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GitLab YCombinator Application

GitLab successful YCombinator application from 2015 winter batch (YC W15).

A complete DevOps platform delivered as a single application.
GitLab is the first single application for the entire DevOps lifecycle. Only GitLab enables Concurrent DevOps, unlocking organizations from the constraints of today’s toolchain. GitLab provides unmatched visibility, radical new levels of efficiency and comprehensive governance to significantly compress the time between planning a change and monitoring its effect. This makes the software lifecycle 200% faster, radically improving the speed of business. GitLab and Concurrent DevOps collapses cycle times by driving higher efficiency across all stages of the software development lifecycle. For the first time, Product, Development, QA, Security, and Operations teams can work concurrently in a single application. There’s no need to integrate and synchronize tools, or waste time waiting for handoffs. Everyone contributes to a single conversation, instead of managing multiple threads across disparate tools. And only GitLab gives teams complete visibility across the lifecycle with a single, trusted source of data to simplify troubleshooting and drive accountability. All activity is governed by consistent controls, making security and compliance first-class citizens instead of an afterthought. Built on Open Source, GitLab leverages the community contributions of thousands of developers and millions of users to continuously deliver new DevOps innovations. More than 100,000 organizations from startups to global enterprise organizations, including Ticketmaster, Jaguar Land Rover, NASDAQ, Dish Network and Comcast trust GitLab to deliver great software at new speeds.
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If you have a demo, what's the url?

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What is your company going to make? Please describe your product and what it does or will do.

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We’re making open source software to collaborate on code. It started as ‘run your own GitHub’ that most users deploy on their own server(s). GitLab allows you to version control code including pull/merge requests, forking and public projects. It also includes project wiki’s and an issue tracker. Over 100k organizations use it including thousands of programmers at . We also offer GitLab CI that allows you to test your code with a distributed set of workers.

Where do you live now, and where would the company be based after YC?

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The Netherlands, Ukraine (with employees in San Francisco), we don't know yet where will be based after YC


Please enter the url of a 1 minute unlisted (not private) YouTube video introducing the founder(s).

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How long have the founders known one another and how did you meet? Have any of the founders not met in person?

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In 2011 Dmitriy started GitLab. We met in 2012 via email when Sytse started building In 2013 we formally started a company together and went on team trips a few times since than.

Please tell us about an interesting project, preferably outside of class or work, that two or more of you created together.

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We created GitLab together () and now over 100.000 organizations are using it. We also created GitLab CI and GitLab CI Runner together . This pair of programs allow organizations to distribute their code testing over a number of workers.


How far along are you?

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Over 100.000 organizations are using GitLab. , Qualcomm, NASA, Nasdaq OMX and Interpol are paying customers. Over 600 people have contributed to it. It is the most popular open source version control software. It has more installations than anything else (including GitHub Enterprise and Atlassian Stash).

How long have each of you been working on this? How much of that has been full-time?

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Since 2011, over 10,000 commits, see

How many active users or customers do you have? How many are paying? Who is paying you the most, and how much do they pay you?

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We estimate more than 1M

What is your monthly growth rate?

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About 60% in revenue each month.

How much revenue?

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$1m annual Revenue Run Rate

If you are applying with the same idea as a previous batch, did anything change? If you applied with a different idea, why did you pivot and what did you learn from the last idea?

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If you have already participated or committed to participate in an incubator, "accelerator" or "pre-accelerator" program, please tell us about it.

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We have not applied to or participated any others.


Why did you pick this idea to work on? Do you have domain expertise in this area? How do you know people need what you're making?

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Dmitriy wanted a solution he could use at his previous job. All employees except our account managers (8-2=6) are software developers. We listen closely to the community via direct customer feedback, pull/merge requests, issues, twitter, mailinglists, chatrooms and the non GitLab B.V. employees on the GitLab core team.

What's new about what you're making? What substitutes do people resort to because it doesn't exist yet (or they don't know about it)?

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We offer the a better way of collaborating on digital products ( the feature branch workflow) to organizations that prefer to work on open source tools. Open source is interesting for large companies because they can inspect and modify the code. They also can and do contribute back changes that are important to them. Substitutes are closed source alternatives (GitHub Enterprise, Atlassian Stash) or less functional open source alternatives (Gitorious, Gogs). GitHub currently has a lot of mind-share but they are under- serving the on-premises (behind the firewall) market. We can see us grow into the leading solution for those installations (which is currently the majority of the market). In the long run most software will live on some (hybrid-)cloud and we think there are many ways to differentiate our offering (open source/distributed/integrated). In the short term we are emulating the Netflix strategy, shipping DVD’s (focus on the on-premise installations) when the competitors focus on the video-on-demand (SaaS) offering.

Who are your competitors, and who might become competitors? Who do you fear most?

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GitHub Enterprise and Atlassian Stash are our primary competitors. We fear Atlassian Stash most since the GitHub Enterprise offering is weak (black box VM that doesn’t scale or cluster) and overpriced (4x more expensive than Stash or our standard subscription). We compete with Stash on usability, integration (no need to install Jira and Confluence separately), flexibility (you can inspect and adapt the source) and price.

What do you understand about your business that other companies in it just don't get?

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An open source development process allows you to market your product for free. It also allows a good product market fit at a low cost. We believe that version control is infrastructure software and that open source is the natural model for this kind of software . But to create and grow a competitive open source offering you need to have a proprietary commercial version to generate scalable revenue, support income alone is not enough.

How do or will you make money? How much could you make?

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Mostly by selling subscriptions that entitle our customers to support and our proprietary GitLab Enterprise Edition. Our most sold subscription by revenue costs $49 per user per year. Most or our revenue comes from organizations with more than 100 paying users. Every company with a substantial number of developers needs software like ours. We already declined an acquisition offer from a competitor for $10M because we want to grow this into a large company.

How will you get users? If your idea is the type that faces a chicken-and-egg problem in the sense that it won't be attractive to users till it has a lot of users (e.g. a marketplace, a dating site, an ad network), how will you overcome that?

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Currently we get users through word of mouth (amplified by twitter). During our time at YC we would like to grow our marketing, our continuous integration product GitLab CI and our SaaS ( currently has only 15k monthly active users but we see a lot of possibilities to grow and differentiate it.


Please tell us something surprising or amusing that one of you has discovered.

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Before GitLab Sytse has build recreational manned submarines from scratch, the company he started is currently the largest producer of them in the world and is called U-Boat Worx

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