Continuous delivery startup Harness today closed a $60 million Series B funding round led by Institutional Venture Partners, Google Ventures, and ServiceNow Ventures. Existing vendors Big Labs, Menlo Ventures, and Unusual Ventures also participated. The startup is now valued at $500 million, according to Jyoti Bansal, Harness CEO and founder.
Bansal said the Series B funding will support new research and development (R&D) efforts, grow its sales and customer support teams, and expand its footprint outside of the U.S. and into global markets like Europe and Asia.
Bansal, who also founded application performance monitoring (APM) firm AppDynamics (which was later purchased by Cisco for $3.7 billion), launched Harness in October 2017 to help enterprises deliver new software and technology faster and without error.
Its continuous delivery (CD) as-a-service platform does that by integrating with a layer of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to learn and understand an application’s environment. This enables the startup to initiate automatic rollbacks when errors are detected, avoid application downtime, and continuously and automatically verify application deployments and changes.
Since its launch “the company has grown very rapidly,” said Bansal. “Almost like more than twice the momentum of what we had at AppDynamics at this particular stage.”
What’s driving this growth, he says, is the broad enterprise shift toward software and the pressure on businesses to roll out software innovations faster than their competitors.
“That’s where Harness comes in. Our path to there is we can give you continuous delivery as-a-service…so your software engineers can continuously deliver software changes [and] new features to the end users, which is a very hard thing to do without breaking something,” he said.
Harness’ R&D team has tripled over the past 18 months since its launch, Bansal said. And this team has been focused on two key areas of development.
The first is deployment automation — or making it easier for enterprises to write any kind of scripting for their software applications. And the second is secure verification — or applying machine learning algorithms to verify that software changes aren’t breaking anything for end-users.
“We are expanding our machine learning and AI to capture more and more scenarios that can get back to end users, said Bansal.
To keep up with the evolving market and stay ahead of the curve, Harness has made a few updates to its CD platform.
Toward the end of last year, Harness rolled out something Steve Burton, VP of marketing at Harness, referred to in a blog post as “continuous verification on steroids.” The capability, deemed 24×7 Service Guard, catches anomalies and regressions that surface after a deployment and gives developers total operational visibility into production applications.
“We are watching all the services that people will have in their software and protect if there’s some kind of a regression on performance or security or quality that happens at any point in time,” said Bansal.
The other big area that Harness has focused on is its partnerships with major cloud providers Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). These partnerships include the ability to purchase Harness CD in both clouds’ marketplaces and a number of integrations.
This includes the ability to leverage Harness and verify whether AWS Lambda function deployments are successful as well as support for Kubernetes and Istio, Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS), and Microsoft Azure.
The Continuous Delivery Foundation
Earlier this month, the startup joined the Continuous Delivery Foundation (CDF), which was formed in March by The Linux Foundation. The group is meant to act as a vendor-neutral organization to build an open ecosystem for CD.
“It’s a new foundation with the goal of defining some more interoperability kind of standards for people trying to build software delivery continuously,” said Bansal, noting that collaboration and interoperability will make it easier for customers, and ultimately Harness. “Our goal is to participate and help define some of those standards. The work is just starting there, and we hope this foundation can help create more collaboration around this problem space.”
The group had over 20 founding members including Alibaba, CloudBees, GitLab, Google, Huawei, IBM, JFrog, Netflix, Puppet, Rancher, Red Hat, SumoLogic, and SAP.
Currently, the CDF is hosting projects by Jenkins, which has a continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) system built by ClouBees; Jenkins X, an open CI/CD offering built on Kubernetes; Spinnaker, an open CD service for multi-cloud environments, led by Netflix and Google; and Tekton, an open specification project for CI/CD components.