A strangely uncommon approach to building a software company
The CI/CD landscape is dominated by
open source with a high burden of total cost of ownership;
tech giants offering basic CD as a loss-leader and onramp to their cloud;
and VC-backed, high cash-burning startups that look impressive but are burning cash with an uncertain future
Octopus is playing a different game to all of the companies in this space.
We bootstrapped Octopus to $20M in ARR, and only then brought on our first institutional investor, Insight Partners, with a minority stake. We are now north of $50M in ARR.
We are proud to say that we have been cash-flow positive ("profitable") in 10 out of the past 11 years. This is, sadly, very uncommon in the software world. Being cash-flow positive - spending less than we earn each year - is core to our DNA. Any investors in Octopus are also committed to keeping Octopus that way.
The power of profitability is that we don't exist at the mercy of investors. We aren't on the Series A, B, C, D, E, alphabet spaghetti wagon. We're not trying to pretend we do AI this month or Blockchain last month because that's where investor money is going. We're not over-hiring because the markets are hot, and we're not cutting corners trying to be acquired because we've run out of cash and investor sentiment has waned.
Being profitable means we will be here forever. We'll be in business for as long as our customers believe we should be, which is the way it should be. You won't see us in Crunchbase every 18 months announcing our latest fundraise, but if you're a customer, we hope you'll see that as a positive thing.
Our choice to stay profitable and not deviate from that gives us full control over our future, but comes with some downsides - principally that we have to be more focussed and a bit more thoughtful in what we spend on, and more disciplined with our planning.