khosla Ventures.