Docker Acquires Koality In Engineering Talent Grab

Docker decided to use some of the $40M from its most recent funding round at the end of last month to purchase Koality today for an undisclosed price.

Koality launched in 2012 to help developers test software in a more efficient way by letting them set up multiple instances of a build very quickly, so they wouldn’t be working in the production environment. In fact, they announced $1.8M in seed funding with help from such luminaries as Peter Thiel, last year at TechCrunch Disrupt, San Francisco. The company looked rather promising, but their quest as a solo company ended this week as they are absorbed by Docker.

CEO Ben Golub made it crystal clear this was more about getting the company’s four employees and their understanding of developers, than it was to grab the Koality technology. “This is primarily a talent acquisition. These guys have good instincts for developers and the developer lifecycle. They have good [approaches] for both hosted and on premise, but we are not integrating the product. We are integrating the team,” Golub explained.

And that team brought a particular set of skills that Docker finds valuable. “I think that understanding the issues and interfaces people want as they move code through testing, staging and production, and also delivering in a hybrid way with a portion hosted and portion on premises, were two skill sets we really needed.” He added that the Koality team was also very familiar with Docker, which was a big help.

While he wouldn’t say how much the company cost, he did say it was enough that it should satisfy initial investors and all of the parties involved. “The Koality team is happy, the investors are happy and we are happy,” Golub told me.

The team is already on board and working on the Docker Hub hosted service. He says the team will be working on helping companies who use the Hub to access publicly available resources, but also want to combine it with other proprietary parts behind the firewall. This is especially true of regulated industries like finance and healthcare and up until now, Docker hasn’t been able to fully accommodate these types of customers.

That’s a big reason they brought in the Koality team. Golub stressed his team had the talent in-house already to do this, but they lacked the time. Bringing in the Koality team gives them an experienced group of engineers who can hit the ground running on this type of approach.

Golub joked that getting together with Koality was like dating. “People say you should get together. We were fans of what they were doing. After a few early meetings, it became clear that we would be better together,” he said.

Koality CEO Jonathan Chu agreed. “The acquisition by Docker is a great fit; as time progressed, we saw more and more of our customers using Docker on top of Koality for their continuous integration (CI) needs and now we are part of the company which is the driving force behind innovation for the enterprise developers we were targeting,” he wrote to me in an email.

Chu added that even though it meant folding the company, he believes that much of the work they have done these last couple of years will live on inside of Docker. “Much of the technology we created at Koality will be leveraged within projects at Docker and significant portions of our tech will become part of Docker Hub Enterprise. Being acquired by Docker does shift our focus from continuous integration (CI), but also allows us expand on our original vision. Koality was founded with the goal of enabling a frictionless development cycle as code progressed from development to production. This objective has not changed.”

It just means they are now incorporated inside of Docker, a company that has resources and funding at its disposal and the support of an active and engaged developer community, and that had to be attractive to an early startup like Koality.

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