It’s hardly surprising that San Francisco, the global hub for digital technology, produces a huge portion of the linkers, compilers, performance analyzers, GUI designers, code editors, assemblers, debuggers and more that developers use every day.
In general, the developer tools coming out of SF follow broader business trends. For example, as operations sprawl across multiple cloud vendors and locations, infrastructure services must shift to support those distributed systems. Meanwhile, as IoT infiltrates every device, camera and monitor on the globe, database technologies must race to make sense of it all.
As the systems we run on become more complex, developer tools are necessary to help in-house dev teams focus on mission-critical work without having to waste valuable time and effort on foundational infrastructure. With that in mind, we caught up with five San Francisco-based companies that build software for developers, who walked us through their handy additions to a coder’s toolkit.
Company background: Having won the Startup Battlefield at last year’s Disrupt SF and landed on Built In’s 50 San Francisco Startups to Watch in 2020, Render is off to a strong start. Still in its early stages, the company raised $2.3 million in seed funding last year.
What they’re building: “Render has become invaluable for thousands of developers and startups by making cloud hosting completely effortless,” said Danielle Schugars, an engineer with the company. “Anyone who’s deployed an app online knows how difficult the process can be. Render minimizes the countless hours spent on setting up hosting and the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on DevOps engineering salaries. When we handle cloud hosting for our users, they’re able to focus on building their businesses instead of spending precious time learning the intricacies of AWS or managing Kubernetes clusters.”
Company background: For many companies in the media, e-commerce and SaaS spaces, the ability to properly search for relevant products, content or information can make or break the business. Algolia builds search tools, related analytics, testing and more for those industries, and has raised more than $180 million since it was founded in 2012.
What they’re building: “Algolia’s mission is to give development teams the building blocks to create and maintain a fast, relevant search experience for their organization’s users,” said Sylvain Utard, the company’s vice president of engineering. “This broadly consists of two parts: search implementation and search analytics. This in turn also provides tools for business teams to analyze the impact of those experiences and refine them, so they can directly address rapidly evolving business objectives.”
Company background: Having created the popular time series database InfluxDB and the scripting and query engine Flux, InfluxData powers IoT systems, applications and analytics for the likes of IBM, Tesla and Paypal. Founded in 2012, the company has raised close to $120 million in funding.
What they’re building: “A large amount of data forms the core of most applications, but storing and processing it reliably and at scale can be a huge challenge,” said Director of Product Management Russ Savage. “InfluxDB handles that complexity and empowers developers to focus on extracting business value from their data instead of managing it. Developed as an open source database, InfluxDB is purpose-built for time series data — anything with a timestamp — with the main objective to enhance the application-developer experience and productivity. Developers write less code while extracting more valuable insights from their data using InfluxDB, which allows them to take action in real time and create innovative solutions in their own products.”
Company background: Multicloud infrastructure company Hashicorp’s most well-known product is Terraform, which helps developers write repeatable rules and thereby automate large parts of infrastructure work. The company raised $175 million this month at a $5 billion valuation, and wants the world to know it has several products to complement its most famous developer tool — including Vagrant, a portable development environment, and Packer, an image builder for cloud platforms and virtual machines.
What they’re building: “Vagrant makes it easy for developers to create reproducible development and test environments, whether your everyday operating system is Windows, Mac or Linux, and using a variety of VM providers, such as VirtualBox or VMware Fusion,” said Engineering Manager Chris Doherty. “Using a simple configuration file that can be checked into source control, a user can create a clean VM in minutes, choosing from thousands of machine images Vagrant can pull automatically from the free Vagrant Cloud service. Users can also snapshot their VMs locally, or package their own images to share in Vagrant Cloud or privately with collaborators.”
“Packer is the industry standard for automating the creation of cloud or VM machine images, powering tools and products at the biggest cloud providers and countless other companies around the world,” he added. “From a single Packer configuration, easily tracked in source control, users can build machine images for dozens of VM and container systems. For example, the same configuration file can output images for Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure and Docker. Packer has an extensible plugin architecture that allows users to run configuration tools like Chef or Puppet before the images are built, or even implement custom plugins themselves.”
Company background: Sysdig opened for business in 2013 and has raised almost $200 million from the likes of Accel, Bain Capital Ventures and Insight Partners in the years since. The company says its tools are designed to support developers at all stages of their applications’ life cycles.
What they’re building: “Sysdig’s vulnerability management helps developers quickly identify security issues when building their applications, and highlights risks when running code in Kubernetes — including how to remediate the problem — saving a ton of work and expediting the SDLC process,” said VP of Secure Engineering Omer Azaria. “Moreover, Sysdig is the only enterprise-grade monitoring tool that is fully compatible with Prometheus. This means developers can count on the best visibility on their running application while taking advantage of workflows they are familiar with. Sysdig is also the creator of Falco, a CNCF-hosted project that leverages the extended Berkeley Packet Filter (eBPF) to capture system calls so teams can understand who did what.”