As cofounder and CFO of STARTeurope, Moritz Plassnig had seen tech startups struggle to keep up with the need for updates. "You have to be really fast at a software company to be successful," he says. "If you're not able to iterate your product, if you're not able to implement customer feedback, your competition will outperform you. To be able to iterate fast, you have to automate your software process. Otherwise you are not in a position to push out new features fast enough."
To help solve this problem, Plassnig, along with cofounders Manuel Weiss and Florian Motlik, created Codeship, a platform that runs hosted tests and automated deployments. Codeship, which integrates with Github or Bitbucket, support several different coding languages, and notifies the user when a build fails or passes. The trio launched Codeship in summer 2011 but began focusing on the startup full-time the following year.
Codeship began in Vienna, Austria, but Plassnig moved to Boston at the beginning of 2013 to participate in Techstars Boston. The other two cofounders will move to the U.S. once they receive visas, a move that Plassnig says was inevitable. "The U.S. is the most important market and most of the opinion leaders in our space are in the U.S.," he says. "It was clear from day one that we have to be in the states and Boston is a great place to be."
Now, with three people in Boston and four in Vienna, Codeship this week announced $2.6 million in series A funding led by Sigma Prime Ventures & John Simon. Boston Seed Capital (Nicole Stata) & Devonshire Investors (David Jegen) are also participating along with a couple of angel investors. Plassnig says the series A will allow Codeship to invest in more developers, designers, and marketing people. In other words, "people who work on the product and make our product better for our existing customers," he says.
Plassnig says the founders considered moving Codeship to San Francisco but ultimately decided to stay in Boston, where they are looking for a new office as the team grows. Their investors have supported that decision, he notes. "I don't believe you have to be in San Francisco, and I think there's a lot of hype going on there," he says. "Through Techstars we were able to get a huge network really fast and also for our long-term strategy, having an office in Austria and Boston it's easier to work together if you only have six hours time difference versus nine hours."
Plassnig also believes that it's easier to hire better people faster in Boston, since San Francisco has more companies competing for tech talent. "The people are more down to earth in Boston," he adds.