ReleaseHub nabs $2.7M seed to give developers on-demand environments

Every developer relies on environments like testing, staging and production as they build software, but building them can be a time-consuming operation. ReleaseHub, an early-stage startup that was part of the Y Combinator Winter 2020 cohort, wants to change that by providing a service to make environments available on demand.

Today, the company announced a $2.7 million seed round, and also announced that service is generally available while they were at it. Sequoia led the round, with participation from Y Combinator, Rogue VC, Liquid Capital and unnamed angel investors.

Company co-founder and CEO Tommy McClung says that every developer in the world has to use environments in their development workflow, but it remains for the most part a manual process.

"All of those environments are incredibly difficult to build. So the problem we're solving is the ability to create those on demand. Instead of having to have a DevOps team that is responsible for managing, creating and maintaining them, the software does that and you can instantaneously create them," McClung told me.

The service is integrated into GitHub and BitBucket, so you can build the environments on the fly as you need them based on templates for the various types. "The real value that we're bringing to the table here is that we're bringing that together in an almost virtualized way so that you can reproduce these environments on demand," he said.

McClung who has been working in technology for over 20 years, says this is a problem he's seen over and over again at the various companies at which he's worked. After running engineering at TrueCar, his most recent company, he decided to build a startup to solve the problem once and for all.

He notes that this is the second time he's been a YC company and, while the size and scope of the operation has changed since he last participated in 2009, the process remains much the same. For starters, there were 20 companies involved back then, and more than 200 this time around, but he says by breaking it down into smaller groups, it helped create the same feel.

The company launched at the beginning of last year, and spent the year building the product and working with design partners and beta customers ahead of today's release. The plan is to offer a subscription service where companies pay by the number of environments they create.

ReleaseHub currently has 10 employees, including the three founders, with plans to add more, especially engineers to help continue building out the solution and adding more layers of functionality. As he does this, McClung says bringing in a diverse group of employees is a priority for the founding team.

"I mean I've been building companies for a long time and it has to be embedded into the DNA of the company at the very earliest stages, so making sure that you have diverse talent [from the start]," he said.

He says the plan is to stay 100% remote even after offices open again. "We were forced into being remote and actually we made it work really well for us. You know in a lot of ways it's advantageous for work-life balance," he said.