It’s been a while since we’ve written about Chef, the Seattle-based IT automation startup, but that apparently hasn’t stopped them from keeping busy. In April, they raised $32 million from Battery Ventures and others as part of a larger, ongoing Series E round — bringing Chef’s total venture funding to just shy of $100 million.
The company now has roughly 220 employees, and claims over 800 paying customers.
Chef is not yet profitable though, and the world of IT has changed dramatically since the company launched in 2008. Initially focused on automating in-house server provisioning and configuration, Chef has had to re-imagine its product for the age of the hybrid and public cloud.
“The business has evolved — two years ago, we were really just talking about infrastructure management and provisioning management,” Chef Vice President of Marketing Jay Wampold tells SDxCentral. “But the problems have started to move up the stack, and now you’re dealing with workflow and cultural issues.”
Wampold is quick to emphasize that Chef still does infrastructure automation across private servers and public cloud. But public cloud environments are quickly becoming a big part of the business, with Wampold estimating that 70 to 80 percent of Chef’s small and mid-size customers primarily use the service in the public cloud.
To target more of those users, Chef on Thursday released its product line on AWS Marketplace, the growing IT services shop for Amazon Web Services users. The service bills hourly, adding the cost on to the AWS consumption charges.
In addition to its core server automation product, Chef has been quietly rolling out a new product called Delivery, available by invite only. Targeting the application delivery workflow and pipeline, the new product was developed in part based on consulting work Chef did with Nordstrom, as the retail giant raced to protect market share against online competitors.
“They started out using Chef to automate the underlying infrastructure,” recalls Wampold. “Very quickly we realized they were trying to implement continuous delivery on the application side.”
Nordstrom’s software focus helped the company hit $2.5 billion in online revenue last year, with web purchases making up 19 percent of the company’s total sales.
“You can argue that infrastructure automation is super important,” says Wampold. “But I would argue that it’s not fundamentally important to the business.”