Breakout Companies #8- GitLab

The 850-member strong company without an office 😄


It’s Ankit here. Today, we are covering a Remote Company we have been big fans of for quite some time. Without wasting anymore time, let’s dive in.

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In the eighth edition of Breakout Jobs Memos, we are profiling GitLab, the 860 member all-remote team building a complete DevOps platform to help you ship fast.

Breakout Startups #8- GitLab

What is GitLab?

GitLab is a web-based open source Git repository manager with wiki and issue tracking features and built-in CI.

Origin Story

The company started when Dmitriy needed a great tool to collaborate with his team at the Studio he worked at in Ukraine. He wanted something efficient and enjoyable so he could focus on his work, not the tools. Given his company was not willing to pay for the tools available, he created GitLab from his house in Ukraine.

The commit that started it all 👇

init commit (9ba12248) · Commits · / GitLab Community Edition

Sid, the upcoming CEO and Co-founder saw GitLab for the first time and thought it was natural that a collaboration tool for programmers was an open source project so anyone can contribute to it.

Being a Ruby programmer he checked out the source code and was impressed with the code quality of GitLab after more than 300 contributions in the first year.

He put it up on Hacker News asking people if they’d be interested in trying to product out.

Show HN - Github competitor with free private repo | Hacker News

Within 24 hours, hundreds of people signed up to test out the Beta Version of the product. Then in November 2012, Dmitriy made the first version of GitLab CI.

Large organizations running GitLab asked Sid to add features that they needed. At the same time Dmitriy tweeted out to the world in 2014 that he wanted to work on GitLab full time.

Later in 2014, Sid and Dmitriy teamed up and introduced GitLab Enterprise Edition with the features asked for by larger organizations. Then, finally, GitLab was officially incorporated as a limited liability corporation with Sid and Dmitriy as Founders.

The company’s big break happened in 2015 when it was accepted in Y Combinator which helped them further assert their belief that they were onto something and today they have grown into a 700+ Member strong company along with a valuation of $1.1B.

GitLab’s Ambition

Answering a question about GitLab’s ambition on a podcast, Sid Sijbrandij answers,

We think it should be way easier to create and maintain software. Today, if you want to do what’s called DevOps, Develop and Operate your software, you need to stitch together more than ten tools, sometimes even 30 different tools in order to make software. That has to become easier. Not only does it have to become easier, you want to get down your cycle time. The cycle time is the time between deciding to do something and having that out there. At GitLab, because it’s a single application, it helps people to not take so long to hand it over from different DevOps tools to a different DevOps tool. We want to make sure that GitLab becomes best in class in all the different products it replaces. November 18, 2023 we hope to be a 500 million dollars of AR, and we hope that we have all those different parts of GitLab that are already there, that those are loved by customers because they’re the best in the business.


  1. Till date, the company has raised more than $160M in 5 rounds of financing.

  2. The company’s last round, happened 9 months ago, where it raised $100M at a valuation of $1.1B.

  3. The company also was a member of YC Summer batch in 2015.

  4. The company has a marquee list of investors such as Khosla Ventures, August Capital, 500 Startups, FundersClub and several others.


During YC, the whole team used to fit in one car. And the car was called “the Boat”.

  1. Sytse Sijbrandij- CEO of GitLab

  2. Dmitriy Zaporozhets- CTO of GitLab

  3. Mark Pundsack- VP of Product Strategy

  4. Eliran Mesika- Director of Partnerships

  5. Paul Machle- Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

  6. Eric Brinkman- Director of Product, Dev Products

  7. Kenny Johnston-Director of Product


  1. Remote Work

GitLab is a pioneer in Remote Work. The team has been able to scale up to 850+ members from more than 60 countries without renting out a single office space.

Everything from Organization Structure to Communication guideline has been open sourced in the GitLab team handbook.

The GitLab team handbook is the central repository for how we run the company. Printed, it consists of over 3,000 pages…

2. Marquee Clientele

GitLab has been able to amass a large number of corporations such as Alibaba, Goldman Sachs, Siemens, NASA, Nasdaq and several others. You can check the entire list and a bunch of case studies here:

Case studies from GitLab customers
Customers share how they've been able to shorten the software development lifecycle while using

3. Open Source Ethos

GitLab is an Open Core company. By definition,

the open core model is a business strategy where a company offers a “core” version of a product with limited features as free and open source (FOSS) software at the same time an add-on commercial version is released as proprietary software. The resulting open core software is made up of a combination of open source and closed source attributes, sometimes referred to as freemium software.

Examples of open core software companies include Docker, Elastic, MongoDB and Redis.

This is one proposition which helps GitLab a lot. Infact, Microsoft’s decision to buy GitHub turned out to be a blessing for GitLab, which saw thousands of developers coming to its platform due to fears that GitHub may end up favoring Microsoft products over others.

Market Landscape

Given the space GitLab is in and what they want to become i.e single application for the entire DevOps life cycle, GitLab has taken a unique stand against its competitors.

GitLab has put up a page saying,

As a single application for the entire DevOps life cycle, GitLab can remove the pain of having to choose, integrate, learn, and maintain the multitude of tools necessary for a successful DevOps tool chain. However, GitLab does not claim to contain all the functionality of all the tools listed here. Click on a DevOps tool to compare it to GitLab. If a tool is missing or incorrect then create an issue and we’ll get it resolved.

You can check the page below: DevOps Tools Landscape

The major competitors in the space are:-

  1. GitHub- Acquired by Microsoft, Current Market Leader in the space.

  2. BitBucket- Owned by Altassian, Has over 10M Registered Users.

Interesting Points

  1. GitLab’s team is 860 people strong and is fully remote.

  2. The open source project has gotten more than 2,000 contributions from people outside GitLab, the company.

  3. GitLab publishes a new feature the 22nd of every month, whether it’s ready or not.

  4. In 2012, Sijbrandij sent Zaporozhets an email. “Hey, I’m going to start a company around GitLab,” he recalls writing. “Thanks for making it. You’re not going to get anything. Hope that’s OK with you.” A year later, Zaporozhets quit his job and joined Sijbrandij full-time.

  5. While Zaporozhets was open with his code, he was very skeptic about sharing his personal life — refusing even to turn on his webcam for meetings. Sijbrandij asked for a photo, and received one of Zaporozhets wearing gigantic, face-obscuring sunglasses.

Jobs at GitLab

Site Reliability Engineer at GitLab-

Full-Stack Engineer at GitLab-

Front-End Engineer at GitLab-

Back-End Engineer at GitLab-

Director of Engineering (CI/CD) at GitLab-

Test Automation Engineer at GitLab-

Quality Engineering Manager at GitLab-

Sr. Security Engineer (Application Security) at GitLab-

Sr. Security Engineer (Security Operations) at GitLab-

Engineering Manager (Gitaly) at GitLab-

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