Stackblitz raises $7.9 million to bring a better IDE to your browser – TechCrunch
StackBlitz, a developer-focused startup that uses WebAssembly and WebContainers to give you a complete in-browser development environment, today announced it has raised $7.9 million in seed funding led by Greylock with participation from GV, GitHub co-founder Tom Preston-Werner, atSpoke co-founder Jay Srinivasan, and Appurify co-founder Pratyus Patnaik.
Stackblitz was co-founded by Eric Simons (CEO) and Albert Pai (CTO). If Simons’ name sounds familiar, he’s the guy who, when he was 19, squatted AOL headquarters while he and Pai worked on what would become Thinkster, their first startup. Thinkster offers online programming courses and tutorials focused on developing the full stack. In the process, they realized how difficult it had become to set up a development environment when you want to teach someone how to program. “It’s super unreliable,” Simons said. “It’s a total pain. It’s a nightmare. And it’s like: How has this not been resolved?
Unsurprisingly, this is exactly the problem StackBlitz is trying to solve. “[At Thinkster] we were teaching the cutting edge of what navigators could do,” he explained. “And we realized that it should theoretically be possible to run a development environment in a browser tab – kind of like running an operating system in a browser tab so you don’t have to install things and you don’t have to run a server.
Simons noted that the team spent three years developing WebContainer technology that lets you run this WebAssembly-based system in a browser tab and get it started in milliseconds. “It also means we can give it away for free, which is spiritually important to Albert and me, given our backgrounds,” Simons explained. “But also, we have 2 million developers a month using StackBlitz and our AWS bill is a few hundred dollars because all the compute is offloaded to the edge.”
The StackBlitz team also argues that using its service improves security because it makes it very difficult for code to break out of the browser sandbox. Simons attributes the service’s success in the enterprise in part to these inherent security features.
While StackBlitz should create an enjoyable environment for teaching programming, it’s important to note that the company isn’t directly targeting this market. So far it seems to work. Simons says that during the beta period, StackBlitz has seen developers from more than 2,000 companies on its platform and he’s seeing strong interest from Fortune 500 companies. multiplied by 10 in 2021 and quadrupled its workforce to reach 20 people.
When it comes to service monetization, StackBlitz follows the GitHub playbook, with a free service that only allows public projects and syncing with public GitHub repositories and paid tiers starting at $9/month also allow private projects.