Action.IO, a startup promising to make it easier to create, configure and share development environments, just announced a new name — Nitrous.IO — and $1 million in seed funding.
The round was led by Bessemer Venture Partners with participation from Draper Associates, CrunchFund, 500 Startups, TIBCO Software, Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, Golden Gate Ventures, and Peanut Labs co-founder/CTO Prosper Nwankpa. (TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington is a partner at CrunchFund.)
“Having analyzed their tweets, I’ve discovered the four things developers hate the most: wasted time, configuration bugs, hard drive crashes, and airport security,” said Bessemer partner David Cowan in the funding press release. “Nitrous.IO just fixed three of them.”
Co-founder and CEO AJ Solimine told me he and his co-founders (VP of Engineering Arun Thampi and CTO Peter Jihoon Kim) first developed the product to address the challenges that they themselves faced trying to synchronize development across a team and between home and work. When a new developer joins a company, Solimine said it’s usually “a very time-consuming process” to make sure all of their software is updated and that they’ve installed all the correct libraries. Similarly, in a programming class, your “first week’s homework is getting your machine configured.”
With Nitrous.IO, on the other hand, people can “skip all of that,” he said. There’s a cloud package where companies get “a nice, lightweight, centralized way” to manage employees’ development environments, and where developers can jump in immediately and start coding. It also allows them to code from anywhere on multiple devices.
Thampi said most of the usage so far is in programming classes and workshops, as well as among hobbyists, because Nitrous.IO is “not properly mature enough” for most companies to rely on it. Business use is definitely one of the goals, he said. Thampi also argued that Nitrous.IO is a perfect complement to Chromebooks, since “Chrome OS doesn’t include a full file system to set everything up.”
Over time, Solimine added that he wants to build more features that distinguish Nitrous.IO from other web development tools.
“We don’t think of ourselves as a web IDE,” he said. “We’re actually building a full-fledged web development platform. That will become more clear with future releases.”
As for the new name, the team said it was an attempt to avoid any litigation with another company that has the “Action” trademark. There haven’t been any threats, but it seemed best to avoid the possibility. And the team liked the idea of a company name that recalled racing video games, where the “nitro” button gives you a quick burst of speed.
The company is also announcing that Tobias Lütke of Shopify and Joe Stump Sprint.ly have joined its advisory board.