All Founders Stories

Sid Sijbrandij

CEO & Co-founder at GitLab


Sid's Career

Sytse "Sid" Sijbrandij’s career has always been for from conventional. 

He developed many apps while working for the dutch Department of Justice. 

He spent 4 years building personal submarines. 

He loved his first encounter with Ruby code so much, and taught himself how to program with it.


Enter Dmitriy

Dmitriy Zaporozhets was a software developer from Ukraine.

He needed a good tool to collaborate with developers on his projects.

He wanted something that was efficient and easy to use.

So he could focus on his work —  and not the tools themselves.


Dmitriy creates GitLab

Unfortunately, Dimitriy could not find anything that fit his criteria

Annoyed, he thought to himself:
"How hard could it be? I'll just make something myself"

So together, with developer Valeriy Sizov, he created GitLab.


Sid’s hunch

Sid, now a Ruby developer living in Netherlands, came across GitLab a year later.

He liked the code’s quality and the idea behind it — especially the fact that it was open source.

Sid had a hunch about GitLab’s future, and reached out to Dimitriy to monetize the platform.


Got the green light!

Sid got the green light from Dmitriy! and began his work.

He reached out to the developer community online and got hundreds of people who signed up for the beta!

By November, Sid released the first version of GitLab CI.


GitLab's out! But...

A few months after its release, Sid found that most of GitLab fans users were using Dmitriy’s free version. 

Not a lot of people were using his commercial version. 

As a result, Sid had a visible presence on the internet with GitLab 

but he wasn’t making any money.


A new discovery!

With this dilemma, Sid made a new discovery:

He found that there were many big companies who were willing to pay for GitLab with a few additional features.

Around this time, Dmitriy had also quit his job.

Together, Sid and Dmitriy began working on the company while living in separate countries.


Money Struggles

In addition to Dmitriy, Sid hired a third employee.

But GitLab wasn’t making enough money for Sid to pursue it fulltime.

But he believed in GitLab.

He poured his life savings into the venture and even invested with Bitcoin to fund the enterprise.


GitLab gets funding!

All the hard work finally pays off for GitLab.

GitLab makes enough money for Sid to quit his day job and work on GitLab full-time.

GitLab also scored a seat in the Y Combinator Startup accelerator program the same year.

With this momentum, the GitLab team now 9 members strong, decided to move to the Silicon Valley


GitLab becomes a Unicorn!

Before Y combinator, GitLab was a bootstrapped company.

By september 2018, the company raised $100 million USD at a $1.1  billion valuation.

Finding a niche in the DevOps market, GitLab had around 10,000 organizations using its service.


Next Stop: Wall Street

GitLab went public on the NASDAQ in October 2021.

  • The company’s shares jumped by 35% on its first day of trading.
  • GitLab raised close to $650 million in the IPO, and investors purchased over $150 million of additional stock


The future: DevOps Platform Era

According to Sid, there is a fourth wave of DevOps coming which will tie together every phase of the DevOps life cycle.

Sid plans for GitLab to be at the forefront of this.

Sid's future plans for GitLab is to bring together "development, operations, and security while allowing groups to plan, build, secure, and deploy important software".

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