Dark emerges from stealth with unique ‘deployless’ software model

Dark has been keeping its startup in the dark for the last couple of years while it has built a unique kind of platform it calls “deployless” software development. If you build your application in Dark’s language inside of Dark’s editor, the reward is you can deploy it automatically on Dark’s infrastructure on Google Cloud Platform without worrying about all of the typical underlying deployment tasks.

The company emerged from stealth today and announced $3.5 million in seed funding, which it actually received back in 2017. The founders have spent the last couple of years building this rather complex platform.

Ellen Chisa, CEO and co-founder at the company, admits that the Dark approach requires learning to use her company’s toolset, but she says the trade-off is worth it because everything has been carefully designed to work in tandem.

“I think the biggest downside of Dark is definitely that you’re learning a new language, and using a different editor when you might be used to something else, but we think you get a lot more benefit out of having the three parts working together,” she told TechCrunch.

She added, “In Dark, you’re getting the benefit of your editor knowing how the language works. So you get really great autocomplete, and your infrastructure is set up for you as soon as you’ve written any code because we know exactly what is required.”

It’s certainly an intriguing proposition, but Chisa acknowledges that it will require evangelizing the methodology to programmers, who may be used to employing a particular set of tools to write their programs. She said the biggest selling point is that it removes so much of the complexity around deployment by bringing an integrated level of automation to the process.

She says there are three main benefits to Dark’s approach. In addition to providing automated infrastructure, which is itself a major plus, developers using Dark don’t have to worry about a deployment pipeline. “As soon as you write any piece of backend code in Dark, it is already hosted for you,” she explained. The last piece is that tracing is built right in as you code. “Because you’re using our infrastructure, you have traces available in your editor as soon as you’ve written any code,” she said.

Chisa’s co-founder and company CTO is Paul Biggar, who knows a thing or two about deployment, having helped found CircleCI, the CI/CD pioneering company.

As for that $3.5 million seed round, it was led by Cervin Ventures, with participation from Boldstart, Data Collective, Harrison Metal, Xfactor (Erica Brescia), Backstage, Nextview, Promus, Correlation, 122 West and Yubari.