Dmitriy Zaporozhets, the eventual CTO of GitLab, came up with the idea for it when he realised that he needed something better to collaborate with his team. He wanted to focus more on his work, instead of the tools. He created GitLab in 2011 from his house in Ukraine. In 2012, when Sid Sijbrandij saw GitLab for the first time, he thought it was natural that a collaboration tool for programmers was an open-source initiative, so that everyone could contribute to it. Being a Ruby developer, Sid checked out the source code and was impressed with the code quality of GitLab. By then it had garnered over 300 contributions in the first year.
Sijbrandij then posted on Hacker News asking people if they would be interested in using GitLab.com, and hundreds of people signed up for the beta. Up until then, Dmitriy Zaporozhets and Sid Sijbrandij were working independently on GitLab. But they decided to team up in 2013 and build GitLab Enterprise, a much-requested solution for companies. GitLab was officially incorporated as an LLC in 2014.
The World's Largest All-Remote Company
They continued to release a new version every month, and in 2015 they applied & got accepted to YCombinator. Sid Sijbrandij, Zaporozhets, and their entire team of 9 flew to Silicon Valley for this. Over there, they learned to work in a fast-paced manner and the large impact of making smaller, even imperfect iterations. GitLab's growth increased multi-fold in the aftermath, with over 1000 contributors, 100K organisations, and millions of users by the end of 2016. GitLab went on to become the world's largest fully-remote company.