The growing complexity of web infrastructure is a challenge that many organizations face today. When building and deploying web applications, IT teams face an array of choices, from selecting which back-end system to use to choosing which framework to code in. According to a recent survey by software developer Infragistics, more than a third (40%) of developers are facing increased customer demands while 39% are working with limited resources, including tight budgets.
There is no miracle solution. But Fred Plais argues that his service, Platform.sh, can help make life easier for developers by removing much of the underlying infrastructure from web applications. In support of this vision, Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital, Revaia and Digital Partners co-led a $140 million Series D funding round in Platform.sh which closed today with participation from BGV , Eurazeo, Hiinov, Eurozeo and Partech. That brings Platform.sh’s total to $187 million, which Plais says is dedicated to hiring efforts and “double-dipping” automation.
Prior to co-founding Platform.sh with Damien Tournoud and Ori Pekelman, Plais co-launched Infoclic, a French-language search engine, and Commerce Guys, an e-commerce platform powered by the open source Drupal project. Pekelman previously co-founded two consulting firms, Internet Patrol and Constellation Matrix, and served as a board member of Commerce Guys. As for Tournoud, he helped start Commerce Guys and was a consultant in IT strategy at Fontaine Consultants.
“I founded Platform.sh in 2015 with my partners, Tournoud and Pekelman, with the goal of making life easier for web developers,” Plais told TechCrunch in an email interview. “Web infrastructure management is time consuming and we knew we had the solution to make the process more efficient and cost effective. Seven years later, the cloud hasn’t gotten any easier. On the contrary, it’s become even more complex due to the emergence of containers, microservices – not to mention the ever-present need for faster and better performance and the ability to handle more and more applications.”
Developers can use Platform.sh tools to deploy and test web applications. Picture credits: Platform.sh
According to Plais, a survey by low-code tools provider OutSystems found that for nearly half of businesses, the average time to deliver a web or mobile application was five months or more in 2019. estimate sets the cost at between $20,000 to $60,000 – varying depending on capabilities, of course.
Using Platform.sh, websites and web applications can be created by different development teams in different languages and using different frameworks. From a dashboard, developers can manage databases and workflows and create production replicas to work, test, and share with stakeholders. Ideas can be piloted and merged into production before being deployed to multiple cloud providers. Infrastructure changes are versioned and auditable, while build dependencies and tests are automatically resolved by the platform.
Plais sees Heroku as one of Platform.sh’s biggest competitors, followed by smaller players like Vercel, Netlify, and Acquia (the commercial arm of Drupal). Highlighting the demand for web application development tools, Vercel recently raised $150 million – around the same time Netlify landed $105 million. Acquia, meanwhile, was acquired by private equity firm Vista Equity Partners for $1 billion in 2019.
Plais claims that Platform.sh is “highly competitive” despite its financial disadvantage, differentiated by its support for a mix of web development solutions (e.g. frameworks) – which not all rivals match.
“Platform.sh offers businesses an end-to-end platform that helps build, host and scale a fleet of websites and web applications while removing the need for IT and cloud operations,” said Plais. . “C Suite, especially CIOs, are well aware of the investment of time and resources required to manage website infrastructure, especially when scaled to dozens or even hundreds of websites. Platform.sh is an ideal solution for budget-conscious IT managers who want to be in the pilot’s seat – governing and empowering teams to do real innovation work rather than investing all their “Innovation Tokens” in the underlying mechanisms.
Plais showed refreshing transparency when asked about Platform.sh’s finances, revealing that current annual recurring revenue is $45 million, a 50% increase from 2021. The company has around 5,000 customers, which include organizations like Adobe, Nestlé, the Financial Times and the US Chamber of Commerce as well as universities and government organizations such as the military and the Ministry of Culture in France.
Picture credits: Platform.sh
“While it is clear that the market will experience headwinds to which we will have to adapt, we are in fact well positioned to take advantage of them. As a business, we have always been frugal and capital efficient with operations very lean and a focus on sustainable growth,” said Plais. “At the start of the pandemic, we froze hiring for a quarter to assess the situation and ensure that we can adapt our spending to the changing market. It was a tough call, but it was probably the right one to the time – otherwise we weren’t affected operationally.”
Platform.sh plans to expand its workforce from around 340 employees to over 400 next year, focusing on North America and Western Europe. The company has offices in France, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom