A couple of weeks ago, when Pinterest filed its S-1, its AWS bills raised eyebrows and questions about cheaper alternatives for startups. Render is a small startup with a big idea to provide infrastructure services for developers, who might be looking for a cheaper and easier alternative to bigger, more familiar names. The company launched today with broad ambition and $2.25 million in seed funding from General Catalyst and the South Park Common Fund.
As developers work with increasingly complex sets of technologies, it often requires teams of people to launch an application and keep it running.”What we’re doing at Render is making it incredibly easy and quick for application developers to deploy their applications online without knowledge of servers, and without having a DevOps person with them,” Anurag Goel, founder and CEO, told TechCrunch.
Steve Herrod, managing director at General Catalyst and former CTO at VMware, knows a thing or two about infrastructure, and he sees a company that could provide a viable alternative to the established players in this space. “Render is building the logical next step to cloud infrastructure — making it disappear. Application developers clearly want to focus on the functionality and usability of their work, and not on server setup, deployment and scaling. Render is enabling exactly this focus and that’s why early developer users love it so much,” he said in a statement.
The company is going after companies like Salesforce and Heroku on the platform side and AWS, Azure, GCP and even DigitalOcean on the infrastructure side. It is not an easy market to ease your way into, but Goel believes he has come up with a solution that is cost-effective and easy to use, and that could help separate him from these established brands.
The complexity of today’s application environment requires teams of highly trained engineers to implement. While a company like Harness is trying to reduce that complexity by providing Continuous Delivery as a Service, Render is going at it from a different angle by providing a platform and infrastructure to launch and manage applications more easily.
“We’re focused, first and foremost, on developer experience and ease of use. And we’ve seen over and over again, that when you look at AWS and Azure and GCP, they force you to build out these large DevOps teams that take care of all the infrastructure needs,” he said. He believes part of the problem with the larger company approaches is that they put this expensive engineering layer between the developer and the application they created, and Render brings the developer closer to the process.
The company got the funding last year, but is announcing now because it wasn’t really ready to launch at that point, and didn’t want to announce the funding before it had a viable product.
Goel got his start as an early employee at Stripe, a company that made it simple for developers to add payment infrastructure to an application. He is hoping to bring that same level of simplicity to application hosting.